PLANNING THE NEW MAP LIBRARY
Report on the 10th conference of the Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER
23-27 September 1996, Berlin, Germany
Jan Smits, Royal Library, The Netherlands; Secretary Groupe des Cartothécaires de LIBER
The conference concerned itself with the future of map libraries, that is the possibilities to prepare the collections but also our everyday practises for the next century. The invasion of the electronic media requires a complete new infrastructure, concerning the physical environment as well as the knowledge level. This theme was well taken up by the participants in lectures, poster-sessions, discussions and informal meetings. We thank the organizers -under the directorship of Lothar Zögner- for the professional way in which the conference was organized and surrounded by many visits and exhibitions. Especially the organization of the official diner in the 'Infobox' at the Potsdamer Platz, 30 metres high in the middle of one of Europe's largest building sites was very appropriate to the theme of the conference.
The conference was attended by 84 people from 15 countries. The German Organizing Committee (SOC) found ways to finance travel and accommodation for 7 people from Eastern Europe which showed again our wish to incorporate this part of Europe into our organization. The participants gave 14 lectures and there were 18 posters, divided over 4 days. There was also the possibility to visit 5 exhibitions. After the conference there was the possibility to travel to Dresden to visit the Mathematisch-Physikaler Salon Zwinger and the Sächsische Landesbibliothek, finishing with a boat trip over the river Elbe.
On Sunday-evening there was an informal meeting in the beautiful ambience of the Antiquariat Struck, where participants found no trouble to renew acquaintances and get started on business. The latter was especially true for the Board as they could put the finishing touch on the conference.
After the welcoming speeches on Monday prof Hartmut Asche (University of Potsdam, Germany) started with a keynote speech under the title Mapping and map use in the age of information technologies.
From a cartographic perspective, this paper addressed recent developments in mapping technology and map use and potential impacts on the map library in the age of information technology. Fundamental changes in map creation and production have deeply affected the status of present-day mapping and map use. One digital approach to spatial data use is the concept of "interactive" mapping. Selected issues concerning prerequisites, benefits, and spread of this recent concept were dealt with. It will emerge that map use is no longer limited to static paper maps collected in the traditional map library. These developments are challenging not only cartographer and map user, but are also affecting the traditional role of the map library. Present-day map libraries are already extending their scope of map collection and storage to electronic map products. Digital mapping environments will supplement and eventually substitute conventional skills and expertise in map collection, map storage and map preservation. To retain its fundamental role in a fully digital cartographic world -i.e. to provide the two principal cartographic products, database and visualization- to the public user, aims and functions of the "new" map library will inevitably have to be redefined.
Afterwards there was the possibility to visit the posters and stands, of which most were available during the rest of the conference.
In the afternoon some 12 National Progress Reports were read of which the extended versions are published in this volume.
In the following LIBER-meeting it was decided that the Working Group for the Education in Mapcuratorship would hold an inquiry as to the state of and wishes concerning education. The Working Party for Central and Eastern Europe set out a programme for the next two years. Cracow (Kraków, Poland) was voted the venue of the 11th conference in 1998. The theme will be Technology in map collections: a means or an end? Copenhagen (Denmark) would be the venue of the 12th conference in 2000. Margareta Lindgren (University Library Uppsala, Sweden, President), Jadwiga Bzinkowska (Jagiellonian Library, Cracow, Poland, Vice-President), Jan Smits (Royal Library, The Netherlands, Secretary), Tony Campbell (The British Library, United Kingdom, Member) and Susan Vejlsgaard (Royal Library, Denmark, Member) were chosen on the Board for the next two years.
In the evening the exhibition Imago Germaniae was opened with a reception. Many participants enjoyed the beautiful maps of this private collection of which up till now two facsimiles are published under the title Cartographica rarissima.
Mechthild Schüler (State and University Library, Göttingen, Germany) on Tuesday gave a paper titled Sondersammelgebiets-Informationssystem im Internet: dargestellt am Beispiel des SSG Angewandte Karten. Covering the special collection areas 13 (geology, mineralogy, petrology and soil science), 14 (geography), 16.13 (geophysics) and 28.2 (thematic maps), the Göttingen library (SUB) is integrated into the national literature supply system supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG). An exemplary WWW-based information system usable by other libraries with special collection tasks is established in earth sciences and mathematics.
It is the aim of the project to produce an electronic guide that extends across the subjects. By providing users with a formal and subject structure as well as a qualitative evaluation of the available online, offline and printed information sources searches within the WWW hopefully become more efficient.
Next Christopher Fleet (National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh) put technology to the stand in his paper The role of computer technology in the future map library. The advantages and disadvantages of new technology within the context of the map library were examined and the institutional framework that often influences and controls these decisions was explored. Finally the broader trends in society that often conflict with both the institution and the map library were discussed, in order to appraise what the role of computer technology should be in the future map library.
