Monday, June 24, 2013

The Weird World of Atlases

 Ken Jennings, author of works including Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, recently said, “I would read the atlas for pleasure. I knew it was weird…it was weird.” Mr. Jennings may be pleasantly surprised to discover just how many people share in this interest. In 2012, the State Library of Massachusetts received funding for the Massachusetts Real Estate Atlas Digitization Project – an endeavor that would entail the cleaning, basic repair, shipping, and digitization of its extensive atlas collection. Since this project began, the increase in online access and use of this information has been astounding. As the State Library’s new Preservation Librarian, I entered the role in the midst of this ongoing venture, and have greatly enjoyed being part of improving user experience. Once the final batch of atlases returns from the digitization facility, we will work hard to make the images available through our website. My hope is that you take some time to explore your home town atlas…even if you think that’s weird...

Kelly Turner
Preservation Librarian