Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Position: Research Librarians (GIS) - University of California, Irvine

Position: Research Librarians - University of California, Irvine
"The University of California Libraries seek a minimum of five Research Librarians to join an enthusiastic staff in building a research library of excellence for a young and rapidly growing university ranked nationally in the top universities."

Subject areas of interest "include African-American Studies, Classics, Education, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), Psychology, and Women's Studies."
This is the only place where GIS is mentioned in the job description, so take it as you will.

Salary range is $39,000 - $65,448.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Finding GIS/Mapping Positions in Libraries

Just want to point out that I have been fairly consistent with prefacing new GIS or mapping positions within libraries with the word 'Position:'.

This means that anyone seeking employment in this sector can easily keep up with current and older employment opportunities with this link, which uses a Google search of this site.

Even though I am not seeking new employment for myself, I diligently monitor new position descriptions and duties to ensure that my skills stay current and I do not sit on my laurels. If a position requires or prefers particular skills or experiences that I do not currently feel confident in, I will investigate whether or not this can help what I do here. This has been very valuable to me.

Here are the employment listing resurces that I monitor using Bloglines, which aggregates both RSS and email:

Friday, May 19, 2006

Position: Head, John R. Borchert Map Library - University of Minnesota

Head, John R. Borchert Map Library - University of Minnesota

via: MAPS-L

"The University of Minnesota Libraries seeks innovative and energetic applicants for the position of Head, John R. Borchert Map Library, one of the largest and most heavily used academic map libraries in the nation."

Wow! Now, this is one of the most exciting new positions I have seen...And there have been quite a lot of late. What else is there to say about this position? Fantastic map library. Fantastic GIS resources. Fantastic geography department. GPO map depository. It is virtually impossible not to explore this position with some longing.

Here are some snippets about the John R. Borchert Map Library:
  • "...award-winning Automated Cartographic Information Center (ACIC), a state-of-the-art GIS facility with 10 workstations providing access to a wealth of geospatial data and a comprehensive set of software programs."
  • "...houses a collection of 350,000 maps representing five centuries of cartography, 400,000 aerial photographs, and a substantial atlas and reference collection."
  • "...supports the University of Minnesota's top-ranked Geography Department, in addition to drawing researchers from across the campus and the general public."
Here are some snippets about the position duties:
  • "Develop, maintain, and preserve collections in the field of Geography; serve as liaison to the Geography Department; participate in Geography Department programs and functions; manage and expend Borchert Map Library Endowment Fund in consultation with Geography Department chair."
  • "The successful candidate will also collaborate with other Academic Programs departments to extend and enhance the Libraries' role in campus-wide GIS activities."
Unfortunately, no mention of a salary. Anyone needing a position in GIS/Maps librarianship should not pass this opportunity up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

1990 Census Block Population Counts

Received an email from someone needing block-level population counts from the 1990 Census. The data was more difficult to obtain that I anticipated.

Discovered that Factfinder only provides access to SFT1A and not SFT1B. I was not previously aware of this. STF1A provides population counts to the blockgroup, while STF1B provides down to the block level. Dropped by to see our Gov Docs Librarian, who told me that we only maintain the STF1B disk for Texas. Good grief.

Then I discovered that the UC Berkeley Social Science and Government Data Library provides an easy download of all 11 CDs (new URL, edited 03/04/07) that comprise Census 1990 STF1B. I was able to download the DBF files that I needed. Sure enough, the field 'Pop100' was provided for each block. :)

So, there I am feeling happy for a moment. Just a moment, however, because then I remembered that those old ArcView 3.3 Data & Map Disks contained this data. Sure enough, disks 4 & 5 contained 1990 block centroids with the attribute 'Pop100'. I haven't thought about these disks in quite a while.

Well, let me tell you I am right now in the process of creating metadata and these files will be uploaded to our servers ASAP.

Call For Papers: GIQ Special Issue on Libraries

Government Information Quarterly, a premier peer-reviewed journal, is calling for papers for a special issue entitled, "Digital Government Information and Libraries: Shifting Paradigms Or Predictable Partnerships"

Click here to view a description of the planned special issue and the call for papers from GovDoc-L.

