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Map librarian's brand of magic
earns him info tech award
March 2, 1998

Patrick McGlamery makes magic, but his brand requires more than a sleight of hand. McGlamery, the University's map librarian, has created an on-line library of digital geo-spatial data, MAGIC, the Map and Geographic Information Center.

Considered the primary distributor of digital geo-spatial data in the state, MAGIC provides information about Connecticut that includes housing, labor and economic statistics, roads, streets, town boundaries, railroads, drainage basins and hydrography.

The database has provided information to thousands of users from the University community, the state, and from institutions and businesses abroad. In order to use the data, a computer mapping program or GIS (Geographic Information System) is needed.

"Maps have transformed themselves since 1980 from paper-based to digital data-based resources," said McGlamery, who started the project five years ago. Anticipating that more and more spatial data would appear electronically, McGlamery decided to create a site that would be easily accessible and available to the public. He works with data producers at the federal, state and local levels, including Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation, to acquire the data.

"What libraries do is we collect, we describe and we provide access," McGlamery says. An on-line library does the same but in a networked environment, he adds. What users will find on the website are about 15,000 files and six to seven gigabytes of data.

"Patrick is helping to redefine the notion of the virtual library," says Paul Kobulnicky, director of University libraries. "Patrick has been focusing his entire career on helping people answer questions that are spatial in nature and now he's doing it digitally and very successfully."

McGlamery is internationally recognized as a leader in using information technology to acquire, catalog and provide access to digital spatial data. The first American invited to the European map library conference as keynote speaker, he is active in professional organizations, teaching other librarians how to use the technology.

Sherry Fisher