Indirect Outreach in a GIS Environment: Reflections on a Map Libraryâs Approach to Promoting GIS Services to Non-GIS Users

Eva Dodsworth


Promoting non-traditional library resources to the academic community can be a challenging and sometimes ineffective process if not coordinated and planned thoroughly. The University of Waterloo Map Library (UML), specializing in cartographic and geospatial data resources, diligently visits dozens of classrooms yearly, promoting its resources and services. The nature of the content is often intimidating to the students however, because Geographical Information System (GIS) technology is unfamiliar to them. In September 2007, the Map Library instigated a new indirect outreach approach of connecting with students and introducing them to geospatial information literacy concepts. Instead of leaving students confused about the technology and the libraryâs vast amount of resources, the new approach encourages students to learn at their own pace and leaves them responsible for seeking more information when they need it. This approach has resulted in establishing relationships with many more students, and thus increasing the number of GIS users in the library and on campus.


Geographical Information System; geospatial; GIS users; information literacy; library instruction; promotion; outreach; marketing

Full Text:


ISSN: 1947-525X