Librarians from Brown, Yale, Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Maryland, and the New York Public Library (NYPL) attended the day-long meeting, which included an informal roundtable review of GIS programs at attendee’s institutions, demonstrations of special programs, and information exchanges.
“The GIS professional meeting was a great opportunity to share ideas and meet with other librarians,” commented Jeremiah Trinidad, GIS/Map Librarian at Lehman Library, and speaker at the event. “We were able to discuss and evaluate our own collections, and provide support to each other for various issues.” NYPL plans to host a similar event next year.
GIS is a comprehensive system used to collect, store, analyze, and disseminate information about areas of the Earth. It is available through Columbia’s Electronic Data Service (EDS). GIS makes it possible to link, or integrate information that is difficult to associate through any other means. GIS technology can be used for scientific investigations, resource management, development planning, and in crime prevention, public health, urban planning, engineering, journalism, and marketing.
The Electronic Data Service (EDS) is operated jointly by the Libraries and Academic Information Systems (AcIS) to support instruction and research that involves numeric data resources. EDS maintains a library of data and documentation that covers a wide range of topics, both national and international, including sociodemographic topics, public opinion polls, politics, health, and economics. Support services include help in identifying and obtaining data; assistance with data preparation; and maintenance of a lab facility with the necessary software for data extraction. Help is provided in-house, on the website, and via e-mail. For more information please visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/maps/gis.html.
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.