GIS and Spatial Sciences

at USC Libraries

Andy Rutkowski


Contact me for a research consultation:

email for an appointment


Research flows and data life cycle 

1. research question / proposal

2. review of literature / data

3. offer an answer (report, essay, etc.)

Life Cycle models:
DataOne - 








Primary vs Secondary vs Teriatry sources


direct, first-hand, closeness to an event or thing 


interpretation or analysis of a primary or secondary source. good way of getting back to a primary source.


overview, summary, encyclopedia, wikipedia, textbooks, etc. 
Census data extracted from cenus website
Article or book that discusses and uses that census data
Tertiary: Wikepedia entry for the US Census







Use advanced search to narrow / broaden your results

Click on full text

and get the article from a database.


Depending on which one you choose your article may or may not contain diagrams and images. Important for spatial research!

sharing options!

Sign in and save!

Google Scholar

change settings in order to link to USC Libraries  

  • click on library links
  • search for university of southern california
  • check off University of Southern California - Find it @ USC
  • save


if you selected USC you will see the Find it @ USC link for available articles


Thoughts on Finding Data

  • Topic of interest?

  • Ideal dataset(s)?

  • Source of dataset(s)?

  • Spatial Scale?

  • Temporal Scale?

  • Primary or Secondary data?

  • Raster or Vector data model?

  • Analytic procedures?

Access to USC subscription databases and other data sources

Social Explorer
Courses - access core geospatial datasets online

your data is only as good as the metadata

  • where did you get it
  • how it was collected
  • dates
  • coverage
  • etc

Practice good metadata

  • describe the data that you download in a text document
  • write out any relevant information about it
  • if you change your data say what you did
  • name your data files something meaningful
  • with each change update filenames and offer description

Los Angeles data with a great metadata completion status - check out the beta site!



Ask a Librarian 

Using the USC Libraries for GIS Research

By Andy Rutkowski

Using the USC Libraries for GIS Research

This slide deck provides information about how to use USC Libraries for doing GIS and spatial research. Information here will be updated regularly to reflect new resources and tools. Current as of 10/2/2017.

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