Creating a Press Influence Map

What is an Influence Map and Why Should We Create One?

One of the most significant aspects of any university press is the impact it has on the world around us. University presses shine an incredible light on their regional communities; prestigious disciplinary lists reach out to scholars across the globe; and institutional collaborations, translations, prizes, and events can carry the name of a university and its press almost anywhere.

At AAUP we talk about this impact all the time — wouldn't it be great to visualize it?

The Influence Mapping Project provides a tool for just that. Using Google's My Maps and the Press Influence Map Iconographic Key, we encourage presses to create a map of their footprint in the world.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to your map(s), and we will add it to the AAUP Members Map.


What to Display in an Influence Map

Presses will have an embarrassment of riches when approaching this project. With 40, 50, 130+ years of publishing history, a press could spend weeks filling a map with pointers to all its authors, works, and milestones—carpeting the globe with pushpins. Initially wowing, that density could quickly become overwhelming for any interested map viewer. There are many more digestible stories your map—or maps—can tell.

First, think about the audience(s) for your Map. Will you use it on your website as part of a general public relations kit? Will it provide material for meetings with university administrators and press boards? Is it going to be part of your regional and community marketing strategy? Could it be used for author acquisition?

Here are some thematic possibilities:

Showcasing the Latest Season or Year

Focusing on the latest season or year is a popular concept for a Press Influence Map, one that can tell a simple, arresting story to readers, booksellers, authors, and a campus community. 


  • Temple University Press designed an extremely effective map to showcase the influence of the Press’s work in a single year (2012): the map pins illustrate where authors are from, what places are studied in the titles, where rights have been licensed, and the cities around the world where a 2012 book had been purchased. Explore the Temple Influence Map

  • Melissa Pitts and Valerie Nair of the University of British Columbia Press originated the Influence Maps project with a map of UBC Press’s 2011-12 publishing season. In addition to plotting out author and subject locations, the map spotlighted awards won and major events. Explore the UBC Press Influence Map

Showcase a Single List

This kind of map is a useful tool for acquisitions, disciplinary marketing, or fundraising. 


Follow One Title Around the World

What are geographies of a single title? Some fictional examples to get you thinking…

  • An author was born in Syria, raised in Toronto, and teaches in Texas. The book won an award from a society based in New York, and was reviewed in the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and the TLS. It’s been translated in France, Japan, Brazil, and South Korea; and is distributed in English on 6 continents. The author has given book talks in Zurich, Amsterdam, Paris, Detroit, Lincoln, Madison, and Jacksonville. According to WorldCat, it can be found in research libraries across the globe.

  • The author was born two counties away, was an undergraduate at your institution, attended grad school in the state’s largest metropolis, and returned to teach at a near-by liberal arts college. The book tells the history of a major local landmark, based on research at several archives in the region. Readings are being held at the site, and at bookstores and libraries around town.

  • The journal is subscribed to by university and research libraries many international universities. The editorial board includes top faculty from 9 institutions, and the latest issue published the work of faculty at 13 others, covering topics that span the globe.

Show Your Regional Impact

Presses with strong regional lists and a community mission can build focused maps that explore their deep local connections to people, places, historical events, cuisines, and local organizations and businesses.

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Maps can tell any number of stories—and each member of AAUP has unique stories that showcase their influence on the world. Whatever the inspiration of your Influence Map, please share it!


Building Your Map

Sign In to Google

You will need a Google account to create and save an Influence Map. If you don't have one, you can make an account here. If you already have one, sign in to and select "Create a New Map."

Title and Describe the Map


For most purposes, "[Press Name] Influence Map" will be sufficient, but you may want to add an extra descriptor, such as “[Press Name] Food Studies” or “[Press Name] Fall 2015 Books."


This should be a description of the Influence Map, rather than a general Press description. Briefly describe the parameters/focus of your influence map so that viewers know what they are seeing. Examples include:

Past Year or Season: "Press XW spans the globe in the subjects and authors we publish and the readers we touch. In just one year, our work has reached from [Hometown] to [Faraway Place]. This 2012 Influence Map tells our story. See the Influence Map Iconographic Key for an explanation of symbols."

Regional Focus: "Press X has a longstanding commitment to [our region]. This map shows key locations of our authors, the subjects of our books [and journals], recent and forthcoming events around the area, and where our books can be found. See the Influence Map Iconographic Key for an explanation of symbols."