Pierre van Nypelseer (Brussels, Belgium) gave an insight in the European Commission supported RAINBOW project: end user production of thematic maps on the WWW from distributed statistical databases. The traditional information diffusion channels strongly separate production, diffusion and exploitation by the final users. New technologies bring those tasks together in a single shared distributed environment. RAINBOW is completing a prototype giving access on the WWW to statistical and administrative files with the ability to perform data extractions and combinations, to create thematic maps and to display these immediately. The prototype can be extended to support data production.
Before lunchbreak there was a round table Planning the digital map library – requirements and methods for solution, with moderator prof Hartmut Asche, prof Hermann (University of Karlsruhe) as expert in digital cartography, Klaus Reif and Uwe Lindler of Maptech GmbH and Jürgen Hinsman of Nixdorf computer company. Subjects of discussion were ways and methods of converting analogue material to digital maps through scanning and digital camera's, the resolution of scanning, compression of files, and output. Scanning can be done in the range 1,200 to 5,000 dpi using ICC-standards. For large formats one can either use CCD-flatbed scanners or drum-scanners, the latter being able to scan images of 110 x 220 cm, while scanning does have no negative mechanical effects on the materials. Purpose of digitizing is all important when choosing a certain technology. When a digitized file is created almost any kind of output can be created: screen, CD-ROM, laserjet-, photo- or printcopy, etc. When these technologies become common the map curator will be promoted to adviser of clients.
What most map curators missed in the discussions with the panel was the problem of archiving and migrating digitized maps. Though one may scan material on request of clients no general digitizing programme would be started unless there are solutions for these problems in the near future as the outlays for equipment and knowledge are rather large.
In the afternoon visits were planned to the exhibitions Maps of Berlin in the Landesarchiv Berlin and Post history and maps in the Museum für Post und Kommunikation. Following was a buffet-dinner in the Info Box in the centre of Potsdamer Platz. The view over the enormous buildingsite is overwhelming as is the technical exhibitions which shows developments up to the year 2000.
Wednesday started with a paper by Hans-Peter Höhener (Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Switzerland) on The problem of the map department within the construction of a new library: the case of the Zentralbibliothek Zürich. Before the building was officially opened the map collection had to move twice, as the department was physically renovated. The problems they encountered were well voices in his closing remarks: "Never think that the others think for you, because they just don't know what you need. If you don't tell them your needs or don't have the opportunity to do so, then you won't be satisfied." The library was reopened on June 16th, 1995.
Next Jan Werner (University Library of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) could tell his troubles and tribulation with Planning the new map library: the Amsterdam University Library case. The years 1994 and 1995 were severely influenced by the planning and building of a new map department, followed by a complicated removal of the map collection. Better conservation of the maps, atlases and globes were the main objective, but also further spatial and functional integration of the research collections was an important goal. The opportunity was taken to create a better environment for collection, staff and visitors. The department was reopened on February 29th, 1996.
The next project was still in the phase of planning and execution as Göran Bäärnhielm (Royal Library, Stockholm, Sweden) talked about The newbuilt Maps and Prints Department, Royal Library, Stockholm. The extraordinary aspect of this renovation are the new library stacks which consist of two parallel tunnels in the rock underneath, each containing a 150 m long five-floor building. They have been told that they must adapt their procedures -and also the categories of material they collect- to what the building allows. This refers among other things to the existence of some very large wall maps which are too large to display anywhere in the building. This might seem a rather high price to be paid for the pleasure of remaining in a 100 year old building in a park in the heart of Stockholm.
Monique Pelletier (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris) who talked about New equipment for old collections: the "Cartes et Plans" of the Bibliothèque nationale, will be confronted in 1998 with a separation of collections. The Tolbiac site will contain all books and periodicals, while the Richelieu site will contain all special collections, except the Phonothèque, and collections of other libraries. CD-ROM's for the Legal Deposit are acquired at Tolbiac, while non-Legal Deposit CD-ROM's are acquired at Richelieu. It is hoped that modern communication technology prevent customers to enter a rat-race. At the Richelieu site stacks also will go underground and they hope to incorporate the restoration department.
Henrik Dupont (Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark) talked about the planning of The new Royal Library Copenhagen, of which a preliminary video was already shown during the last conference in Switzerland. The planning has delayed the building process. The result, however, will be a transparent new building, which is attached to the old library, with much better accommodation for the Maps and Prints Department. The opening is planned in 1998.
The rest of the day was spent visiting the Sanssouci castle with the library of Frederic the Great in Potsdam and visit to a special map collection.
Andrew Tatham (Royal Geographical Society, London, United Kingdom) started Wednesday off with GEOCAP: the geographical Collections Access project at the Royal Geographical Society 1996-2000. GEOCAP aims to improve significantly both the intellectual access to and the physical storage conditions of the great collections of the RGS, thus enabling them to reach their full potential as an important element in the nation's heritage of information resources. It will provide online access to the catalogues of a million maps, half-a-million images and a quarter million plus volumes of monographs and serials in the Library. It will also provide improved and extended storage for this material which is worldwide in its coverage and dates from the late 15th century to the present.
