Carnegie Mellon University
Gunderman_JMGL_2021_PopCulture.pdf (134.23 kB)

Developing Lesson Plans for Teaching Spatial Data Management in Academic Libraries through a Lens of Popular Culture

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-07-20, 15:21 authored by Hannah GundermanHannah Gunderman
Understanding data management in spatial data science is fundamentally important when ensuring a project’s data is appropriately collected, analyzed, stored, and communicated. However, these concepts are often introduced to learners through compliance (i.e., we do this because we are required to or it is the right thing to do), and as a result can mean learning experiences around spatial data management are viewed less than enthusiastically. Academic libraries are places where engaging learning experiences around spatial data management can be explored and implemented through unique pedagogical techniques. For example, activities teaching spatial data management in academic libraries through a popular culture lens can make these topics more approachable and reduce learning barriers. In this paper, I present three lesson plans for academic librarians which approach teaching spatial data management through popular culture. The following concepts are represented: (1) understanding spatial metadata through Dungeons & Dragons; (2) learning to write good documentation through drawing Pokémon; and (3) developing good file naming habits with 1980s album covers. Alongside the lesson plans, I provide a narrative outlining why popular culture pedagogy is a useful technique to spatial data management education to increase the inclusivity and engagement around geospatial learning experiences in academic libraries.

The associated lesson plans are also available on KiltHub at

This is the accepted version of the manuscript published in July 2021 by the Journal of Map and Geography Libraries.


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This item conforms with the Journal of Map and Geography Libraries Open Access Pathway A which allows for publication of the accepted version of the manuscript in an institutional repository after the article has been published, with the published source acknowledged and link to the publisher version provided. More information on this policy can be found at:



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