This is really exciting as I think about the extent to which library-sponsored GIS programs rely upon and use government information. I was a government documents librarian who dabbled in GIS before my current position. I would wager that a fair number of GIS librarians worked closely with gov docs/information before discovering (happily falling into?) this marvelous world of GIS.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Library as Central Hub for GIS Activity

GIS4LIB is not the most active list, but the when a message is sent is is usually a good one. Here is a snippet from the latest message:
I am about to begin planning and writing a pitch for a new GIS lab (housed in a library with a mission to act as a central hub for interdisciplinary GIS activity on a large campus) and I would like to hear from any librarians who are storing and managing their GIS data in a geodatabase (dedicated to the library or not).

More specifically: is anybody using ArcSDE (if so, what DBMS sits behind it)? If not, how are you managing and storing the GIS data (purchased, produced locally, or freely available) your library collects and serves (some other GIS server; flat file storage on shared file servers, etc.)? Has anybody successfully deployed open source solutions like Mapserver to publish their data to the web (and if so how well did it integrate into your other GIS applications)? Are there any desktop/server/printer hardware configurations you would warn against? Is there anything you would have done differently in your own situation?
The author states that they will summarize for the list and I eagerly anticipate seeing how others respond. Here is a snippet from my response, that I sent directly to the author:
We serve GIS data across campus (not limited to any particular computer or lab) via four methods. We have a dedicated server for GIS and these methods are all run from this server.

First, we allow direct download (campus or vpn-only) of the public datasets that we store locally. Of course, licensing restrictions prohibit us from freely distributing all of our datasets this way.

Second, we use ArcSDE with Oracle database to serve large datasets, especially large raster datasets. We use this method primarily for individual courses that need group read and write privileges to groups of datasets. ArcSDE is particularly effective for granting writing privileges and allowing students to create different versions of their work. For campus or lab use, ArcSDE is not our method of choice as there is no way to control the number of simultaneous users. This is vital as many of the datasets that we purchase are single-use CD-ROMs and we negotiate with each vendor and almost all vendors are allowing us to serve the data as long as we can limit the number of simultaneous users to 1 (or any other agreed upon amount).

Third, our ace-in-the-hole...Citrix Access (http://www.citrix.com/lang/English/ps2/technology/index.asp). This is currently our primary method for serving licensed datasets. This allows us to limit the number of simultaneous users, limit to on-campus users (or vpn), and it allows us to serve applications, such as Geolytics Census products. If you have never used this technology before, think of it as a managed remote desktop connection to specific applications (or downloads). The freely available client is small (app. 3mb). The library was using Citrix before taking an interest in GIS, but since I became aware of its capabilities you can imagine we are now making extensive use. I am uncertain what we paid for the software, but I can easily find out if it will help.

Fourth, we use ArcIMS to serve vector and raster datasets, which are pulled from the ArcSDE GDB. This allows any able client on campus (ArcMap, ArcExplorer, etc..) to pull in the services. Vector data can be extracted and downloaded from ArcIMS using ArcMap, but raster datasets are view-only.
Now, how to manage the FGDC metadata for these all these dissemination methods? Well, that will be in a post coming soon...

It's Not a Habit...It's Cool, I Feel Alive.

It's not a habit, it's cool, I feel alive
If you don't have it you're on the other side
I'm not an addict (maybe that's a lie)

(lyrics by K's Choice).

OK, well maybe I am. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am quite obsessed with having and providing access to the latest and the greatest datasets.

But is this really so bad a quality for a librarian?

I obsess with always providing our students with the absolute best data resources out there. Now this might sound wonderful and great, but my university has 25,000 students with large numbers of GIS users in numerous departments, such as science, administration, social science, and business. There is indeed a wide range of interests here and I can drive myself crazy trying to satisfy all their data needs. Now, don't get me wrong. I love driving myself crazy in this pursuit.

Now, who has the most expensive tastes? In other words, who do I spend the most of my meager dataset budget on? Business. No doubt about it. It's just that the business faculty request all the coolest stuff, and the data they need always has a broad enough appeal to be of value to other GIS users as well, especially the public administration folks. Resources such as psychographic lifestyle segmentations, business intelligence, consumer expenditure estimates, logistics, etc.

