Managing Scholarly Outputs in a Proprietary Platform: Exploring the Implications of Esri Story Maps for Spatial Digital Humanities Preservation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Spatial digital humanities projects often struggle with sustainability and preservation. Interactive, engaging websites require consistent maintenance to function well. As a result, projects rise and fall with grant cycles while technical staff face an ever-increasing portfolio of projects to maintain. For the past decade, Esri’s Story Maps platform has offered a way to combine maps, text, images, and other multimedia with relatively little technical overhead for the end user. This has had substantial influence on spatial digital humanities, expanding opportunities for a wide range of scholars and organizations to share archival research publicly. The challenge of preserving this work looms large, however, as the retirement date for the “classic” version of the platform approaches. Based on an effort at the University of Minnesota to contact authors for hundreds of public-facing story maps, this paper reflects on the difficulty of managing scholarly outputs in a system not primarily designed for that purpose and of representing web-based work within the library record. More broadly it asks, what does it mean for spatial digital humanities that so much scholarship is hosted and organized within one proprietary platform?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-21
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Map and Geography Libraries
Volume19
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Spatial digital humanities
  • preservation
  • story maps

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