My Line

I am from the colorful ceramic fishbowl

which builds a warm home for the lovely fish,

but makes me feel cold when I touch it with my hands.




I really enjoyed every minute in this Wednesday class. It’s so amazing that we can finally meet our AUM buddies. To be honest, I was a little nervous and confused what would happen and what I should do in the class. We have been collaborating and communicating through our blog postings for the whole semester, but we have never met each other face to face.

As soon as I stepped into our classroom, a wind of cheer blew on my face. I had no clue why the atmosphere in the classroom made me feel so natural and comfortable as if we were close friends for a long time. We were grouped randomly into different tables and kept talking, discussing, and sharing. It’s so great to listen to the map author to explain the meaningful map. Every statement makes sense, and I surprisingly found that I can memorize every detail she mentioned because I felt a strong connection among the map and its makers. Map is lying since there is no way to objectively present everything in a limited map. However, map is telling the truth because it conveys maker’s perceptions and emotion. For me, at least, it’s so impressive to view a map from two different perspectives at the same time.

We are making maps and are mapped by extraordinary friendship and connection. This great and unforgettable experience will stay in my memory.


OCU Library Map

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Detailed version of my OCU Library Map

This is an Oklahoma City University Library Map. It is made of paper and transparencies and decorated by colored pencils and pen. The original purpose is to introduce OCU’s library and help readers experience more about the culture of OCU and Oklahoma City. As a gift to Auburn University Montgomery students, I hope this map will help them view and remember our library as a specific place rather than a random one that they have visited. The cover of the map looks like a book which makes readers receive it as a good-looking gift and emphasizes that it is about a library so that readers can well prepare for what they will see when opening this “book”.

There are two layers in the actual map. The first layer is a regular library map in perspective drawings, including eight stars which are placed where I strongly recommend to visit. These yellow stars symbolize OCU’s star culture — the general use of star in OCU. The most well-known landmark in OCU is the Gold Star Memorial Building, the law library, where is placed a gold star on the top; our student card is called star card; one kind of money in our student card is named star cash. The second one is a transparency with several real-life pictures followed by short descriptions of these pictures.  Readers can see the back of the second layer without pictures on the cover and the first layer as soon as they open the map. However, the front of the second layer won’t appear until readers flip it over from the cover. These settings are designed on purpose. Pictures are not small. If they are put with the map on the same layer, readers will feel uncomfortably crowded or these pictures will probably cover the map. What’s more, though I don’t know either who will finally receive my map or what he/she likes, I hope that person will enjoy reading and using this map. For those who favor exploration, they can directly look for starred places after reading the map in the first layer and use the second one as a check for whether they reach the correct places. For those who love researching before taking action, they can read information on the second layer as a review and guide to decide whether they should visit a place or not.

I chose OCU’s library for three reasons. First, it’s a meaningful place where we have shared our ideas and experience for a whole semester. Second, it’s the first place where our AUM friends will meet with us. In other words, they will definitely go here, and this map will be helpful. Third, I have worked in the library for a long time, so I am much more familiar with it than most other places on campus.

Traditionally, a library is a place to study, study, and study. However, the truth is that there are lots of interesting things here except for books and studying. The starred places in this map are about secret spots and exploration of the library, OCU and Oklahoma City. With this library map, readers can explore the library from a totally different perspective, breaking the stereotype in their minds. This perfectly matches one of our class’s goals—how to be an explorer of the world. For me, it’s an interesting experience to try to explore a familiar place from a visitor’s standpoint. It gives me a great opportunity to examine how much I really know about the library and attain fresh ideas.

This map is generalized definitely. Since the AUM readers have no need to search for books or know specific study locations, aggregation is used to assign two color lumps to replace overwhelming symbols of chairs, tables, and shelves. Green stands for study areas, and purple represents bookshelves. Arrangements of facilities in different rooms are eliminated because they are irrelevant. Apparently, advertising is the second visual strategy in the map. For instance, there are eight total stars, drawing readers’ attention to the places that I strongly recommend them to visit. From this map, readers will not know of other attractive features in the library, which are principal “competitors” to places I have highlighted.

To read comment from the receiver, The Inane Laugh, see the following link: Exploring OCU’s Library.


Dulaney-Browne Library came to my mind first when I was wondering which place would be my decent “invisible city.” It’s a meaningful place where we have shared our amazing ideas and experience this whole semester as well as we will first meet our AUM fellows; it’s familiar place where I have worked for a long time.