Michael Ashworth and Andrew Fagg (Ministry of Defense, United Kingdom) followed up with MODMAP – a solution for the automation of map library records or just the first step. The geographic branch, of which the maplibrary is an integrated department, has mounted more than 1,000,000 maps on its file. The database is believed to be unique in that it records the corner co-ordinates of each sheet, enabling the retrieval by geographical searches. The data can also be output quickly as graphic indexes or listings. The search facilities are very sophisticated and complex in such a way that most map librarians can only dream of having such tools at his/her disposal.
Before the break Natalya Kotelnikova and Ludmilla Kildushevskaja (National Library, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russian Federation) told something about putting previously inaccessible Russian maps of the 18th and 19th century into scientific circulation. Formerly these maps were only accessible to a narrow circle of specialists, neither could they be published in facsimile. By publishing studies and facsimiles of old manuscript and printed holdings it is hoped that these bring the documents within the reach of general science.
Jan Smits (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag, The Netherlands) showed with his paper A third level access approach: collection profiles that there are several categories of access. From specific to general there are the descriptions (1), bibliographies/inventories/catalogues (2), profiles (3), national directories (4), and international directories (5). A university trainee prepared a multi-map collection profile by which general questions can be more truthfully answered. As we will have users which seek more or less specific information we should give them as much as possible different levels of access.
Thomas Klöti (Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek, Bern, Switzerland) ended this session by giving a demonstration about Map librarianship and WWW. Through the homepage of the Swiss Map Libraries Group an attractive research aid could be made available to users. In future it may be extended with access to digital maps as well as geographic information systems.
After the second LIBER-meeting, in which general themes were discussed, there was a possibility to visit the private company ART+COM, which demonstrated the project 'Terravision'. This project creates interactive real-time visualization on the basis of ATM-technology, with which multimedia databases which are distributed worldwide can be accessed and manipulated. It shows a virtual globe on which every kind of spatial data which can be meaningfully ordered can be projected, from several layers of two- or three-dimensional remote sensing and other data down to digital 1:1 sites. A trip through virtually reality which shows unknown vistas to future use of spatial and related data.
Digital images of maps (Christopher Fleet, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh)
Viamondo – interactive access to the topographic map series (Iris-Daniela Schmidt and Olaf Nino Stramiello, Staatsbibliothek, Berlin, Germany)
Verfügbarkeit von Geodaten auf dem Datenhighway (Prof.Dr. Peyke, Geographisches Institut der Humboldt Universität, Berlin, Germany)
Digitaler Umweltatlas Berlin (J.F. Lehmanns Fachbuchhandlung, Berlin, Germany)
Planet Erde and Grosser Atlas der Welt -world cartography on CD-ROM (Bertelsmann RV Verlag/GEODATA, Germany)
Edutainment software Mit Alex um die Welt (Jutta Siemer, Fachhochschule Karlsruhe/Klett Verlag, Karlsruhe, Germany)
Digitale kartographische Daten von Brandenburg (Das Landesvermessungsamt Brandenburg, Potsdam, Germany)
Topographische Karten von Brandenburg (Das Landesvermessungsamt Brandenburg, Potsdam, Germany)
Plan of Canadian map rooms (Jan Smits, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Netherlands)
New full scala reproduction of the Carta marina, the Uppsala copy (Margareta Lindgren, Uppsala, Sweden)
Monumenta Cartographica – Faksimile-Editionen (Prof.Dr. Werner Kreuer, Essen, Germany)
Der St. Gotthard von Exchaquet/Dunker, um 1790 (Viola Imhof, Zürich, Switserland)
UK Military Survey posters (Michael Ashworth and Andrew Fagg, United Kingdom)
Plans of the new Department for Cartographical Documentation (Jan Smits, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Netherlands)
Generalisirung digitaler Bodenübersichtskarten von Deutschland in der Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) (Jürgen Behrens, Berlin, Germany)
Visualisierung digitaler Bodeninformationen für die Umweltplanung (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, Hannover, and Institut für Geoinformatik der Universität Münster, Germany)
Ecological problems in remote sensing – research projects in Africa (Prof.Dr. Frithjof Voss, Institut für Geographie, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany)
Die neuen Kulturkarten Berlin und Potsdam in Raum und Zeit (Henning von Bernewitz, Berlin, Germany)
The companies Firma Mauser Waldeck AG and Firma Schulz Bibliothekstechnik GmbH, Speyer had information stand for library equipment.
Map Curator Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of The Netherlands
Department for Cartographic Documentation
P.O. Box 90.407
2509 LK Den Haag