Panlibus Blog

Google Maps need a directory to add some GLAMour

Paul Miller notes the launch of Google Maps UK CIE Thoughts: Google Maps and Local come to the UK

As referenced by many when launched in the US, this raises the bar on mapping sites several notches. Some of the traditional mapping sites, such as www.streetmap.co.uk, must be really concerned by Google’s entry in to their domain.

Its still a long way from perfect though, as Paul comments in his more in depth review of its capabilities:

There is value, for example, in simply being able to ask for “libraries in Pocklington”, which returns a useful result. Unfortunately, it misses the library in Pocklington. The local authority knows where that library is. So does MLA. Both would benefit from my having been able to find it via Google Maps (without me having to know the postcode…).

As with Paul’s searches for museums in London,and libraries in Pocklington, searches for libraries general are equally hit & miss. But thats all to do with the quality of the business data, not the mapping technology.

Lorcan Dempsey comments…

See http://www.paulrademacher.com/housing/ for an interesting coming together of services. I think that an interesting avenue moving forward is thinking about Google, Amazon, Yahoo! etc as platforms upon which others, including the GLAM community, can build in specific ways.
GLAM = galleries, libraries, archives, museums

What you need is a directory containing locations for all GLAMs, with the addition of reliable links to their search interface. Then users would not only be able to find their local library, but also be able to quickly find out if the book they want is in stock. Or visa versa – using Google to give you directions to the library containing the book you just searched for.

These thoughts link well with the prototype OPAC deep linking directory that we are working on as part of Project Silkworm. See Justin’s blog on this for more detail.

As Justin mentions We will be talking more about this at the Talis Research Day. And we will be demonstrating a few things too!

3 Responses

  1. Paul Miller Says:

    A lot of the data for such a directory is already held by various agencies.

    If such data were to be disclosed, in order that your directory (or anyone else’s) could pick it up and use it, what sort of content would you need, and how structured would it have to be?

    Could it be as simple as:

    institution name
    local authority (relevant for a library, at least!)
    MLA regional agency (or equivalent)
    address (with at least postcode explicitly declared – BS 7666 or equivalent, a la e-GIF ?)
    phone number
    URL for main site?

    The “reliable links to their search interface” are probably not held consistently or accurately at present, although presumably the library vendors have that information for all of their customers?

  2. CIE Thoughts Says:

    Offering a GLAMourous directory to third parties

    A terrible pun, I know, but I blame Richard Wallis for starting it! In his post on panlibus, Richard picks up on earlier comments by Lorcan and myself, and (rightly, I think) suggests that there is value in a…

  3. Hannita Says:

    Paul is absolutely right. It would make life easier and more benificial for everybody.

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