Header image with four cats and the text: Pussreboots, a book review nearly every day. Online since 1997
Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

Altered Realities by Alfred Bester
Angus and the Ducks
by Marjorie Flack
Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey A. Carver
Bhangra Babes by Narinder Dhami
The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
Bone: Ghost Circles by Jeff Smith
Bone: Treasure Hunters by Jeff Smith
Coast to Coast by Catherine Donzel
Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman
The Devil's Arthmetic by Jane Yolen
The Dyodyne Experiment by James Doulgeris and V. Michael Santoro
The Emergence of Maps in Libraries by Walter William Ristow
Finding Marco by Kenneth C. Cancellara
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Klondike Cat by Julie Lawson
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Little Rascals by Leonard Maltin
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
More Flanimals by Ricky Gervais
Mr McGratt and the Ornery Cat by Marilyn Helmer
My Guy by Sarah Weeks
Pass It Down by Leonard S. Marcus
Pure by Terra Elan McVoy
The Quest for Merlin's Map (The Jumper Chronicles) by W. C. Peever
Pure by Terra Elan McVoy
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine by Ann Hood
Texas Tomboy by Lois Lenski
Thief of Shadows by Fred Chappell
Wildfire by Sarah Micklem

Misc Thoughts:
In Search of Manning Coles

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

The Emergence of Maps in Libraries: 10/12/10

cover art

Walter William Ristow had a long career as a map librarian and cartographer. He worked as the head of the map divisions at the New York Public Library and later at the Library of Congress. Over the course of his career he wrote a number of articles on the challenges of working with maps in a library setting and aspects of cartography (Martin, 2006).

Many of those articles were reprinted in The Emergence of Maps in Libraries. I came across the book as a reference in Integrating Geographic Information Systems into Library Services: A Guide for Academic Libraries by John Arbresch, Ardis Hanson, Susan Heron and Pete Reehling (2008). I decided to track down a copy of this influential volume as I worked on building a foundation of understanding of how map keeping, cartography and geographic information services (GIS) come together under the library and information science heading.

Originally for my GIS term paper I was planning to write a basic history of the field and my experience using it when I worked briefly for the Census earlier this year. The Emergence of Maps in Libraries while not specifically about GIS save for a few early discussions about automated cartography, the cataloguing of maps and the scanning of map data, was pivotal for my understanding the seeds of GIS and why it remains so closely tied to library science.

What I didn't expect when I read the book was the great range of dates included in the book. The earliest articles are from the late 1940s and they go all the way through to the late 1970s. The book contains moments of contradiction, where in early articles Ristow says something can't, won't or shouldn't be done because it's too expensive, too difficult, not useful enough or just plain impractical. Then the next article, or one shortly thereafter will address the same problem and talk about how much easier the newer, cheaper technology is making the process of addressing the problem and providing solutions to researchers.

I loved how the librarian side of Ristow comes through in the inclusions of these contradictory articles. He demonstrates how he and his colleagues learned and adapted with technology.


Abresch, J., Hanson, A., Heron, S., & Reehling, P. (2008) Integrating geographic information systems into library services: A guide for academic libraries. Hershey, New York: Information Science Publishing

Martin, D. (2006, April 17). Walter Ristow dies at 97; Populist curator of maps. The New York Times.

Comments (0)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis