The University of Toronto Map & Data Library (MDL) is located on the 5th floor of Robarts Library.
Map & Data Library staff are available during reference hours in-person (for map or map-scanned questions only, during the pandemic) or by phone, or available by email via our contact form to assist with:
Finding Data & Maps
Although you may be collecting or generating a large amount of your own research data, there are times when you may be searching for maps and datasets to use in your research. This could be anything from a georeferenced historical map to microdata containing responses from a government-conducted survey. MDL staff can help you locate datasets available both in our extensive collection and elsewhere.
Often, the first step when working with data is to clean or wrangle it. This can involve normalizing the data by format or unit of measurement, reshaping rows and columns, converting files to different file formats, etc. For large datasets, researchers turn to tools, such as OpenRefine or programming languages, such as R, to assist in this task. MDL staff can give you advice and software support to help you with cleaning your data.
Data visualizations are graphical or pictorial representations of data, used for exploration, sense-making, and communication. Researchers are looking for techniques and tools to effectively visualize their data to gain new insights and share that with others. MDL staff can help through advice on best practices and software. For more information on Data Visualization and how we can help, consult our Data Visualization Guide.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other geospatial tools integrate hardware and software, and allow one to capture, store, query, analyze, process, and visualize geographic data. MDL staff can help you with GIS, from finding and creating geospatial data, to working with GIS tools.
Research Data Management
Research data management involves dealing with data throughout the research data lifecycle, from creating data management plans, through storing data securely, to archiving and preservation. MDL staff can help you through this process. For more information, consult the Research Data Management Guide.
Researchers often need to use statistical methods and tools in their research. MDL staff can help you select appropriate statistical methods, interpret results, and use statistical software, such as SPSS, Stata, or R.
In addition to one-on-one support, we provide a number of workshops on all of these topics and a range of online tutorials to help you learn on your own.
Text and Data Mining (TDM)
Text and Data Mining or TDM is a broad term used to describe the automated process of selecting and analyzing large amounts of text or data to find new patterns, relationships, and insights. Many activities can fall under this umbrella, such as performing text analysis on a corpus of digitized books, or citation analysis on a subset of bibliometric data, and much more. The library subscribes to a number of tools that support TDM, and MDL staff can help you get started. For more information consult our Text and Data Mining Tools Overview page.
The Map & Data Library also holds extensive collections that support curriculum and research needs across the University of Toronto's three campuses. Map & GIS collections include:
250,000+ maps (paper & digital) - search our scanned maps only, or our complete collection (library catalogue)
Hundreds of thousands of air photos (paper & digital)
16,000+ atlases and books (gazetters, bibliographies, cartography materials)
Hundreds of geospatial datasets - search geospatial data
Hundreds of numeric and statistical datasets - search numeric data.
The Map & Atlas Collection is open to all U of T students, faculty & staff, as well as members of the general public. The geospatial and statistical data collections & software are not available to the public (U of T students, staff, & faculty only).