Call For Proposals


Are map libraries obsolete?

In her 1970 ACMLA conference paper by this title, Association member and McMaster University Map Librarian Kate Donkin foretold the rise of geospatial data and pondered the future of static maps–and the libraries containing them–in a digital environment. Nearly half a century later, many of Ms. Donkin’s predictions have been validated: the confluence of broadly-available geospatial data, large-scale digitization projects, and the maturation of user-friendly software for analysis and map visualization have ushered in what may be referred to as an “age of accessible cartography”.

Perhaps most interestingly, the implication suggested by the paper’s central question has not been realized: Map libraries have not become obsolete during the rise to prominence of geospatial data. Rather, map collections, their spaces, and the professionals working within them have evolved in diverse ways to meet the changing needs of researchers, students, government, and the public.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of such a provocative question, the community has an opportunity to reflect on it, and perhaps, ask it again. How have the roles of maps, map-related professionals, and the map library been transformed in the age of accessible cartography? How are map libraries adding value to modern-day scholarship? How might their role evolve over the next 50 years?

The Carto 2019 conference committee invites librarians, library staff, archivists, geographic information specialists and other interested individuals to submit proposals for papers, panels, posters, and workshops that explore this theme and others related to it.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • The application of domain and/or software expertise to add value to existing collections
  • Innovative uses of modern or historical cartographic materials to support teaching and research
  • New approaches for supporting the software training needs of researchers, students, and the public
  • Considerations for acquiring, curating, and making available indigenous collections
  • Creating geospatial data through digitizing and georeferencing collections
  • Approaches for linking digital map collections to archival and other relevant materials
  • Strategies and systems to improve the discoverability and reusability of cartographic materials and geospatial data
  • New uses for physical space in map collections and libraries
  • Innovative methods for geospatial data analysis and visualization
  • Opportunities for map collections and their staff to collaborate with groups across the academic and public spheres
  • Managing geospatial collections and research data, and addressing challenges associated with using, describing, archiving, preserving and providing access to this information.

Please submit an abstract (250 words) of your proposal in either French or English and brief biography using this submission form. The deadline for submissions is February 14th, 2019. If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your submission or if you have any questions about the conference, please contact a member of the program committee.

The members of the organizing committee are:

  • Marilyn Andrews, University of Regina
  • Jason Brodeur, McMaster University
  • Gordon Beck, McMaster University
  • Kara Handren, Scholars Portal
  • Christine Homuth, McMaster University
  • Vivek Jadon, McMaster University
  • Amber Leahey, Scholars Portal