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Digitization services blogs

Cover of viewer guide to Australian Museum

Early visitors guide digitized on behalf of the Australian Museum

December 12, 2019
by Astrid Johannah Smith

Guest blogger Adria Castellucci, librarian for Rare Books and Library Collections at the Australian Museum, describes the impact of her request to digitize the earliest guide for visitors published by the Australian Museum, which outlined not only the contents but the physical arrangement of the specimens. The 1873 Guide to the contents of the Australian museum is an important work in their institution's history, and including Stanford's digital object makes their collection complete.

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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