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BTAA Geoportal Collection Development Policy

Authors: BTAA Collection Development & Education Outreach Committee


The BTAA Geospatial Information Network is a collaborative project to enhance discoverability, facilitate access, and connect scholars across the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) to scanned maps, geospatial data, and aerial imagery resources. The project’s main output is the BTAA Geoportal, which serves as a platform through which participating libraries can share materials from their collections to make them more easily discoverable and accessible to varied user communities. Collections within the Geoportal primarily support the research, teaching, learning, and information needs of faculty, staff, and students at participating institutions and beyond.

The project supports the creation and aggregation of discovery-focused metadata describing geospatial resources from participating institutions and public sources across the Big Ten region and makes those resources discoverable via an open source portal. For more information and a list of participating BTAA institutions, please visit our project site.

Summary of Collection Scope

Access to the BTAA Geoportal is open to all. This collection consists of geospatial resources relevant to all disciplines. Access to resources is curated based on their authoritativeness, currency, comprehensiveness, ease of use, and relevancy. Materials included are generally publicly available geospatial datasets (vector/raster), scanned maps (georeferenced or with bounding box coordinates), and aerial imagery. Scanned maps protected by copyright are not included in the Geoportal. Access to licensed resources may be restricted to users affiliated with a participating institution.

  1. Geographic areas: Items in the collection vary in scale based on subject and range from global to local. Geographic areas vary based on subject and may refer to biomes/ecosystems, political boundaries, cultural boundaries, economic boundaries, or land use types. In addition to a geographic focus on the Big Ten region (i.e., the states where participating institutions are located), the collection will emphasize resources and topics relevant to faculty and student research interests and reflect the strengths of participating library collections.
  2. Time periods: All time periods are collected, with an ability to accommodate both current and historical versions of datasets.
  3. Format: The collection consists of geospatial datasets, georeferenced maps, scanned maps with bounding box coordinates, and aerial imagery. Records for web mapping applications may also be included, with priority given to applications with datasets that are also accessible for download through the Geoportal. Preference is given to open and open source formats, but other formats are accepted as required to facilitate ease of use. When possible, resources are presented in formats that allow for download capabilities. Additional software may be needed to view datasets after download.
  4. Language(s): The collection primarily consists of English language content. Some non-English language content may be available for certain regions, reflecting the collection strengths and research/curricular interests of participating institutions.
  5. Diversity: The Geoportal and its participating institutions aspire to collect and provide access to geospatial resources that represent diverse perspectives, abilities, and experience levels. We will strive to apply best practices for diverse collection development as they relate to geospatial resources, including but not limited to:
    1. considering resources from small, independent, and local producers
    2. seeking content created by and representative of marginalized and underrepresented groups.
  6. Preservation and life cycle: Digital file preservation for discovery metadata is managed by BTAA Geoportal staff. Digital file preservation for resources is the responsibility of the content provider. Resources may cease to be accessible through the Geoportal if access from the original provider is no longer available.

Statement of Communication

The members of the Geoportal project team will continue to communicate with the creators of other geoportals (GeoBlacklight Community, etc.), with data providers in our respective regions, and across Big Ten institutions to build a comprehensive and robust collection.

Implementation and Revision Schedule: This policy will be reviewed annually by the Collection Development & Education Outreach Committee and is considered effective on the date indicated below. It will be revised as needed to reflect new collection needs and identify new areas of study as well as those areas that may be excluded.

Updated: April 27, 2022