Mapping citations

Bruno Buccalon, Graduate Student, Department of History

How to visualize bibliographical data in a digital mapping platform? The challenges in georeferencing texts are many, from identifying place names and spatial metaphors to choosing the adequate data model for representing complexity. On the one hand, manual approaches requiring intimacy with texts are labor-intensive and can lead to inaccurate data. On the other hand, automated methods are computationally complex and can lead to an excess of data. There should be a simple process for geotagging bibliography aiming at non-specialists interested in further readings about a particular area. That is what I want to address.

This project aims to provide an easy way for geotagging bibliographical data. My goal is to put citations on the map, so people interested in finding more about a subject can access a spatially-aware bibliography. It consists of a simple web application that connects two online services: the citation management system Zotero and the mapping platform Mapbox. The goal is to offer a minimal solution for any digital mapping project interested in displaying references for academic sources and further readings.

A prototype of this idea will be developed during the summer of 2021, using the NextJS framework and its API routes, the Zotero API Client, and the Mapbox Dataset API. The web application will connect a Zotero group library with a Mapbox dataset, providing a simple user interface for adding points to a map and an intuitive API endpoint for data consumption. After validating the method, the project can be extended to encompass geocoding of natural language.