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Weekly News Digest

October 22, 2001 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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ProQuest Completes Sanborn Maps Digitization Project

ProQuest Information and Learning ( has announced the completion of an initiative to digitize its collection of Sanborn insurance maps. Dating from 1867 to 1970, the Digital Sanborn Maps project encompasses some 660,000 large-scale maps of 12,000 U.S. cities. Maps were created every 5 to 10 years, showing the progress of the nation over time. For some communities, up to eight maps are included, covering different time periods and stages of development. The digitization project began in 2000.

The maps contain information such as the outline, size, height, and shape of the buildings; the construction materials used; the function of structures; and the location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building-use information (ranging from symbols for generic terms such as stable, garage, and warehouse to names of owners of factories and details on what was manufactured in them), and house and block numbers. In the case of large factories or commercial buildings, even individual rooms and their uses are recorded on the maps. Other features include pipelines, railroads, wells, dumps, and heavy machinery. The maps can be valuable to genealogists, local historians, city planners, environmentalists, geographers, architects, and others who are interested in the history, growth, and development of U.S. cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

Sanborn Map Co. was the primary U.S. publisher of fire insurance maps for nearly 100 years. ProQuest sells microform editions of the maps. In electronic form, Sanborn Maps allow greater flexibility of use and improved viewing possibilities over microfilm, according to the announcement. Users can manipulate the maps, magnify and zoom in on specific sections, and layer maps from different years. Free trials are available for libraries.

Source: ProQuest Information and Learning

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