[GeoHumanities SIG] place in library catalog

Burns, Bonnie Bburns at fas.harvard.edu
Wed Oct 2 17:34:25 CEST 2013

Hi Kathy,

We are just finishing up a project here that uses natural language processing to geocode place references in our library catalog.  To date we have geocoded about a million catalog records, resulting in about 6 million geocodes, and created a beta version of a search interface that incorporates that information.  We did use a commercial product for the tagging, but we are watching the development of open source tools very closely, and the rest of the project is open source.

We are in the middle of an upgrade so the UI isn't available right now, but we have a demo video here:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULkZE8TVP3I . I'm happy to provide more information to anyone who is interested, including a link to the UI once it is back up.


Bonnie A. Burns
Librarian for Geographic Information Services
Harvard Map Collection
Pusey Library
Cambridge, MA 02138

From: geohumsig-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org [mailto:geohumsig-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org] On Behalf Of Kathy Weimer
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 10:50 AM
To: geohumsig at lists.digitalhumanities.org
Subject: [GeoHumanities SIG] place in library catalog

I am wondering if any of you GeoHumanists are familiar with research projects looking at the concept of place representation in the traditional library catalog.  In my opinion, library catalogs have never done a good job with representing place-based subject information.  The fields and headings are either too specific or too general and do not provide insight into geographic contexts (adjacency, proximity, containment, etc.).
Various data in the subject headings and coded fields could be harvested and result in a map-based search engine which would likely yield more interesting results that the typical subject or keyword search.  If you know of prior work looking at harvesting and visualizing placial data from catalog records, I would like to know.  Ideas?  Suggestions?
Kathy Weimer
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