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Olin & Uris Libraries

Olin: Closed
Uris: Closed

Map Collection in Olin Library

Using the Map Collection

About the Collection

Located on the lower level of Olin Library, the Cornell University Library Map Collection houses a geographically comprehensive collection of over 300,000 paper maps, 1,000 books and atlases, and many other related research materials.

The Map Collection is extensive and covers all parts of the world, although the quality of coverage varies. Here are some areas where the collections are particularly robust:

  • United States, including USGS topographic and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York City, and New York State.
  • Major European cities
  • Asian countries; supplementary to the Kroch Library Asia Collections

A note about our collections:

The majority of the maps and atlases in our collections are historical and as such may reflect ideas and biases that we do not hold today. There may be elements of colonialism, imperialism, and racism that appear within our collections and it is important to regard these materials critically and consider the context in which they were originally created. Maps are not neutral resources; they were created by people for a specific purpose and during a fixed point in history. Just as maps often take a holistic view, so should any researcher or visitor who engages with these collections.

Visit the Map Room

The map room is currently only open by appointment, during regular business hours. Please contact us to set up an appointment. Maps staff will work with you to determine a mutually agreeable time for your visit.

Our staff will search the collections and select maps relevant to your research topic or interest and have them ready for you to view during your appointment. Individual maps are stored in folders with similar maps, based either on geographic location or by purpose or function. We encourage patrons to explore all the maps in a folder; you never know what you might find!

Maps staff can provide patrons with reference scans of any maps they find during their visit. Maps are scanned in house by our staff and will be delivered digitally following your appointment.

Requesting Maps

Most of the materials in the Map Collections do not circulate but staff can provide high quality scans (300dpi resolution .TIFF files) of almost any map we have in our collections for your reference. If for some reason a map cannot be scanned, staff will attempt to find an alternative online version.

Cornell students, faculty and staff can request maps directly through the Library catalog. Patrons that are not affiliated with Cornell who are unable to visit the map collection may request maps through the interlibrary loan program at their local library.

Map scans are delivered via shared Cornell Box folder. Visitors and those without a Cornell NetID will have scans delivered via Cornell Secure File Transfer.

Books and other material housed in the map room may be loaned on a case by case basis and at the discretion of staff.

Contact Us

Open by appointment Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm

Additional Map Related Resources