Temporally Dynamic Maps: The Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative Experience

Jeanette L. Zerneke, Michael K. Buckland, Kim Carl


Understanding context is important in the humanities and social sciences. Temporally dynamic maps provide a framework for showing and analyzing context in terms of what was happening around a particular time and place. Such maps are investigated in the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI), an informal international collaboration of educators, researchers, librarians, and information technology specialists, based at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to organizing conferences and advocating the development of standards and best practices, ECAI has participated in the creation of several multimedia publications that include temporally dynamic maps. This article describes the experiences that have been gained in the work with dynamic maps to enhance the display of catalog search results and to express geographical aspects of search queries, as well as with gazetteers that are used for linking between text and maps. The ECAI experiences have also resulted in the identification of numerous problems concerning the complete­ness, documentation, authenticity, and preservation of geo-temporal data, problems that are discussed in the article.


time; cultural maps; temporally dynamic maps; Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative; ECAI; library catalogs; gazetteers

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