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.
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