A very good friend of mine has set up a new mapping tool called Mappit and I’ve been having a play around with it. It’s set up to allow you to create maps of anything you like, and to be completely open for collaborative work. It ties in to ideas of community engagement, environmental awareness, and network communications and is therefore well hip and cool.
More relevantly, I’ve used it to map every indie record shop in Scotland. I don’t expect the map to be perfect, but that’s where the collaborative part comes in – I’d love for others to be able to add their corrections and fill in details about each of the shops. I’d be even more chuffed if it can be replicated or expanded to include the rest of the UK, or even the rest of the world.
The info for the list of record stores has actually come a long way. A couple of years ago I did a study on record shops in Scotland as part of my Master’s thesis in Music Industries at the University of Glasgow. I found that between 2003 and 2013 the number of shops dropped from 119 to just 54. At that time only 15 of the 54 were independently owned and stocked new releases as a significant part of their business. It’s been a muddy experience updating the list. Sadly a fair number of shops appear to have closed, but I’m happy to see that the downward trend appears to have slowed somewhat. I have included 30+ shops at the moment, not all of which are focused on new releases but all are independently owned. I’m fairly certain all of these are currently open for business (though I haven’t called them all to check).
I’d be well chuffed if you’d like to contribute to the map and if you’d share it around. Check out Mappit.net too – it’s a labour of love for Alex, and he’s wonderful to boot. He has a sister site running at the moment that’s progressively geo-locating every book ever written, which is incredible fun to play with. The last time I looked it had just short of 65,000 books, and it’s barely started.