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The David Rumsey Map Collection Chrome Browser plug-in

About this series

As part of the opening events for The David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford's Green Library I recently gave a talk about the various ways you can "hack" the David Rumsey Map Collection. I showed how you can make use of the David Rumsey Map Collection using a variety of Stanford University Library resources and services.

Over the next few weeks I will post a series of brief step-by-step "how-to" tutorials on making use of digital resources from the David Rumsey Map Center and Collection. For the most part, I will be highlighting the resources I presented in my talk.

One of the main things I'd like to highlight is the fact that Stanford Library's DLSS group doesn't just use the software that runs the Stanford Library and it's digital collections and services... they write that software! Open source software tools developed and maintained in-house (and collaboratively with many other research libraries, museums and cultural institutions) are the core of Stanford Library's Digital infrastructure.

This series will explore some of these tools, and other SUL resources, that make it easier to find, use and share the David Rumsey Map Center's materials. We'll start small, with the easiest tools that appeal to the most people, first. Eventually we will work our way up through more complex use of the collections and tools available from The Stanford University Library.

The David Rumsey Map Collection Chrome Browser plug-in

The David Rumsey Map Collection Chrome Browser plug-in

The David Rumsey Map Collection Chrome Browser Plug-in is an extension for viewing the current date and time with a random map from the David Rumsey Map Collection every time you open a new tab. The plug-in allows you to view and explore (through built-in map panning and zoom tools) Rumsey's amazing collection of maps by just opening up your browser.

Installing the plug-in

Chrome Web Store

  1. First, you need to have installed the Chrome Browser, from Google. You can get it here.
  2. Next, go to the Chrome Web Store and search for 'Rumsey' (or just click this link).
  3. In the search results, click on the David Rumsey Map Collection - MapTab entry
  4. Click on the 'Add to Chrome' button Chrome Web Store to install the plug-in.

Using the plug-in

  1. Once the plug-in has been installed, you can simply open a new browse tab (Control-T in Windows, Command-T on a Mac), and enjoy a random map from the collection.
  2. Click on the 'View at Stanford to Download' icon Open PURL Page to open the PURL page for the current map and see options for downloading, embedding and accessing the complete metadata for the item.
  3. Use the Zoom icons Zoom tool to zoom in and out, and simply drag the image with your mouse to pan the map.
  4. Click on your Chrome Browser 'Refresh Button' to load a new, random item from the collection.

A few more notes:

Not all of the items you see in the plug-in will necessarily be maps. This plug-in grabs random images from The David Rumsey Map Collection, which also includes digitized atlas pages, covers, and other items that may or may not be, specifically, cartographic in nature.

The David Rumsey Map Collection Chrome Plug-in was created by Jack Reed, Developer, Stanford University Library's Digital Libraries Systems and Services. Drop him a note on Twitter @mejackreed to tell him how much you like the plug-in and don't forget to rate it in the Chrome Web Store!

Watch for more entries in this series in the weeks to come!

PURL page screenshot for Nick Eubank's Zambian 2006 to 2010 Constituency and Ward Boundaries

Inquiry from a hot zone

In late March of 2016, Frederic Ham, a geospatial analyst for Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, also know as Doctors Without Borders) contacted Stanford University Libraries (SUL) looking for information. He needed data to help him create maps so that MSF could better plan their response to a current cholera outbreak in Zambia. He’d found what he wanted via SUL’s geospatial data portal, Earthworks, but wasn’t able to access it due to licensing restrictions. Was there any way we could help?

Robert Schumann, Drei zweistimmige Lieder (detail)

Rare Music Materials at Stanford is a Spotlight instance that presents materials from the Stanford University Libraries' collections that have been digitized in response to research requests, or were produced for small projects. Items and their downloadable images may also be found in SearchWorks, Stanford's library catalog.

Franz Schubert

Overture zum 3. Akt, Die Zauberharfe, original manuscript by Franz Schubert (1797-1828); libretto by Georg von Hofmann.
Memorial Library of Music, MLM 948
[download images of this work]

Guest blogger: Benjamin Ory

Die Zauberharfe, or “The Magic Harp,” was a melodrama premiered on August 19, 1820 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. The original cast included Ferdinand Schimon (Palmerin, tenor), Karl Erdmann Rüger (Arnulf), Josefa Gottdank (Melinda), Frl. Botta (Ida), and Nikolaus Heurteur (Folko). There were seven repeat performances through October 12, before the work was subsequently withdrawn from the repertory. The majority of Hofmann’s text and some of the musical numbers were lost, and thus, no further staged performances were able to occur. The manuscript of the Act III Overture now resides in Stanford’s Memorial Library of Music.<--break->

logo of the International Internet Preservation Consortium

In keeping with shallow tradition, it's taken me a few weeks to collect my thoughts on the recently-concluded IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference, hosted this year by the National and University Library of Iceland. In the wake of last year's meeting, I speculated on what developments in web archiving we might together effect in the year ahead (now behind). Nearly a year later, that conceit provides a convenient jumping-off point for reflecting on how it all went, where we might go from here, and the tremendous amount of work to do in our one remaining collective month before the anniversary of that post. :)


This year, Stanford Classics turns 125, and to celebrate, we have put together an exhibit examining its early history. While small and undistinguished early on, the department quickly produced scholars of distinction. Today it is a major center of American classics, and a world leader in the study of ancient Greece and Rome. Still, the century and a quarter that intervenes between us and its foundation is often a sort of ever-advancing black box—that is, we seldom have an institutional memory that extends any further back than the recollection of the faculty's most senior member. Earlier outlines of the department's history are therefore simply lost. This exhibit hopes to shed some light on that earlier place and time.

Cover image of Maniac Magee

Hats off to Stanford’s own Andrew Luck for promoting the love of reading. Mr. Luck has started a book club via social media. He plans to introduce a book he enjoyed as a child for younger readers, as well as a book for more seasoned readers. According to his web site he’ll introduce a new book in stages that correspond with the NFL schedule: off-season, mini-camp, summer training and pre-season. He plans to bring in guest athletes to take over until after the Super Bowl. Participants may follow along on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter using #ALBookClub. More information about the book club may be found on his website.

The first selections for the book club are Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and the Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Both titles can be found in Stanford University Libraries.

Image of maps created with the use of the Stanford Education Data Archive
Educational opportunity is an important issue in a democratic society. In the United States, measuring educational achievement and opportunity is complex because the public education system is diffuse. Funding for public education depends on a combination of local, state and federal governing bodies. The variations in funding and community level support for public education and standardized testing makes comparisons and analysis across the U.S. an arduous task. 
This is why the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) deposit of the week is critically important to note. Stanford University Professor, Sean Reardon and his colleagues have just deposited the Stanford Education and Data Archive (SEDA) into the SDR for long term preservation. This is a data set that includes 215 million test scores and tackles the difficulty of comparing test score data from every public elementary and middle school in the United States for a period of 5 years, (2009-2013). What's brilliant about this collection of data is that, Reardon and his team developed a method to equate the scores across states for comparison enabling a whole new set of questions on educational opportunity to be answered, new stories to be told, and new questions to be raised.