11 August 2005

Another Rare Map Thief

Boston Public Library and Yale University are both victims of an archive thief, the Boston Globe is reporting today.

E. Forbes Smiley has pleaded not guilty to grand larceny charges involving the theft of several rare maps from Beinecke Library.

The Globe editorial wants the BPL to take certain measures to protect collections:

Training for staffers is essential: They have to be vigilant of both colleagues and library users. Libraries can also mark maps and other rare materials with rubber stamps that leave deliberately easy-to-see marks. The monetary value of the document is not compromised, Berger argues, because once it's in a library, a document's worth is measured only in its research value. Berger also says libraries use invisible marks like microstamps and microtags.

Digital images or other copies of rare collections can also help, increasing access to documents and books while keeping them safe and eliminating some of the wear and tear of human handling.


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