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DIGITAL COLLECTIONS by Tom Owen Historic maps attract inquiry on several levels. For some, they are works of art with color coding and linear preciseness. Early maps also reveal the limits of the known that the cartographer faced and the terrible limits on the information gathering techniques that were available to them. Indeed, maps are always a study in "looking through a glass darkly." Historic maps are a delightful testimony to the archetypal human need to know. As we look upon this collection of Kentucky maps we marvel at the intense curiosity about a single place - sometimes the tiniest place - that the map maker chose to record. That knowledge of place is sometimes blandly utilitarian as the map was indeed a servant of the real estate appraiser, utility contractor, or land use planner. Peoples throughout time have asked "How Did the Leopard Get Its Spots?" In that sense, this map collection is an unrivaled source for etiology explaining why the old Jefferson County country lane - today's heavily traveled thoroughfare - turned eastwardly rather than to the west or how the street or road got its name. These maps show us inter-city and commuter rail lines, river wharfs, waterway crossings, school and church locations, and where to find a blacksmith shop. A list of property owners designated on the maps reads like a community "Who's Who" reminding us of the claim that the past continues to have on our own time. These maps also provide a window into the geography that has shaped Louisville, and that Louisvillians have, in their turn, shaped. The high lands explain where the big houses with vistas are to be found, while the creek banks point to land where residents are vulnerable to flood. Louisville is a place where waterways define our history and our maps explain how they have been dammed, rerouted, and recast as concrete channels. These rich sources of information are enhanced through digitization, which makes it possible to view precise map features without having to resort to a magnifying glass. In addition, digitization makes it possible for researchers of all kinds to use these maps - many of which are very fragile - at their own leisure and in any location around the globe. About the Collection This digital collection features three atlases of Louisville and environs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; 74 maps from the Lafon Allen Kentucky Maps Collection (plus an index printed on the verso of Allen Map 41 and an appendix from the verso of Allen Map 46, for a total of 76 digital images); 5 maps of Louisville from the University Archives and Records Center's Pre-1900 Maps Collection; one 17-page set of maps on Louisville housing from the University Archives and Records Center; and two maps of Louisville from Rare Books. Two duplicate maps in the Lafon Allen Kentucky Maps Collection were excluded. It will eventually include other historic maps of and including this region. The digitization of the atlases began with preservation in mind, using digital technology to create a surrogate of the atlases for patrons to use rather than touching the brittle pages of the originals. It has also served to unite thematically similar materials from disparate units in the University of Louisville Libraries, including (thus far) Special Collections and University Archives and Records Center. The materials included are: Conditions of Use The pre-1900 maps, the 1939 WPA maps, and the atlases and the maps within them are in the public domain, so those images may be freely used, although we would ask that they be cited using the following format: [Image Number], [Digital Publisher], University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky. Many of the Lafon Allen Maps are also in the Public Domain. Please cite them as: [Image Number], Lafon Allen Maps Collection, University of Louisville Special Collections, Louisville, Kentucky. To cite the digital version, add its Reference URL (found by following the link in the gray header above the digital file). Researchers may visit the Libraries to view the physical maps, or may order high-quality print or digital reproductions for a small fee. For further information, see the Ordering Information field on the metadata record of the item. Acknowledgments Laure Miolo, Susannah Starks, and Rachael Elrod, assisted by Amy Hanaford Purcell, Rachel I. Howard, and Bill Carner, scanned the atlases in 2007. Each map or plate was scanned as a 600 ppi, 24-bit RGB TIFF file, using a BetterLight overhead scanning setup including a Linhof Kardan M camera with 135mm Rodenstock lens. The 1913 atlas included wide page margins around each map, so the scans were cropped to the borders of the maps. Susan Finley and Rachel I. Howard cataloged, converted, and uploaded the atlas images as lossy JPEG2000 files of Maximum quality, using CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 4.2. Jennifer Hambley assisted with the identification of neighborhoods represented by each map. Terri L. Holtze designed the HTML pages, including the application of Google Maps to relate the historic maps' boundaries to present-day Louisville. Tom Owen, Associate Archivist-Local History, wrote the "Historic Maps" essay. Susannah Starks and Rachel I. Howard scanned the Lafon Allen maps in 2008 using a BetterLight overhead scanning setup with a Linhof Kardan M camera and Rodenstock lens. Most were scanned with a 120mm lens, but a 135mm lens was used for fifteen of the smaller items. Each map or plate was scanned as a 600 ppi, 24-bit RGB TIFF file. Susan Finley cataloged, converted, and uploaded the images as lossy JPEG2000 files of Maximum quality, using CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 4.3. Marcy Werner scanned the pre-1900 maps in 2010 using the BetterLight overhead scanning setup with Linhof Kardan M camera and 135mm Rodenstock lens. Each map was scanned as a 600 ppi, 24-bit RGB TIFF file. Rachel I. Howard cataloged, converted, and uploaded the images as lossy JPEG2000 files of Maximum quality, using CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 5.3. Rachael Ritter scanned additional maps of Louisville (1831, 1859, and 1925) in 2011 using the BetterLight overhead scanning setup with Linhof Kardan M camera and 120mm Rodenstock lens. Each map was scanned in multiple parts as a 600 ppi, 24-bit RGB TIFF file and merged into a single file using the Photomerge feature in Photoshop version CS4. Rachel I. Howard cataloged, converted, and uploaded the images as lossy JPEG2000 files of Maximum quality, using CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 5.3.1. Ann Merkle scanned the Works Progress Administration "Real property survey and low income housing area survey of Louisville, Kentucky. Volume II (Maps)" in 2011 using the BetterLight overhead scanning setup with Linhof Kardan M camera and 135mm Rodenstock lens. Each map was scanned as a 600 ppi, 24-bit RGB TIFF file. Rachel I. Howard cataloged, converted, and uploaded the images as lossy JPEG2000 files of Maximum quality, using CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 5.3.1. Metadata for each map was created in accordance with our data dictionary (PDF) . Most of the maps have titles printed on them, but those supplied by the cataloger(s) have been noted in the Description field. PDF files on this page require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader (download) . University Libraries | University of Louisville | Louisville, KY 40292 Phone: 502-852-4476 | Email | Chat Copyright © 2010