Though I quickly decided to present the library, a big problem appeared. What should I show in my map? Apparently, AUM students will not spend a lot of time walking around the library after our class hour. But I want them to view and remember OCU’s library as a specific place instead of a random one they have visited. I hope they can experience a little bit more the culture of OCU and OKC. To be honest, OCU library is not gorgeous enough to impress them in such a short time. They are visitors not students here so that it’s useless to show where printers, book shelves, and study area are. What I am going to do is to show something interesting and extraordinary in the library to attract AUM students’ attention and emotional connection, using generalization and advertising as the distinctive strategies.

Since these attractive objects are in different floors, I am figuring out how to draw all these floors in my maps. Till now, I try to provide the layouts of floors connected by elevators and stairs. Generally, there are three layers in the maps. I will highlight or started spots I recommend to visit in the first layer, provide descriptions and photos in the second layer, and suggest the best route of walking through in the third layer. The second and third layers will use transparencies.

All basic elements are collected, but I still keep brainstorming and revising my final step–how to put them together well. I am looking forward what it will look like at last.


My core idea of my analysis is to recapture our attention  to common maps that we come across but don’t read carefully in daily life. Then go deep to analyze and appreciate how meaningful they actual are. I focus on this topic because it’s so fantastic to observe a tiny thing and find out a fundamental and important meaning behind it. This dramatic contract makes me feel exciting. To be honest, I am not excellent enough to translate every idea and thought in my mind to English words. What I can do is to stretch myself as much as possible to make you understand what I am talking about. Therefore, our communication will much more make sense in a relatively simple topic. In my another post, I mentioned Rodin’s famous saying, “beauty is everywhere. It is not she that is lacking to our eye, but our eyes which fail to perceive her.” Much the same can be talked about common objects. Once we can view a simple thing from different perspective, it will be not longer simple and around by a ring of light.

I am using two maps as juxtapositions to help me illustrate my analysis, which begins with comparing the basic differences between each map, analyzing how similar visual strategies they utilized, and ending up with evaluating the effect of each map.  The first draft has already finished, and there are so much rooms to make progress.



To be honest, I was shocked by the map about Facebook in My Running Thoughts’ post. Shown on the login page of Facebook, it’s one the most familiar things I can see every day, but I had never viewed it as a map. Instead, it was just a picture and decoration in my eyes. I was astonished by my thought and by my ignorance of common maps in my daily life. It lights me up that it may be incredibly interesting if I can analyze maps we can easily access but do not go deep to interpret every day. As a result, I ended up picking these two maps. The first map is a direction to a bakery café, representing maps we often look at and use when check out a spot; the second one is a map of the connected world.

Both of them are not only familiar and common to us, but also easy to read. There are only three major colors in each map that avoid the overwhelming color and take the advantage of attraction. It’s obvious that these maps are advertising, but they are conveyed in totally different way. The cafe map struggles to use direction as brief and clear  as possible to guide the readers to its specific location. On the contrary, the Facebook map draws several lines to blur readers to generalize that Facebook users are everywhere. In short, it is hiding where it exactly is.



I found this map when casually skimming through descriptions of bakery cafes in New York City. But surprisingly, I cannot find it in the official website of this cafe.

Although the mapmaker is ambiguous, this map is obviously used to show the location of a bakery cafe. Generally, the audience includes consumers who intend to buy food and coffee from the café. On this map, only two streets are shown, which is extremely limited information. This map’s audience is assumed to have adequate background information about New York City. Adults generally prefer more subtle and pastel colors (170). On the café map, crimson, white, and dark yellow are the three main and subtle colors, which are more appealing to adults than to children. Therefore, its target audience should be adults who might visit a café in Manhattan.

Interestingly, Monmonier said “women favored red over blue and yellow over orange” (170). I have to agree that the smiling face easily steals most of my attention away by using deep yellow as the face color to mark the location of the bakery cafe. At the same time, the usage of a red background also appears to me. Monmonier stated that readers expect maps with richly contrasting hues (163) and maps can benefit from these contrasting hues (167). The gentle crimson makes me feel comfortable and fulfills my expectation with a strong contrast with white (the color of each road). Also, the simultaneous contrast between red and white makes white roads and words seem lighter and stand out (172). The audience can easily recognize everything on the map at first glance.



Work Cited

Monmonier, Mark S. How to Lie with Maps. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1996. Print.