Tufts University Library Uses GIS for Resource Planning and Facility Management
The Tisch Library, on the Medford, Massachusetts campus of Tufts University, houses the majority of the system's 1.2 million volumes. The library facilities include a student café, offices, group study rooms, research areas, and a media lab. In addition, the Tisch Library has an active research instruction program and offers both one-on-one consultations and an instant messaging reference service. With additions to special collections, the Tisch Library continues to grow and evolve and the need to provide supplemental materials when new courses are introduced at the university, the management of its facilities and resources is a significant concern for university library administrators.
Recognizing the need to better manage both its facilities and its collections, Tufts Library administrators enlisted a team of university employees including Thom Cox, technical project manager, and Patrick Florance, GIS center manager, to help develop and implement a geographic information system (GIS)-based library information system that incorporated the library’s existing data management programs. Says Florance, “The Tufts University Information Technology [UIT] group partnered with Tisch Library Information Technology Services [LITS] to create L-SIMS [Library Spatial Information Management System], a fully functioning, 3D GIS-based view of the interior space of the library that merges databases from LITS, facilities management, and various library collections.” L-SIMS assists the reference librarians in their efforts to direct students to the resources in the library as well as develop plans for facilitating disaster planning, determine the location and contents of special collections, and access the availability of computer resources. The Tufts GIS center used ArcGIS to generate high-quality maps, and key library staff were trained in ArcGIS software to become users and data stewards of the new system. Adds Cox, “The ability to quickly generate high-quality maps is one of the greatest benefits of using L-SIMS. Detailed floor maps are posted on each floor of the library that indicate the location of various book collections, as well as important emergency information such as exits, panic buttons, and fire extinguishers. When library resources are altered, the maps must be re-created to reflect those changes.”