From Homegrown Mapping Solution to StackMap


Building your own in-house mapping system for 10 different libraries is as complicated as it sounds. Luckily, after learning about StackMap, McGill University realized they no longer needed to overcome this obstacle on their own — there was a solution that could do it completely for them. McGill was looking for a mapping system for their sprawling collection of over 7 million items that would be compatible with their recent migration to OCLC WMS and allow for more flexibility in organizing complex collections than their existing in-house solution. We spoke with Assistant Project Manager, Liliana Ospina, about how StackMap streamlined the post-migration process and enabled them to implement specific features into their collections.

When we migrated over all of our records on May 1, our old mapping system became obsolete, and that’s when we got StackMap. With StackMap, everything is more organic. The product reflects the true complexity and uniqueness of the collection. Now, we can add directions, text, or general messages. That’s something we didn’t have before. Before StackMap, we were stuck defining rows with just “side a” and “side b”. Now, we have more flexibility, and we can create as many sides and transitions as necessary. For example, if you were working with a collection with four different transitions (these might be material types or different collection codes) in the previous system, doing your transitions for the beginning and end of one specific range of call numbers was impossible. With StackMap, those transitions are possible because it allows us to assign sides to a particular row. Partnering with StackMap and working with our implementation specialist during our WMS migration was a great experience. Our collection is very large, beautiful, and unique, so for us, having a product like StackMap helps us showcase and share that with the world.

Are you a library currently using an in-house mapping solution? If so, you may want to consider the following:  An in-house or homegrown solution requires a lot of time, effort, and, in turn, money. Bringing StackMap on board, as McGill did, will save staff from a lot of strain and the library from financial burden. Additionally, the longevity of an in-house solution is always in question, especially when you come up against a catalog migration, as McGill did. Many times the ability to update/modify an in-house mapping system lies solely in the hands of the programmers who created it, due to solution complexity. What happens when those programmers move on from the institution? Take updating into your own hands with StackMap’s easy-to-use dashboard and you will have a solution that works now and into the future.

— Liliana Ospina, Assistant Project Manager-User Services