Blog topic: Digitization

Introducing Mirador 3: The next generation image comparison viewer

May 2, 2019
by Stuart Snydman

We are proud to announce the completion of the first phase of development of Mirador 3.  For fourteen weeks between January and April, a team consisting of contributors from four institutions across the US and Europe rebuilt Mirador anew.  Following a comprehensive year-long design process led by Jennifer Vine and Gary Geisler, a dedicated team of engineers from Stanford University, Universität Leipzig, Princeton University and Harvard University followed an agile software development process and produced a feature-rich alpha version that is ready for testing and ongoing development.  

Snow plow at Cisco

Spotlight on the transcontinental railroad

The completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869 marked an important milestone in the history of the United States with the joining of the populated east with the growing cities and towns of the west. Stanford University, with its connection to Leland Stanford and Timothy Hopkins, holds in its libraries an impressive array of materials related to this monumental achievement including the often overlooked contributions of the Chinese railroad workers.

Mission Beach Amusement Park

Sanborn fire insurance map collection online

December 4, 2018
by Julie Sweetkind-Singer

Sanborn maps are a favorite of any map librarian.  What's not to like about them?  They give us a view into the history of our country in a way that few other maps do.  They show the growth and decline of towns and cities.  They track the changing use of buildings over time.  At times they tell us who lived and worked in specific areas.  We peek into the past to understand what kept people entertained, be it an amusement park, a skating rink, a movie theater, or a bar.  The Sanborn Fire Insurance Company began producing these maps in the late 19th century for towns and cities throughout the United States in order to provide information to insurers about the composition and use of buildings to allow for the correct underwriting of policies.  The maps include: building footprints; building material shown by color, height and number of stories; uses such as dwellings, hotels, churches, and chicken coops; street widths, water pipes, hydrants, and cisterns.  This provides historians, genealogists, urban planners, and ethnologist with a wealth of information about the nation's past.  

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