The Olive Tree
Thoreau-Wabankai Map: Equal Cartographic Voice
Henry David Thoreau was not just another Maine tourist. The essays Thoreau wrote about his journeys and experiences in the Maine woods reflect a deep understanding of the spiritual importance of wilderness. Thanks to a collaboration between the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Committee, Maine Woods Forever, and the University of Maine Press, a new generation of travelers can follow in the footsteps of the renown naturalist with the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Map and Guide.
The public learned more about this project on Wednesday, February 27, when
UMaine cartographer Michael Hermann and Penobscot Nation Tribal Historian James
Francis visited Fogler Library. Held in Special Collections,"The Process of Map
Design: equal cartographic voice" was an opportunity to understand more about
the trails taken by Thoreau and the Penobscot Indian guides who accompanied him,
as well as the unique collaborative process that led to the map's creation.
Previous maps simply drew a line plotting Thoreau's route. Hermann created a map that locates his narrative within the landscape. The reader literally 'reads' the map as they follow the routes and add Thoreau's words. Hermann says, "It is a genre known as mapping narrative. This piece developed into an example of ethical mapping concerning the restoration of native voice."
Because Thoreau's words dominated the map, Hermann was challenged to bring a
Native voice to the project. His work with James Frances, Penobscot Tribal
Historian, broadened the scope of the map to include Penobscot place names in
addition to a selection of Thoreau's quotes specific to his Indian guides.
Francis reflects, "One of Thoreau's biggest contributions to Penobscot history
was the documentation of Penobscot place names." He notes, "Thoreau once wrote
in his journals that 'the Indian language reveals another wholly new life to
us.' By having contact with Penobscot men, Thoreau discovered a new, more
informed view of Native Americans, moving from his naïve assumptions to an
understanding that included respect and reverence."
Copies of the map were available for purchase at the event. For more information about the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Map and Guide, visit: http://www.thoreauwabanakitrail.org/trail-map.html
Creator of LibraryThing.com visits Fogler Library
What do you do in Maine with a graduate degree in Greek and Latin studies? Well, in the case of Tim Spalding, who also honed skills as a web developer and publisher, you launch www.LibraryThing.com. Originally created as a way for Spalding to catalog his own library, he did not realize the site—launched in August of 2005—would begin to garner national attention, including recent articles in The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Wall Street Journal. Spalding was also named one of the year’s “Movers and Shakers” by Library Journal.
Spalding spoke about LibraryThing and all of its recent developments when he visited Fogler Library on April 1. Spalding’s presentation was co-sponsored by the Friends of Fogler Library, the UMaine Department of English, and the New Media Program.
Based in Portland, Maine, LibraryThing is an online service that allows booklovers to create catalogs of their own libraries that can be accessed from any location with an internet connection. Users can add books by entering titles, authors, or ISBN numbers. LibraryThing then searches the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, the British Library, and over 250 world libraries for cataloging information about the book. The site can generate recommendations for future reading based on individual library selections. There is also an option of joining a social space to connect to other people with similar libraries. Some have called it the “MySpace” or “Facebook” for books.
Recently, the site added a new “Local” section which provides a map of literary venues wherever you live, be it Bangor or Paris. Tim Spalding explains within the site’s blog, “LibraryThing Local is a handy reference, but it’s also interactive. You can show off your favorite bookstores and libraries (eg., mine include the Harvard Bookstore, Shakespeare and Company and the Boston Athenaeum) and keep track of interesting events. Then you can find out who else loves the places you do, and who else is going to events.”
"What I love about Tim's project with LibraryThing," says Associate Professor of English~Steve Evans, "is that it demonstrates that bibliophiles need not be technophobes. Basically it takes the culture of reading and book collecting and gives it the digital platform it deserves: one that enriches the literacy not just of individual readers, but of whole communities. Some of these already existed, while some are emerging within and because of the new media context. These communities now have a new instrument for connecting with one another on the basis of a shared passion for literature. I've already put more than a thousand books of poetry from my own collection on-line, and added the UMaine New Writing Series to the new ‘local’ feature. Having Tim Spalding visit the UMaine campus offers us an great opportunity for exploring the future of literacy in the digital world."
Spalding’s presentation was held in the Special Collections Department. Visit LibraryThing at: http://www.librarything.com/
Edith Patch Earth Day Celebration
This annual event is a collaboration with the Friends of Dr. Edith Marion Patch. This year’s focus was on the students in the Women is Science group, who represent the future of the Patch tradition. Poster sessions and presentations by grad and undergrad science majors (provided) guests with a fascinating and informative look at current science research projects. An extensive selection of appetizers prepared by the Friends of Edith Patch from recipes in the Patch Cookbook.
Home | Olive Tree | Fall 2008 Issue