The position of spatial data librarian is not commonplace at universities, but it is growing. I have met at least 10 new librarians in this position over the past several years. The small but expert and energetic group of spatial data librarians has been making headway in several key innovative projects germane to the themes of this blog and our book. These include the creation of useful data portals, moving the digital humanities field forward, and coordinating data production, dissemination, and use–not only between departments on their own campuses, but between universities, government agencies, industry, and nonprofit organizations. A group of these spatial data librarians recently met at a “Geo4Lib” camp, for example, and among other topics, explored a solution called GeoBlacklight to host geospatial data.
One group from Colorado is considering the use of GeoBlacklight tools to host a statewide Colorado GIS data portal. Colorado is sorely in need of such a portal as Colorado has no curated and supported statewide data organization or portal as exists in Texas with TNRIS or Montana with NRIS, for example. To see GeoBlacklight in action, see Stanford University’s instance of it here, led by my colleague Stace Maples.
Try the Stanford University instance of GeoBlacklight. What are your reactions to its usefulness, as a geospatial data professional? Do you have a geospatial data librarian at your local or regional university? What can the GIS community do to advocate that universities hire such staffpersons in the library?