Blog topic: Digitization

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.  

Warm welcome to Laura Wilsey who joins our team in October

September 28, 2018
by Glynn Edwards

I am very pleased to announce the hire of Laura Wilsey as our new Cataloging and Metadata Librarian for incoming collections. She will work primarily out of our Stanford Redwood City but will travel to campus as needed as she takes over responsibility for managing metadata for our many complex digitization projects in collaboration with staff from the Metadata Development Unit and DLSS, as well as curators and subject specialists.

Mystery in the stacks: Dating a rare Chinese Buddhist book in the Gunst Collection

September 25, 2018
by Joshua Capitanio

I was very interested when recently a colleague from Green Library, David Jordan, alerted me to the existence of several Chinese and Japanese items within the Gunst Collection, also known as the Morgan A. and Aline D. Gunst Memorial Library of the Book Arts.  As the name suggests, this collection, which was donated to Stanford Libaries in 1963 and contains over four thousand volumes, is devoted to works that showcase the role of books as artifacts.  As I was browsing through the short list of East Asian materials belonging to this collection, I was intrigued by one item in particular, which was described as an eleventh-century print of a Chinese Buddhist scripture.

Magic Fire excerpt

Scanning project makes piano works available

August 29, 2018
by Ray Heigemeir

A pilot project in the Music Library to digitize sheet music and make images available in the SearchWorks catalog has produced its first collection, made up of 140 piano arrangements and transcriptions. Basic records for these items have long been in SearchWorks, and are now greatly enhanced with access to the digital images and options for close examination and download. This collection was chosen for scanning because the paper is too brittle to withstand the handling that results from practice and performance.

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