|Marianne Stowell Bracke
Agricultural Sciences Information Specialist, Associate Professor of Library Science
|Christopher C. Miller
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist, Assistant Professor of Library Science
Digitization projects that scan and abandon – that simply generate static, digital copies of analog pages and then move on – might be missing out on some of the more relevant capabilities of the Semantic Web, with its creeping xml veins and mashed-up interfaces. Purdue University Libraries is resurrecting a 1906 Soil Survey and mashing it with itself in order to add value, access, and interaction beyond the more traditional scan/describe/store model of collection recovery. It is an attempt to leverage the evolving technologies of librarianship (description, yes, but also text markup, web application-building, and geographic information systems [GIS]) toward the benefit of our users’ maturing needs and expectations. Soil surveys document soil types and locations via prose and maps, typically published as a single document. Modern soil surveys are born digital and used largely in electronic contexts (including GIS) but there are decades of rich comparative data being left to atrophy in the undigitized copies of aging paper surveys. This project digitizes both components of the 1906 survey – the text and map – and extracts both into useable, modern data formats. In addition to OCR’d, fully indexed, fully searchable full text, the soil zone data from the map will also be extracted into a useable, queryable, studyable GIS dataset. Search and query will be available for each component of the original document and each will be able to link and query the other, allowing the user to jump seamlessly between text and map and back based on common semantic elements. The session will update the status of the project, demonstrate a working draft of the map and document interface, and discuss the more macro implications of librarians recognizing new expectations for usability by applying new technologies to their collections.