So, here I am with the spring semester behind me. I look forward and what do I see? I see that I have a few dollars left in the dataset budget with not much time left to spend it before the acquisitions folks start grumbling to me about them needing to close the books and settle accounts for the 05-06 year. In other words, I have to spend some bucks now or I might lose it.

Have I the greatest job or what??

It's not a habit, it's cool, I feel alive
If you don't have it you're on the other side
I'm not an addict (maybe that's a lie)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Grades In! Semester Over!

NOW the semester is over. In addition to all of the recent successes the UTA Library: GIS Program had, I just submitted final grades for the semester. Spent much of the previous week grading papers, and it feels just as good for me to be done as it is for the students. I taught 6 credits this semester, ‘Introduction to GIS’ for the Earth and Environmental Sciences department and ‘Advanced Real Estate Market Analysis’ for the Finance and Real Estate department.

This semester, most particularly the real estate course, was a big success. This was the fourth time I taught a market analysis course, but this semester I changed things up after taking the Kolb Learning Style Inventory (see earlier post) earlier in the semester. Found out I have a strong inclination to learn and teach as a convergent learner. So, I decided to use the real estate course this semester to test out the hypothesis that making a conscious attempt to incorporate various learning styles and strategies would improve overall learning. Well, I was very pleased and will be building on this success for my future courses.

Here is what I did. As I discussed here, I explored changing how I teach by encouraging more active learning and active participation outside of the classroom. I was unwilling to deter from the hands-on, I-do-and-you-follow approach I traditionally use during class time. So, I created a course blog. Students worked in groups and were required to post weekly updates about their progress on the blog. Each group took turns presenting a chapter from the textbook. This might seem like small inconsequential changes, but there was a huge difference in the way the groups worked together and helped each other. Very high camaraderie. The groups came up with team names, similar to the idea of team names on the apprentice tv show. The coolest group name was ‘We Need an A’. We had a lot of fun in this class. The blog enabled us to easily communicate to each other between weekly classes, and the requirement that each group post a weekly message detailing their weekly progress forced everyone to work together. I was astounded by how much quicker they all picked up the material. The overall quality of the final project, which was a comprehensive market analysis of the hotel industry in the City of Arlington (see here for more info), was absolutely incredible. Numerous groups geocoded hotel locations using parcel boundaries as the geocoding reference layer, tying in appraisal district data variables such as property value, square foot, LTB ratio, etc., to tax data such as quarterly sales. Needless to say, I am very impressed at how much more enthusiastic they were than my previous classes.

I did not implement these new ideas in the earth science course, but I sure will in the future.

This summer session I am teaching the Introduction to GIS course for Earth & Environmental Sciences again (in 3 weeks). Never taught a summer course before, so we’ll see how teaching 4 days a week will go. I will have to adjust the syllabus, but not today. This fall, I am teaching the real estate course again as well as ‘Analysis of Spatial Data’ for Earth & Environmental Sciences. I have never taught this particular course before. I will use both ArcGIS and Geoda. I am a big fan of Geoda for spatial statistics and have written about it a number of times on this blog.

Anyway, I turned in the grades and jotted down this reflection, so I consider the spring 2006 semester to R.I.P.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

American Factfinder: Statistically Significant Thematic Maps

The American Factfinder website recently added some new features, most notably the geographic display of statistically significant U.S. state comparisons.

Via: ResourceShelf

I want to take this opportunity to outline the newest Factfinder features, as well as some cool features that are less well known (to the students and faculty I generally work with, anyway...)

Newest Features (link)
  • Statistical Significance displayed on map.
  • "This new AFF thematic map feature helps users visually distinguish statistically significant differences from those that are not statistically significant. Click with statistical significance in the left panel to see the map with areas not different shaded by hatches"
    • Please note that this feature is available only using the American Community Survey data, and not any of the Census 2000 summary files.
    • As a test, I created a the thematic map on the Factfinder website showing the % of the 2004 population born in Mexico. (Table M0505). Click here to view the map.
      • Here are the 2004 ACS estimates for Texas:
        "Estimate: 3,309,064 people, Lower Bound: 62.9 Percent , Upper Bound: 65.1 Percent".
      • The way I interpret this is that there is not a significant statistical difference between Texas and Arizona regarding Mexican population. I think undergraduate students can make great use of this feature.

