August 25, 2010

Library maps

I've been dabbling in cartography for our library, drawing out (virtually) and labeling our downstairs and upstairs to help students navigate the stacks better (only showing first floor map here). We do have labels on the shelving, as well as LCSH guides, but this can help make it more visual and holistic.

I mentioned this task very briefly in a former post but now I have the finished products. We plan to post these maps on the bookcases, create smaller handouts students can take, and also post it on our website. Instead of just having a static map as a tab on our LibGuides, I made the suggestion we use photo editing software to create circles or highlights over each subject area's related locations to customize the maps for various departments.

As a review of Gliffy, I really liked it, and it's free. If you select to have objects snap to grid and align, it makes having repeating objects much easier to deal with. As you can see, there are also options for color and text styles/fonts. I also liked the variety of floorplan objects you can select to make furniture look close to what your library might have. Did I mention it's free? That's a huge plus.

The subjects chosen to be shown on the bookcase images (if you can even read them -- text is harder to read on the maps when posted here via Blogger) are ones that directly relate to classes offered and highlighted programs. For example, students are less likely to look up photography books here, and more likely to look up architecture and interior lighting for buildings because of our interior design program, and lack of a photography program.

It will hopefully be less intimidating for students to navigate the library having a map ahead of time; this should also really encourage browsing. I'm excited for when we get them posted to see what the reaction will be.

A slicker example I saw recently of a library map is the University of Arizona's virtual tour but I believe from what a colleague mentioned that it was not free. The pop-ups with photos do look really nice.