Monday, February 9, 2009

Gliffy, Or How I Learned To Love A Visual Organizer

I love to organize, design and map physical spaces! My need for organization recently led me to create a few maps of the CFL to assist library users in finding physical items housed in the library. Some might say creating maps for a two floor library amounts to overkill, but i noticed a need. Personally, I hate wandering around aimlessly while looking for something despite a nagging feeling I should ask for help. I often wish signs and maps were more abundant for those of us who want to look then ask.

In addition to serving a utilitarian purpose, my endeavour was a first step to creating a map similar to the one for the Lucy Scribner Library. The minimal front page of the LSL map soon discloses an interactive smorgasbord as users delve into the multifaceted finding aid, a resource for locating collections and
connections to additional material. This is truly the Rolls Royce of library finding aids. This is a map for the true library nerd.

All of the above leads me to a cool new tool I found after creating my library maps in Microsoft's Word program, an application called Gliffy that allows users to create floor plans, flow carts and network diagrams in a simple to use online format. Gliffy certainly isn't revolutionary if you are adept at using Word or Paint for simple maps, charts and diagrams, but it does offer some interesting and easy to use features that expand on tools available in Microsoft Office products. The image uploader, collaboration tools similar to Google Docs and limitless proportions are very helpful. I also like the ability to import various shapes, common images for networking diagrams and an interactive toolbar. The program is free and does not entail any software downloading or storage on your computer. If I would of found Gliffy earlier I probably would of saved myself some time and made a more interesting map. I'll redo the maps soon using Gliffy.

Copper Square Letter D letter E Mobile 013109 087 letter i G N

For those looking for inspiration, this link leads to a LibrayThing collection including books in the CFL chosen because of their connection to design. The selection process may seem haphazard and some of these may not be obtainable from online sources, however, one of the rationales, in my opinion, for a library should be the joy of browsing, of finding items that may be past their prime or hard to find.

The picture of Giles the librarian from Buffy The Vampire Slayer is completely arbitrary and has no real connection to this entry except to illustrate the connection between my status as a male librarian and Giles fan. Photo courtesy of 2010: A Book Odyssey.

The DESIGN logo was made using Spell With Flickr. A cool tool you should check out.

- Christopher Bishop

1 comment:

Debi said...

Thanks for the mention of Gliffy. We appreciate the compliments and feedback! Let us know if there are other features you'd like to see (such as measurement in inches? see our issue for this here:

debik at gliffy dot com