January 21, 2009 Library of Congress Receives Grant To Catalog Hidden Special Collections
Press Contact: John Sayers, (202) 707-9216
Public Contact: Beth Davis-Brown, (202) 707-3301
The Library of Congress has received a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to support a project that will catalog 125,000 sheet maps of Africa. The catalog records to be produced under the $240,240 grant will include geographic coordinates for each map that will permit geographic searching of the catalog records. The enhanced catalog data will make it possible to view the coverage area of individual sheet maps using geographical browsers such as Google Earth. Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services, said, “I am very pleased that CLIR is supporting this project that will enable the Library of Congress to make detailed geographic information from sheet maps of Africa widely available for the first time. This is part of a larger effort by CLIR to ‘uncover’ special collections that have not been well-known outside of their own institutions previously, and it is wonderful that the Library was a recipient in the first round of grants.” The Library of Congress collected maps since 1800, forming the Geography and Map Division in 1897 to concentrate exclusively on the development of that collection. At present, the Division holds some 5.5 million maps, 75,000 atlases, 500 globes and globe gores, 3000 raised relief images, and 20,000 digital files. Work on the CLIR-funded project will be completed by February 2012. The Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information on the program, visit www.clir.org/hiddencollections/. The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library's mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.