Global footprint: "Press Y has a worldwide presence, taking the name of our [university] to every corner of the globe. This map shows our reach, indicating where our authors are from, the subjects covered in our publications, where our books have been translated and made available, and where events and symposia with our books and authors have recently been held. See the Influence Map Iconographic Key for an explanation of symbols."

Regional and Global: "Press Z has a strong regional commitment and a global reach. We invite you to zoom in on [region/state] to see the depth of our work with X's community; or zoom out to see how far we carry the name of [institution]. See the Influence Map Iconographic Key for an explanation of symbols."

Iconographic Key

By the time you've written the title and description, you'll know what points of interest you want the Map to include. Use the Press Influence Map Iconographic Key, below, to label your selected places under different categories (authors, subjects, events, etc.). There's only one required item for a Press Influence Map—please use the Press Home icon to mark the Press's location.

Note: A public version of this key will reside here as a reference for viewers of any Press Influence Map. Please link to it from, or embed it in, your Map Description. For presses maintaining an older Influence Map, the original 2012 key can be found here.

Your Press (Gold Home)YOUR PRESS

Subjects (Red) SUBJECTS (Geographic tags related to the subjects of books, series, journals, etc.)

Authors (Yellow)AUTHORS (Author's institutions, hometowns, etc.)

Institutional Affiliations (Purple)INSTITUTIONAL AFFILIATIONS (Co-publishers, collaborations, etc.)

Recent and Forthcoming Events (Blue) RECENT/FORTHCOMING EVENTS (Readings, lectures, academic conferences, etc.)

Milestones and Accolades (Green) MILESTONES AND ACCOLADES (Prizes, significant events, important reviews or media attention, etc. Any Nobel prize-winners on your list? Put a pin in Stockholm!; Did Thailand ban one of your books? Highlight Bangkok.)

Where Books Are Translated (Brown) WHERE BOOKS ARE TRANSLATED

Where Books Are Available (Orange) WHERE BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE (You might highlight countries where books have been sold or distributed; on a regional influence map, you might highlight bookstores in the state that carry your books.)

Adding a Layer (Category)

You will want to use a new layer in your map for each of the above categories. This will help organize the map pins so viewers can toggle categories on or off.

  • Select "Untitled Layer" to rename the layer to whichever category you are entering first, such as SUBJECTS.

  • When you are finished with the category and layer, select "Add Layer" in the left sidebar to start a new one (like AUTHORS).

Adding a Point of Interest (Pin)

  • Search for the location you would like to pin.

  • Select "Add to Map."

  • Select the pin again and choose the pencil icon ("Edit") to add any relevant information to the listing. This may include links.

  • To add a picture to a pin, choose the camera icon (you can search for an image or use a specific URL).

  • When you are done editing a pin, click "Save" at the bottom of the pin edit window.

  • Go back to 'My Places' on the left hand side.

  • Hover over the pin you created and choose the paint can icon to edit the pin iconography.

  • Select the color and pin shape (using "More Icons" when necessary) that depicts the type of info in that layer

  • Repeat for all pins in a layer. When done with a layer, select "Add Layer" in the sidebar to start a new set of pins.

  • If you are done working on your map, zoom the map to fit all of your information in view.

  • Select the "..." icon next to "Share" in the sidebar and choose "Set Default View."

How Long Does Building a Map Take?

The University of Illinois Press set this project in 2012 for a student worker, who worked on a Spring 2012 season map for two 2-hour shifts. The first hour was spent getting familiar with Google Maps, the Influence Map Instructions, and learning how to insert and label a pin. Building the seasonal map then took between 2-3 hours, but mileage may vary. The two factors that will most affect the time it takes are 1) how much research is needed to tell the story you want; and 2) how many pins need to be plotted.

Note: If you choose to print a map for reference, be warned that Google Maps will print all the associated materials, including the text for all the pins—which may run to dozens of pages.

Publishing Your Map

  • When your map is completed and saved, select "Share" in the left sidebar.
  • Under 'Who Had Access,' select "Change..."
  • Enable "On - public on the web."
  • Select "Save."

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  (found at the top of the "Share" menu) and also feel free to post your creation on your on website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed—far and wide!

To embed your map, select the "..." icon next to "Share" in the sidebar and choose "Embed on my site." Copy the HTML code and place in your webpage.