Recently I needed to check – once again – one of the OLD SEMINAL PAPERS. These happens quite often, just to realise that little new of substance has been invented for a very long time (I should change professions and go to mining, maybe I will at least FIND something )…

Anyway, I have been hunting for the 1978 paper of David Sinton on thematic mapping. As always, my search started at Google Scholar:

The reference provided pointed to this source:

Sinton, D. (1978). The inherent structure of information as a constraint to analysis: Mapped thematic data as a case study. Harvard papers on geographic information systems, 6, 1-17.

Now, I know that this resource has been cited in a multitude of manners – never trust the autogenerated references, so I checked a few of the citations from the citing resources – including from some of the people that actually participated at the symposium (and a cream of the cream of GIS):

The paper was presented at one of the first theoretical GIS conferences ever – the First International Advanced Study Symposium on Topological Data Structures for Geographic Information Systems (1977). The proceedings only appeared a year later (1978), in the Harvard Papers on Geographic Information Systems. I knew this, and I was happy to excuse the year discrepancies.

I checked and the University of Melbourne library indeed holds these volumes, a beautiful part of GIS history. Great occasion to get my hands on one, finally. The volumes are in a remote repository (students are probably no more required to dig deep), and I had to apply for them to be retrieved. I applied only for Volume 6, as I really just needed the Sinton paper.

And I got it. Volume 6 – Spatial Algorithms: Efficiency in Theory and Practice did include some gems, including some of the earliest discussions of Topological data handling (two papers from White, M and White, D) and location –based IR (Burton), but NOT Sinton. I went back and requested the full package – and found Sinton’s paper sitting happily in Volume 7!

None of the papers I could quickly find (I did not do an exhaustive search…) cited this paper properly. It seems, therefore, that hardly anyone has actually READ the thing. Sad, sad world…

The correct reference therefore is, for posterity (endnote export):

Reference Type: Conference Proceedings

Author: D. Sinton

Year of Conference: 1977

Title: The Inherent Structure of Information as a Constraint to Analysis: Mapped Thematic Data as a Case Study

Editor: G. Dutton

Conference Name: First International Advanced Study Symposium on Topological Data Structures for Geographic Information Systems

Conference Location: Dedham, MA

Publisher: Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis

Volume: 7

Number of Volumes: 8

Pages: 1-17

Series Title: Harvard Papers on Geographic Information Systems

Short Title: The Inherent Structure of Information as a Constraint to Analysis: Mapped Thematic Data as a Case Study

Year Published:1978

Note to self – cite volumes properly, it matters – down the track.

Caveat: some authors cite this source as Addision-Weasley. It is possible that this paper has been reprinted. I have not been able to find a single pointer to this, so I doubt so – in particular in the same year…

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