May 18, 2022

Digitizing a Best-Kept Secret: Cornell's Coin Collection

From Cornell U. (via R&D):

Cornell’s coin collection is one of the best-kept secrets on campus, but if archaeologist Annetta Alexandridis has her way, the world will soon have access to every one of its 1,500 coins. Thanks to the Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences, the coin collection will soon be digitized and its catalog posted online.


The initial cataloging of the collection was done by Peter Kuniholm, professor emeritus, history of art and archaeology, and Andrew Ramage, professor emeritus, history of art, with student assistance. Each coin needs to be remeasured, reweighed and compared with the initial classification to ensure catalog accuracy.

Laura Wilke, a master’s degree student in archaeology, will create the metadata for the project in collaboration with the Cornell Library and Alexandridis. “As a graduate student, I see the enormous benefits for research and teaching offered by digitization projects like this,” Wilke says.

Ultimately the coins, currently stored in randomly sorted paper envelopes, will be put in museum-standard clear trays and reorganized for easier access.

According to Rhea Garen, library digital photo specialist, Cornell’s Digital Consulting and Production Services will generate high-quality digital images of each coin by placing them directly on a flatbed scanner with adjustable focus. A rule will be included in each image to indicate size.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.