Reese Donates $100K to Yale for Map Digitization

Rare book and map dealer William Reese is donating $100,000 to Yale University — a donation that the university will match and add to with a fundraising campaign. The money will go towards digitizing and cataloguing Yale’s maps: the eventual end result will be a complete electronic catalogue, but there are benefits in terms of preventing and recovering from map thefts as well. From Kim Martineau’s Hartford Courant article:

By scanning its rarest maps, Yale will have an electronic record of each map, with its unique stains, coloring and creases. If a map is stolen and turns up on the market, Yale then has a picture to compare it to and prove ownership. Digitizing the rarest maps will cut down on the number of people handling the maps while also allowing more people to study them — from a computer.

Making a high-quality digital copy available, rather than the irreplacable original, makes that original that much harder to steal.

For more on Reese, see previous entry: Intact Atlas, Asking 165 Large.