Carto is definitely easier to use than other GIS tools like ArcGIS which I appreciated since my previous experience with GIS mapping has been limited to Google Maps, Google Fusion, and StoryMap. However, it is still more complex than other tools I have used so I appreciated the step-by-step guide directions on the course guide. The Carto website also has excellent and extensive guides to help users create and customize maps. Despite the lower threshold for entry, users still need some prior knowledge in dealing with GIS data. They must know that the datasets they use for the maps must be made of clean, tidy data that can be read by the tool. Although Carto began as a recent start-up, it sounds like they have sufficient funding to maintain and update the tool.
I’ve attached a handout I created for using Carto as a first-time user. The background information and steps are based on information from their website including online guides, online tech pieces, and my own experience as a first-time user of the service.
- What features of the digital objects does the metadata describe?
Looking at this example, the metadata describes
- Assigned title
- Subjects (taken from LOC, DPLA)
- The creator who made the potholder
- A short description about the item
- The date it was created
- I included myself as a contributor as the one who ordered the potholder and selected the fabric combination.
- Materials that the potholder is made of
- I also included a link to the website I used to order the potholder.
- In addition to the subjects, I added tags for less formal language.
- What features does it not describe?
- I did not include metadata photograph of the items beyond an assigned title. In retrospect, I could have included metadata about the camera settings.
- What questions does the metadata allow you to ask?
- For an object like this, one of the most important things for me it to know about what the object is made of. Therefore I included the materials used to make the items, especially the potholders which I had more information about. On this note, the metadata is only as good as the information you have about the object. I did not know as much about the materials of the containers so I could not include detailed information.
- The consistent subjects/subject headings and tags make it easier to find similar items. The metadata lets you ask questions about these connections.
- What questions does it not allow you to ask?
- The metadata is still part of a two-dimensional representation of the item. The tactile experience of handling the item shows things you cannot see in the metadata. The metadata does not express how the item feels when you touch it or how it smells when you hold it.