Monthly Archive for April, 2007

Building Colorado Story by Story: The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection


Ever heard of Sanborn Maps? Sanborn fire insurance maps are large scale historical city maps, detailed at the block and building level, that show residential, commercial, and industrial uses of sites, building footprints, potential environmental hazards, and construction details of structures. Sanborn fire insurance maps were originally designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the potential damage from fires, assessing risk, and setting premiums. Today, Sanborn maps are used for a variety of purposes, including environmental site assessment, architecture, urban history, and genealogy.

Building Colorado Story by Story: The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection
is a digital collection of Sanborn fire insurance maps of cities across Colorado. The collection contains 346 maps of 79 principal cities in 52 counties covering the years 1883-1922. The University of Colorado at Boulder is the in the process of digitizing these maps and the beta version is now available online.

CLiC andthe Map Library staff at CUB are running workshops about these Sanborn maps and map librarianship in general. Many people have attended the short overview sessions at our CLiC Spring Workshops. Also check out the last Accidental Map Librarian Workshop in Gunnison May 11.

We have also created a wiki for our Accidental Map Librarian Workshops you can check out at : http://maplibraries.pbwiki.com/

Federal Judge Blocks COPA

On March 22 a federal judge stuck down the very unpopular Child Online Protection Act (COPA), a law whose purpose was to protect children from harmful sexual materials. As the ALA website stated, COPA “made it a crime for commercial websites to allow access to “harmful” material without first verifying user ages.”

This law was originally passed in 1998, but it has never been enforced due to various injunctions and challenges. Those against the law state that it violates free speech. Since the law was only going to block US providers, it was unlikely that it was going to have much of an affect on filtering harmful materials to minors.

The federal judge commented that “perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection.” (ALA Website)

Do not confuse this law with COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which remains in force and limits the ability of sites to offer services to those aged twelve and under without explicit parental consent. (Wikipedia)