Globalization of the US: From Digital Research Project to Digital Library Services

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Date

2014-12-10

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Indiana University Digital Collections Services

Abstract

As part of an exhibition at the Lilly Library entitled The Globalization of the United States, 1789-1861 scheduled to open September 15, historian Konstantin Dierks and librarians Erika Dowell and Michelle Dalmau have partnered to create a digital counterpart to the physical exhibit that includes an interactive, map-based visualization. The visualization tracks several data points or “facets” about U.S. interventions in the rest of the globe, from diplomatic missions to stationed military squadrons. As Dierks describes, it provides a tool for scholars and students to investigate how “the United States, no longer swaddled within the British empire, sought to recalibrate its interaction with the wider world as an independent nation.” This presentation will focus primarily on one component of the digital exhibit, the map-based visualizations, and how we in the libraries have been able to use this project as a use case for generalizing research-oriented treatment of geospatial and temporal data. By abstracting the data gathering and mapping processes and building workflows to support these activities, we have the beginnings of a services-oriented approach to map-based discovery and inquiry that could be leveraged by other digital research projects at Indiana University. As part of this presentation we will: a) evaluate the various map-based tools with which we experimented including SIMILE Exhibit, Google Fusion, Neatline, and Leaflet, b) review the metadata challenges particular to this project and how they can be abstracted for future projects, and c) relay lessons learned when working with historical maps. We will conclude by proposing a model established by Professor Dierk’s project team, using a combination of tools and techniques referenced above, as a way forward in supporting map-based digital research projects more generally.

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Omeka, Leaflet, History

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Presentation