The decline in published thematic mapping, especially U.S. government census mapping, the growing availability and affordability of computers, and the rise of geographic information systems have been important catalysts in moving map libraries toward the establishment of public access computerassisted mapping programs. Until recently, most computerassisted mapping systems were tied to large computers and required a significant degree of technical expertise. A program on computerassisted mapping at the Spring 1984 Western Association of Map Libraries meeting in Seattle found few examples of microcomputerbased mapping systems and none that was really designed for direct public access. However, the past five years have seen the explosive growth of microcomputers and applications software, the rise of desktop publishing and by extension desktop mapping, the development of large databases on CDROM and their use in libraries, and increasing librarian familiarity with microcomputers. These technical advancements in combination with changes in data distribution have contributed to the recent rise of public access computerassisted mapping programs in academic libraries.
Reference Services Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 1989