Yale University Library News

Transfer of pre-1900 Map Collection to the Beinecke Library

June 8, 2015

Following extensive reviews into ways to improve access to and care of the Yale University Library’s cartographic resources, library staff have begun transferring the collection of pre-1900 sheet maps currently housed in the Map Department on the 7th floor of Sterling Memorial Library to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Before the maps are physically relocated, they will first be scanned, rehoused, and, as appropriate, re-cataloged, before being made available through the Beinecke Digital Library. This will allow freely available, unrestricted, online access to researchers all over the world. Although the maps won’t be physically moved until after the Beinecke renovation is complete in the fall of 2016, the process of digitization has already begun.

The Map Department’s pre-1900 map collection is one of the primary collections of early printed maps in the United States, comprising approximately 12,000 map titles (with an estimated 16,000 individual pieces). Transferring the maps to Beinecke will provide a greatly improved storage environment, enhance the security of the collection, and enable integration with the Beinecke’s extensive collection of early atlases (over 1,300 volumes) and several thousand sheet maps. The digital surrogates created as part of the transfer project will complement nearly 2,000 maps that the Beinecke has already scanned. Providing bounding coordinates for the maps and their digital versions will enhance retrieval through current and future geospatial search interfaces.

The digitization project will be overseen by Todd Fell and Lisa Conathan from the Beinecke Library; Kevin Merriman, Director of Collection Management, Access and Technical Services at the Center for Science and Social Science Information; and Margit Kay, Library Services Assistant in the Map Department. For more information please contact E.C Schroeder at Edwin.schroeder@yale.edu.