To read this content please select one of the options below:

Using Google Maps as an interface for the library catalogue

Michael Vandenburg (Kingston Public Library, Kingston, Canada)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




The paper aims to describe a proof of concept web application designed to allow users to search for library materials with geographic subject headings using Google Maps as the primary interface for navigation. The purpose of the paper is to describe the development of an innovative tool that one library has created to provide users with a new way to access bibliographic records.


The approach taken is descriptive, with the development process for the proof of concept laid out in detail and placed it within the broader contexts of web application development at the host library and the emergence of Web 2.0 tools.


The paper shows that unique and valuable new methods of accessing bibliographic data can be created through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), one of the more powerful tools available to web application developers today.

Research limitations/implications

Challenges of working with geographic information in subject headings of bibliographic records are discussed, and potential methods for dealing with these challenges are described.


The paper shows that it is possible to use APIs provided by large internet entities such as Google to create map based navigational tools for accessing bibliographic information. It also shows the value of allowing library systems staff to explore new technologies.



Vandenburg, M. (2008), "Using Google Maps as an interface for the library catalogue", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 33-40.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles