Map libraries across the country have been scanning maps for many years. Scanned maps are distributed to patrons, printed out for patrons and in recent years, are being posted online as digital collections (all depending on copyright restrictions). Many libraries are working with state agencies to scan large topographic map collections while other libraries scan their rare and unique maps as a measure for preservation as well as access. Map librarians struggle to keep track of who’s scanning what and so two professional organizations have created map scanning registries to track major scanning efforts.
- Find out what scanning is being planned, in process, or complete for a particular geographic area
- Head off any duplication of effort
- Provide a resource to use for finding a particular digital image
- Provide a resource for reviewing the various technical parameters used in different projects
The Western Association of Map Libraries has established the WAML Scanning Projects Clearinghouse This Clearinghouse is an effort to create a union list of digitization projects. Its goal is to increase knowledge of and accessibility to scanned items and avoid duplication of efforts.
Online Map Collections
Many libraries are creating beautiful digital map collections. These collections often provide full metadata and zoomable/panable images. Collections are often announced at the Map Librarian discussion list Maps-L.
Here are a few examples of some digital map collections online:
- American Geographical Society Library, UW Milwaukee
- Another AGSL, UWM Collection of Wall Maps
- Map Collection at Gettysburg College
- University of Chicago Map Collection
- University of Illinois Library & the University of Illinois Press Historical Maps Online
- University of Utah, J.Willard Marriot Library Sanborn Fire Insurance maps
- University of Tennessee online historic topographic maps
- New York Public Library American Shores: Maps of the Middle Atlantic Region to 1850
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