Searching and Browsing in a Digital Library of Historical Maps and Newspapers

Steve Jones, Matt Jones, Malcolm Barr, Te Taka Keegan


Digital libraries can empower end users through on-line provision of previously inaccessible materials, synergistic integration of related information collections, and tailoring of access mechanisms for target user groups. In this paper we describe the HistoryMap system that supports access to digitised collections of historical maps and newspapers, integrating searching and browsing between the two. We report on our solution to providing place name searching across maps that vary in accuracy, scale and orientation, and how newspaper text is dynamically reconfigured to include hyperlinks to maps containing given locations. Both the user interface and software architecture of the system are described, as are a usability study of the system and discussion sessions with target end users. Although some surface level usability problems were revealed by the study, target users of the system are enthusiastic about its potential.

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