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The Slate Vault today highlighted a “data-packed” map of American immigration in 1903 from the annual report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration. The Vault always posts interesting and beautiful maps, images etc. They also linked to anew-to-me site called Handsome Atlas that has some beautiful scans and visualizations of historic US atlases. GO and check them out.
But what they didn’t mention was that this Annual Report — technically titled the “Annual report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration to the Secretary of the Treasury for the fiscal year ended …” — is available in libraries around the country as it was distributed by the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) AND that the map “Race and occupation of immigrants by destination” is just one of the many maps, statistical tables, infographics, and photographs embedded in these annual reports. Stanford University Library, where I work, has the annual report going back to 1892!
And, yes, you can find this publication in Google Books, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive, BUT you WON’T find any of the many foldout maps/infographics because they simply weren’t weren’t scanned.
A reader could use the map to see which proportion of the immigrant population of a state came from each of six “races or peoples”: “Teutonic,” “Keltic,” “Slavic,” “Iberic,” “Mongolic,” or Other. These designations echoed popular eugenic racial ideologies of the time, which used quasi-scientific theories to lump people into basic groups of origin understood to share common characteristics. The bars showing percentages of immigrants in each state color-code the newcomers according to “race or people,” so that these can be seen at a glance, then use text to explain which countries these “Mongolians” or “Slavics” came from.
The map was put together as part of an annual report made for the Commission-General of Immigration, and printed by the Government Printing Office in 1903.
Carl Malamud announced yesterday the inaugural meeting of the International Amateur Scanning League (IASL) (I’m already imagining cool swag!). Malamud is taking FedFlix program to the streets! Fedflix, a joint venture between the National Technical Information Service and Public.Resource.Org, digitizes NTIS video and makes them available on YouTube, the Internet Archive, and the public.resource.org Stock Footage Library.
Well now a gang of volunteers including members of DC CopyNight and Smithsonian employees working on their own time are going to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and copying over 1,500 DVDs to be uploaded to the net.
What makes this grassroots digitization effort so remarkable is that it has the full support of the government. Indeed, David Ferriero, the U.S. Archivist, joined me in the initial meeting where we taught volunteers how to rip DVDs!
Kudos to Malamud and the IASL!
And this makes me think that more libraries and librarians should be doing the same thing for govt documents. Why not set up your own scanning operations in your depository library (Book Liberator or DIY Book Scanner can show you how to digitize on the cheap!) and then deposit those scans into the Internet Archive’s US Documents Collection (don’t forget to follow FDLP digitization standards!). Scans could also be ingested into FDSys (when they’ve got that capability working ;-)). So get to it; what are you waiting for?!
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