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Map It: Helping Users Find One Book Among Thousands

The new feature incorporates a map of an item’s location into HOLLIS. A test launch for “Map It” is planned for the week of October 21 for collections in Widener, Lamont and the Harvard Law School libraries.

Map It

HOLLIS catalog recordOctober 22, 2013—The Library Innovation Lab and Access Services developed Map It, which incorporates a map of an item’s exact location into the HOLLIS record. A soft launch for Map It, available to Library staff members only, goes live this week for most books in Widener Library, Lamont Library and the Law School Library. During the test period, staff will see a link to a map next to an item's call number—see an example here.

“Map It is a fantastic example of technology simplifying part of the research process for library users,” said Annie Cain, developer for the Harvard Law School Library. “The application does the tedious work of cross-referencing a table of location data so users don’t have to.”

Rosanne Sheridan, former head of Access Services for the physical and life sciences libraries, served as the project manager and coordinated with Cain and Johnny Weyand, head of collection management for Access Services, who developed the floor plans in the three libraries in which Map It will first launch.

Sheridan said there was an overwhelming desire for such a tool. “We’re really excited about Map It,” Sheridan said. “Unless you’re an experienced library user, it’s hard to navigate the complicated stacks in Harvard’s bigger libraries.” Sheridan said more than 50% of the volumes in the three test libraries would be mapped in time for the soft launch.

Lisa Junghahn, research librarian for the Harvard Law School Library, and Emily Bell, research librarian for Widener, Lamont and Cabot libraries, have taken on the role of Map It liaisons—letting other research librarians know about its launch and soliciting feedback.