January 19, 2022

University of Southern Maine: Osher Map Library is Digitizing its Rare Globe Collection, Manipulate Globes Online

From the Portland Press-Herald:

Some of the almost 300 globes at the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine have been hidden from public view for hundreds of years. Others were on display, but under glass or too fragile to handle.

Now the library on the Portland campus is in the midst of a multi-year project, funded with a $500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to digitize 24 of the globes, making 3-D images available online to scholars, students and the curious.

The goal is to eventually digitize the library’s entire 294-globe collection, the second-largest public collection of globes in the United States, second only to the one at the Library of Congress.


The first step in digitizing the globes is a painstaking restoration process, done by specialists, that includes removing varnish or protective coatings, removing the strips of material from the core of the globe, cleaning it all and re-applying it to the globe. The actual photography takes place at Osher Map Library, using a large table and turntable to precisely rotate the globe. David Neikirk, the library’s digital imaging associate, takes about 700 images of each globe, then uses software to create the 3D image online.

So far, three globes are available online at the library’s website, and more material is being added as the project continues.

In addition to being able to manipulate the 3-D globe in any direction, or zoom in on the surface, online users can access any of the individual 700 images that make up the globe, Fowler said.

Read the Complete Article

Direct to Digitized Globes Available Online (More to Come)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.