Why MADGIC is your friend

What’s a MADGIC?  It’s an acronym which stands for Maps, Data, and Government Information Centre.  The department is located on the first floor of the Library (that is, one floor down from the main level).  Many of the materials in their collection are important to Women’s and Gender Studies. Two important reasons come to mind:

  1. The information comes from authoritative but non scholarly sources, giving a different perspective on your topic
  2. The information is displayed in formats that complement texty scholarly material, which is helpful for people who learn better from visual material.

Maps

Did you know that we have maps of Middle Earth?  Seriously, though, visual information can supplement well the points that you want to make in your paper.  Maps are excellent ways to present information succinctly.  Here are some examples that might be useful for Women’s and Gender Studies people:

Interactive maps can show change over time.

Data

Researchers must be able to locate large repositories of data, produce their own data, manipulate data, interpret it and use it correctly in their research papers.  People in MADGIC can help you with all of these tasks.  In fact, we now have a specialist data librarian.  Check out the “data” databases.  Here are some data-related resources to consider:

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

MADGIC also has specialists in locating, using, and creating GIS data.  Software such as ArcGIS is available on workstations within the department.  Did you know that GIS Day is coming up on November 16?  An opportunity to learn about all things GIS from vendors, producers and users.

Government Information

Government sources are considered to be  “primary source” information.  Governments are important voices to include in your research because they regulate social interaction on a global scale.  There also are research organizations which monitor government activity and provide their own reports.  These supplement well the scholarly perspective.  Many such reports are released as ebooks and therefore can be found in the Library catalogue (use the “government information” scope, in the drop-down list to the right of the search text area).  Others are found in government information databases, or on government web sites.

Government information is organized very differently from the scholarly literature, and can be difficult to locate.  The Google Custom Search of various government web sites (depending on the filter applied) can be a good place to start.  Check it out!

What else?

I love to follow the MADGIC blog.  It allows me to imagine new ways of viewing and using tools and information from their collections.  It also can highlight important resources for my research.  For instance, recently there was an article on Women, Gender Equality, and Africa.  If you use an RSS reader, you can be alerted when a new article is posted.  Some are quite serious but there is also a lighter side to their research: for instance, the interactive map of the history of pop music.  Try the blog: you will like it.

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