852 RARE: Using Google Earth to Map the Collection

852 RARE: Using Google Earth to Map the Collection

We recently experimented with a new way to view our current Harvard Law School Library exhibit, Spanning the Centuries: Recent Acquisitions, 1579-1868. We used Google Earth to create a chronological tour of the exhibit, pinpointing the towns and cities where each item came from. Watch the globe spin as you click from item to item in the exhibit!

Here is a link to the Google Earth version of the exhibit. You will need to install Google Earth to view it.

Besides being cool and fun (if a bit dizzying) to watch, Google Earth provides a graphic look at where items in an exhibit – or an entire collection – came from, in a way that plain text cannot. In our exhibit, most of the earliest material came from Europe, shifting to England and then the U.S. as the centuries passed. Though this exhibit does not delve deeply into the full provenance of the items on view, it would be interesting to use Google Earth to graphically trace every step of a book or manuscript as it changes hands over time.

We hope you enjoy this new and different look at our exhibit. Thanks to Carli Spina, Emerging Technologies and Research Librarian, for thinking of the idea and making it happen!

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