  • Other new Factfinder features include:
Cool (lesser known) Features
  • Save detailed tables queries as XQL (XML Query Language) files. When viewing the results, under the 'Print/Download' pull-down menu, select 'Save Search'.
  • In Summary Files 1 and 3 (without detailed ancestry categories), under the options pull-down menu, select 'Geo Components' to further limit results by various types of urban, rural, and metropolitan area characteristics.
  • The Factfinder website provides excellent documentation. To view the documentation for individual tables (when searching the detailed tables), the button will provide complete documentation.
  • The Download Center is great for downloading larger datasets.
  • The URLs for all thematic maps generated on the website are all static, such as this one.
  • Last but not least, make sure from the main Factfinder website you click either 'Data Sets' or 'Download Center' to query and download tabular data. Almost every other link will deliver pre-compiled tables and canned reports, which is normally not what researchers need.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

North American Regional Science Council: Proceedings Search

The North American Regional Science Council (NARSC) is "an international scholarly organization that focuses on regional analysis, ranging from urban and spatial theory to applied problems in regional development, sustainability, environmental management, and rural land use."

Just discovered (via: Openspace) that the NARSC provides a searchable archive of their 2005 annual conference. No full-text, unfortunately, but full bibliographic information is provided, as well as full contact information and descriptive abstracts. A PDF is also provided (404 pages) containing all papers. As is evident from the NARSC's desciption (above), there are lots of great papers here focusing on geospatial analysis.

Many of the advanced users of GIS here at UT Arlington are graduate students in the School of Urban & Public Affairs GIS Certificate Program. The capstone project for this certification is an independent study course. I see many of these students early in the semester looking for ideas. This is a great resource that I will show to them in addition to the resources we currently peruse (previous projects, Masters theses, journals, etc...).

Saturday, May 06, 2006

New Mapping Extensions for Firefox

Newest Extensions:
  • Photo Map
    • Developed by Adam Judson
    • Displays Flickr and 23 Account images within Google Maps.
    • I'm really getting excited about geotagging photos and other images, and this extensions works great.

  • Skyhook Wireless Loki
    • Developed by Ted Morgan
    • "Leveraging Skyhook's Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) to automatically define a user's exact physical location, this customizable toolbar not only turns a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop into a virtual GPS device, but it also integrates that location into the user's Internet search, browsing, and communications."

  • Map+
    • Developed by Ara Agopian
    • "View a map of a selected address in Firefox without changing windows or tabs using the right click command."
Previously Posted Extensions:

Indiana University To Shut Down Map Library?

Among 4 library branches Indiana University is proposing to close is their Geography and Map Library.

IDSnews.com Story: Four libraries facing closures
Budget issues seem to be one of the main reasons library administration has begun its investigation of campus libraries. Lou Malcomb, the head of IU Libraries Government Information, Microfilms and Statistical Services Department said administrators looked at the budget three or four weeks ago and realized there are "concerns."
How could such a major university be so strapped for funding that it will consider closing down their Geography and Map Library? It's inconceivable to me, but all I have to go on is this story in the student newspaper, so I am trying not to rush to a summary judgment here. The decision which libraries would close was based on activity levels. I am concerned about this because if we start to experience financial problems here (UTA), funding for geospatial datasets would surely be cut before the more commonly used electronic databases or monographs. Our library funds are very heavily dependent upon student fees, and a short drop in enrollment any semester could deliver us into a severe economic depression.
Heiko Muehr, the branch coordinator of the Map and Geography library, said that he was surprised by the proposal because the library is "a very efficient operation." He said it's also convenient because it's located in the Student Building and serves both geography and anthropology students and faculty, as well as several local residents.

"It is the IU library closest to downtown Bloomington and we get more use from Indiana residents than other IU libraries do," Muehr said. "(We get) farmers looking for plat books, genealogists, historic preservation professionals using our historic Sanborn maps, fishermen looking at Indiana lake maps, you name it."

