With the ubiquitous uptake of programs like Excel, MapQuest, Google Maps and Google Earth, the ability to represent information spatially--on a graph or map--has become a commonplace means of expressing ideas. Spatial thinking and spatial expression are being applied to all manner of everyday tasks and have likewise become an important tool in the academy for enriching scholarly discourse. While selected disciplines such as geology, geography, demography, biostatistics, urban studies, marketing, etc. have long interacted with print and digital spatial representations of data, we are now seeing the application of these strategies across most disciplines, including many in the humanities. Across the curriculum, students and scholars are expecting to represent their ideas spatially, and are increasingly seeking out content and tools that support spatial display and analysis.
The Library Directors have endorsed a proposal that the 2012 CIC Library Conference focus on the challenges and opportunities of building robust infrastructure to support the wide variety of campus needs for spatial representation of information. The Conference will explore the current state-of-play within the CIC, as well as looking at state-of-the-art systems being developed nationally in corporate and educational settings. Our program goal is to bring into sharper focus an ideal vision of infrastructure and service in this area, and then strategize about the best ways forward to implement the primary elements of such a vision.
This year’s CIC Conference will be hosted by the University of Minnesota on a soon to be announced set of dates in May. A small working group led by Nicki Saylor (Iowa), Kathleen Weessies (MSU) and Kristi Jensen (Minnesota) is helping to shape the conference agenda and identify speakers. As the conference planning proceeds, it is expected that the scope of the program will be of interest to librarians specializing in maps, spatial and numeric data, documents, collection development, electronic resources, information technology, preservation, public services, digitization, and a wide array of subject specialists. More information about this year’s CIC Conference will be forthcoming in February.
This article's image is part of a set created by Justin Joque, Spatial and Numeric Data Librarian in University of Michigan's Stephen S. Clark Library. Each "burst" depicts a Network diagram of the U.S. Legal code. This image is of U.S. Code -Title 2-The Congress.