Geographic Information Systems and Geospatial Data in New Zealand and Australian Academic Libraries

Author: Smith, Michael

Date: 2016

Type: Scholarly text

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Victoria University of Wellington


Research problem: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offer a means of gathering, viewing, managing and analysing spatial information. Technological changes are making GIS more widely accessible to researchers in many disciplines. Academic libraries have responded to growing demand by implementing GIS support services. Little research has been undertaken regarding GIS services provided by academic libraries in New Zealand and Australia. This research project aimed to discover the extent and nature of GIS services offered and librarians’ perceptions regarding factors influencing implementation of library GIS services. Methodology: A quantitative study was carried out of tertiary academic libraries in New Zealand and Australia. 78 academic libraries or library networks were invited to complete an online questionnaire regarding GIS services in their library and wider institution. Results: 17 libraries (22%) completed the survey. 59% of surveyed academic libraries offer one or more GIS services. These are primarily university libraries at larger institutions. Non-university libraries offer few GIS services. Services relating to geospatial data management and information literacy are the most frequently offered. The implementation of new GIS services is driven primarily by stakeholder demand, while lack of demand, library staff knowledge of GIS and funding are the main barriers to implementation of new GIS services. Implications: Academic libraries in the region need to be aware of the growth of GIS in academia and responsive to the needs of GIS users by monitoring demand for GIS services and introducing tailored, relevant and sustainable GIS services.

Subjects: Geographic Information Studies, Geodata, Academic libraries, Geographic Information Systems, GIS, Geospatial data, Tertiary institutions