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February 2012

OLA Super Conference 2012: Maps

February 27, 2012 | Niki | Comments (0)


But thou at home without or tyde or gale; Canst in thy Map securely saile: --  Robert Herrick

I "securely saile" down Algonquin canoe routes, drive  the country roads of Devon on Street View and  time travel to my home's location in 1915.  To my great pleasure I attended two  presentations at OLA that had maps at their heart and, also, rediscovered several  TPL mapping initiatives.

Incorparating Mapping Technology into Libray Services

Images.nypl.orgEva Dodsworth is the Geospatial Data Services Librarian at the University of Waterloo and works with Geographical Information Systems. An early example of this type of information representation was seen in John Snow's map of the cholera outbreak in London in 1854. GIS simply takes this to the computer in a field that combines cartography, statistics and databases.  Eva showed us how she used GIS to explore the expansion of the County of Waterloo  from 1955 to the present day.

GIS is also used in georeferencing  antiquarian maps in the NYPL collection.  Here library users, using  Map Warper, overlay old maps on the new city grid to rectify them and chart changes.  

Dodsworth is the author of Getting Started with GIS.

Library Mobile Architecture Project

Graham McCarthy from Ryerson Library showcased the app he and Vincent Hui of the Ryerson  School of Architecture developed.  This free app provides maps, architectural tours,  history of  buildings  hi-resolution images and  floor plans. Through the use of GPS and augmented reality you can scan the horizon and bring up the building information.



TPL Initiatives: The Digital Archive

Digitization at TPL has resulted in some excellent on-line maps for the staff and public. Digitized Toronto Fire Insurance Maps are invaluable for researching early Toronto and tracing the history of your area or home.  TPL's Local History and Genealogy blog contains detailed  instructions in their use.

I was  recently introduced to a TPL resource that is of great value to  Branches, especially those with no Local History collection.  Information and images from the Digital Archives and catalogue are linked directly to a map of Toronto Neighbourhoods. You select your neigbourhood and retrieve a list of websites, books, digital maps, scanned pictures and other resources.  


“They were maps that lived, maps that one could study, frown over, and add to; maps, in short, that really meant something.”
Gerrald Durrell




Online help with Shakespeare

February 13, 2012 | Joanne | Comments (0)

Discovery Collection, TumbleReadables and Audio Book Cloud, all available through the library's A-Z list of all databases, provide online help for students studying Shakespeare.

Discovery Collection provides critical essays, plot summaries and narrative biographies on the popular Shakespeare plays Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar and Macbeth.


It is easy to use:

  • Click on Discovering Collection to open it
  • Type the name of the play in the Basic Search box


  • Select the play from the list of popular topics on the left




Listening to Shakespeare without Downloading

To listen to a recording of a Shakespeare play, go to TumbleReadables.

 To find a play:

  • Click Classics and then Shakespeare

Full cast recordings are available for Hamlet and King Lear.

Hamlet Tumble

 Audio Book Cloud

Audio Book Cloud is another place to check for online listening of Shakespeare classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Othello, the Merchant of Venice, King Richard III and The Sonnets.

To find a Shakespeare title:

  • Click on Classics and then Plays & Drama or Poetry




Other Database News

Learning Express Library Promotion

On the Find Your Way to Newcomers to Canada page there is now a direct link to Learning Express Library for help with preparing for the Canadian citizenship test. Under More ESL Tools is a list of other online resources to help customers with English language learning.








Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

February 5, 2012 | julia | Comments (0)

Canadian biography
For those of you who are not familiar with the website, The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online is a free online database containing biographical information on notable figures that have impacted Canadian history.  This resource is an online version of the print volumes that were originally published as a joint project between the University of Toronto and the Université Laval.  The various biographies are the work of researchers and writers in many fields from across Canada and around the world.   

As a free academic database, this website is a great resource for customers looking for reliable information on Canadian historical figures.  The website is fairly user-friendly with a straightforward search function, as well as alphabetical browsing by surname.  It is a great resource for customers because it can be accessed from home, and contains detailed information that has been vetted by the University of Toronto and the Université Laval. 


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