Kelly Caylor, professor of ecohydrology in the Department of Geography, said that a resource like this library is "critical to the daily activity of (his) discipline." He said he uses the library to introduce his lower level classes to maps and methods of data collecting and uses the library as a way to share resources and readings with his upper level classes.
Via: MapHist

Friday, May 05, 2006

USDA Agriculture Research Service: Most Cited GIS Publications

Here are the top 10 institutions that have contributed to the most highly cited works in the field of GIS.
  1. USDA Agriculture Research Service
  2. US Geological Survey
  3. University of North Carolina
  4. University of California, Santa Barbara
  5. University of Wisconsin
  6. Colorado State University
  7. University of Minnesota
  8. University of Illinois
  9. Ohio State University
  10. Purdue University
Click here to view a graph.
Click here to view a map.
Click here to view a table.

I attended a product demonstration this morning from an ISI rep who demonstrated the Web of Knowledge product. The one thing I really took from the demo is a new (to me) feature called 'Analyze Results'. It allows you to "view rankings and histograms of the authors, journals, etc. for [a] set of records." I searched the Web of Science database for the Topic of GIS (TS=(geographic information systems)). Of the 2000 most cited articles within the results, the 10 institutions above contributed the most, with the USDA ARS topping the list. A similar list can also be compiled by author, or by authors within a particular university. Very powerful.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Transformations: Managing and Supporting GIS in Higher Educational Contexts

Latest issue of Transformations is entitled 'Managing and Supporting GIS in Higher Educational Contexts'.

via: GIS4LIB.

This issue presents seven separate case studies providing an overview of GIS in higher education, with a focus on growing GIS programs at smaller liberal art colleges. While my current university (UTA) is neither small nor strictly liberal arts and has a long-standing GIS program, I first learned GIS as Government Information Librarian at Texas A&M International University which is exactly the type of college this article focuses on. My first professional paper, co-wrote with Dr. Kimberly Folse, demonstrated how cooperation between social science faculty and a library's GIS services can work to integrate GIS into curriculum. Here is the article: Faculty and their Institutional Librarians: Developing Labor Capital by Using GIS to Teach Social Science

I want to take the time here to first comment upon this issue and then to describe what I see as the differences between starting up a new GIS program at a smaller college and maintaining an established GIS program at a larger university.

First a bit about NITLE, who published Transformations. I was previously unaware of NITLE, "a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting liberal education."
"We provide opportunities for teachers in liberal arts contexts to create transformative learning experiences for and with their students by deploying emerging technologies in innovative, effective, and sustainable ways."
NITLE has a program called Latitude which provides geospatial resources and workshops for the liberal arts. NITLE also maintains an active listserv.

OK, now the issue of Transformations. As I wrote above, these case studies focus on starting and growing GIS programs at smaller liberal arts universities. This is a great and wonderful thing as GIS is extremely exciting in these disciplines.

The first article, written by Jon Caris of Smith College, makes a nice distinction between "teaching with GIS" and "teaching GIS". Smith College's new GIS program began teaching with GIS and is now evolved into teaching GIS itself. This transition took 5 years.

Another article of note is the last article, written by Mary Ann Cunningham and Meg Stewart of Vassar College. Their experience working with GIS at Vassar, as described in this article, are so very similar to my role and aspirations here at UTA. The first thing that struck home was their statement in the introduction that "colleges often expect GIS instructors simultaneously to teach courses and labs, manage labs, and build user communities on campus." This here is my job in a nutshell, but you have to add in there collection development and metadata creation. Mary Ann and Meg point out that these expectations are stressful. Yes sir. The last section of their article, on the importance of institutional support, was fantastic. They discussed the difficulties in starting up a college-wide GIS program. After discussing the responsibilities of their GIS lab manager, they state that "the lab manager helps maintain the sanity and happiness of the teaching faculty." Wow, wow, wow. Thank you, thank you for writing these words. This is the situation here as well.

The last article I will comment on is the sole librarian author, Jeremy Donald, from Trinity University, right here in the lone star. The article first points out a lack of use in library-sponsored GIS services. Now, I'm going to put myself out on a limb here and criticize those libraries. I firmly believe that an active and enthusiastic librarian involved with GIS should have little difficulty generating interest in GIS. As long as the librarian made him/herself competent in the technology, there should be no problems at all with interest. Period. Anyway, Jeremy points out the ties between information literacy and GIS. This "has been the cornerstone of the push toward making GIS-based learning objects a part of the Trinity University curriculum." Fantastic. This is why our GIS program is within the Information Literacy Program Area of our library. Jeremy then writes about campus-wide GIS efforts, including how to "handle datasets and GIS files." I like the way the article points out how "providing access to and proper handling of datasets and GIS files are natural advantages of a library-based support model." No arguments from me.

Now I want to take a few moments to discuss the differences between providing GIS services at smaller liberal arts colleges and at larger universities, perhaps with established GIS programs. Neither is easier than the other, but I see the difference as degrees of complexity. Working at TAMIU (small liberal arts college), my mission with GIS was fairly straight-forward. Learn as much as I could and promote as much I could, while balancing my other library duties. Very similar to Jeremy Donald's article. When I would learn something new, I would share it with others at the college and in such a way I was able to continuously increase and improve GIS services with extremely limited resources. TIGER, Census 2000 (which was newer then) and other freely available datasets were wonderful for both me and the small but growing number of users. In terms of complexity, dems were the good ol' days. However, when I started working here specifically as GIS Librarian, I walked smack into a whole new and more complex dynamic. All of a sudden, I need to provide assistance to GIS students, many of them using complex geospatial modeling for theses and dissertations. Their data needs were also much more complex. We actually have a budget for GIS datasets, and so I had to find the best datasets available for their research, which is a lot harder than finding whatever was freely available. Whole ton of new responsibilities. Whole ton of new students needing to use GIS in ways I had never before imagined. Single biggest struggle I had to overcome when I came here was to earn respect. Not just for me specifically, but more for the library. A lot of preconceived notions about libraries and the type of services that they provide had to be overcome. Plus, learning GIS? Of course. Development in the geospatial technology field is growing so fast that anyone seeking to keep on top of it has charged themselves with a relentless task. Promotion? It can never slow down a drop. I view outreach as potential learning opportunities both for me and our users. I do not want to miss either of these types of opportunity. Of course, with more knowledge and skill comes more potential which makes things ever so much more complex. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Wow, did someone actually read this far down?? I'm done writing. My wife will get upset if I don't get off the computer now, so I'll call it a day. What I really wanted to say here was that I enjoyed this issue of Transformations immensely.

DataFerrett & TheDataWeb

I have not used the DataFerrett for quite some time and a student came by to ask about it yesterday. We extracted variables from the 'Loan Application Register Dataset' of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act in SPSS format. Student will be returning this weekend to use GIS to geospatially analyze these variables. Thank goodness I remembered enough about it to help the student, but I want to take this moment to jot down some notes.

If you share my insatiable thirst for a never-ending supply of datasets, DataFerrett is a must have. As an aside, one of my students this semester emailed this website to me, suggesting that I join: http://www.dataaddictsanonymous.com. What a sense of humor, eh? Pushah!

Anyway, DataFerrett is a fantastic free data mining tool (downloadable Java application) that is developed by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is part of TheDataWeb, a "network of online data libraries that the DataFerrett application access the data through." Complex queries against large datasets can be extracted as spreadsheet, SAS, SPSS, STATA, and delimited text. SQL Queries and tables can be generated within DataFerrett, as well as charts, graphs, and maps. Now, with access to ArcGIS we do not need the mapping capabilities within DataFerrett, but very cool it is there.

Want to test drive the latest DataFerrett? Download BetaDataFerrett.

Here is a list of data topics available: http://www.thedataweb.org/topics.html. The complete Census 2000 Summary File 3 dataset (long form, sampled data) to the Census Tract level is available through DataFerrett. If you are using American Factfinder to extract Census data, DataFerrett will give you a way to circumvent Factfinder's restrictions, such as the 7000 geography limit per query.

Position: Map Librarian - University of Florida - Florida

Map Librarian - University of Florida - Florida
"The George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida seek a customer service oriented individual to lead, develop, and manage the Map and Imagery Library, the largest map library in the southeastern U.S. and the fifth largest academic map library in the United States."
All I have to say about that is: Wow! Now, GIS skills/experience is only listed under the preferred qualifications, but the management of such a map collection plus geospatial technologies is something really special.

Let's take a look at some snippets:
  • Collaborates with the Spatial Information Services Team and Digital Library Center on the planning and implementation of digital spatial and numeric data collection initiatives, policies, and procedures that utilize Map and Imagery Library resources.

  • Provides reference services, individual consultations and instruction to faculty, staff and students for Map and Imagery and Government Documents collections.

  • Supervises and coordinates the efforts of three fulltime Map and Imagery Library staff members and multiple student assistants to achieve service, collection, and processing goals.
This position here is a tenure-track position, and I had a bad experience the one time I was in such a position. I try to be open-minded, however, and suppose it might not be a universally bad situation. As long as librarians are indeed treated as faculty with sabbatical opportunities and other time off for research/writing, then perhaps it can then work. In my previous position this was not the case and our faculty status was not taken seriously by ourselves or the teaching faculty. It really worked against us. Anyways (I sure did digress), something here to consider. (Will there be increasing pressure for tenure-track librarians to bring grant dollars into the university similar to teaching faculty? If not currently, perhaps in a few years as budgets continue to tighten up? Don't scoff at this as ridiculous. I for one do not want such pressure.)

Salary is $40,000 to less than $50,000. I'd like it to be higher, but it sounds about right.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Government Printing Office Sale - Navigation Products

GPO Sale

The U.S. Government Printing Office is currently running a sale with discounted prices.

There are a few inexpensive navigation CD-ROM products, as well as a couple of basic stats/demographic products. Now, before you run out and slam down your hard-earned cash, note that many U.S. Federal Depository Libraries might have these products.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Position: GIS Data Steward (South Florida Water Management District)

GIS Data Steward - South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, FL

No, this job posting does not use that viscous L-word, but is this not what a steward is? This seems like a great opportunity for a librarian seeking to shift into the public administration sector.

Let's take a look at some snippets:
  • The creation and maintenance of GIS datasets for spatial data and metadata that will be broadly distributed and used through a centralized spatial data warehouse to facilitate data sharing.
  • The GIS Data Steward is the authority for specific spatial data.
  • Stewardship responsibilities may include hydrography, natural resources and basemap elements.
  • This position follows acceptable procedures used in the data maintenance phase including update, backup, and data archive.
No mention of salary, but with 4 - 6 years experience required, I would assume a nice salary...probably nicer than working in an actual library.

Position: AGS Library - Digital/Spatial Data GIS Librarian

Digital/Spatial Data GIS Librarian - American Geographical Society Library (UW Milwaukee) [PDF]

Previous postings (03/15/06 | 12/12/05)

This is a fantastic entry-level opportunity for new librarians/recent graduates. Here is a snippet of the responsibilities:
"The Digital Spatial Data/GIS Librarian is responsible for the daily operations of the Digital Spatial Data Clearinghouse. Responsibilities include: providing direct, general, and specialized reference service to digital spatial data collections; overseeing collection development, cataloging, archiving and maintaining of digital spatial data clearinghouse materials; working with Libraries Automation department to keep in operational order all computer and peripheral equipment related to the digital spatial data clearinghouse; providing digital spatial data instruction to faculty, staff and students as requested; consulting with Libraries staff to develop spatial data collections; and providing backup general reference services in the AGS Library. This position reports to the Curator of the American Geographical Society Library."
Salary starts at $ 37,719.

Easy Export PDF to Spreadsheet

There is a wealth of freely available data tables on the net, but available only in PDF format. Now, for those of us that need delimited tables (to use within GIS applications, for example) this stinks. However, last week I discovered the advanced table capabilities included with Acrobat 7.

Last month, my department upgraded our PCs to Acrobat 7 Professional. I thought nothing of it until working on the HIV occurrences in Texas (2004) Google Map project for the Nursing PhD class. (Here is the resulting table.)

There is a ton of great stats provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services, but entirely in PDF format. These advanced capabilities saved me an incredible amount of time. Selected (highlighted) the tables I needed, right-clicked and selected export table to spreadsheet. Excel immediately opened up with a beautifully formatted table.

Perhaps this is common knowledge already, but I wanted to share what I discovered. Remember the olden days using Acrobat 5.0?