In the past two years we have continued to rearrange our collection of maps and drawing according to size. The maps have been measured and then have been sorted according to the formats A0, A1 and A2. This is a practical solution since the drawers of our steel cabinets are measuring 127 x 92 cm (A0). In former times the maps were kept partly in file folders of poor quality, often many maps to each folder. Presently we use non-acid cardboard folders -which have been specially made for us- and put fewer maps in each folder. Maps that have been folded and refolded are now unfolded up to A0 size. This will decrease the tears in such maps. Even though we use more folders than in former times, the space used in the cabinets has been reduced.
The collection of maps and drawings held by the National Archives consists of approximately 50,000 maps, separated into two main groups. In the first group there are approximately 20,000 maps covering the period ca. 1650-1920, which were transferred from about 50 civil and military state authority archives.The other group consists of approximately 30,000 maps that have come from local town and country planning authorities (a statute from 1845 requires them to hand over one copy of every confirmed map to the National Archives). These authorities also hold copies for their own and public use, which make the collection of those maps in the National Archives mainly a depot. It is mainly the first group of maps which has been rearranged and approximately 5,000 maps of the second group.
The collection of town and country planning maps increases with approximately 1,500 new accessions each year. These maps are given a consecutive number within each county. For these maps we have now constructed a database to hold all information. From this database we will get a number of reports that we need, for example a list of all confirmed maps from a certain area in a certain period of time.
1992 has been a year of celebration. On the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the National Archives an exhibition showing its history through its different buildings from the Middle Ages to the present has been arranged. In the map collection there are drawings and maps of these buildings. In the statute of 1817 it was decided that the National Archives should have its office in the old castle of Akershus in Oslo. This castle was built around 1300, and it was here that different civil and military authorities kept their archives during the centuries. Maps and drawings from the 18th century show the exact location of the archives. While working at the exhibition many of our maps and drawings were inspected, quite a few of them ended up in the exhibition. 4 different information posters -where our maps formed an important part- were produced, and the map archivist also took part in the planning process of publications and television programmes.
In 1990 one of the maps of the city of Kristiansand from 1662 was shown in an exhibition in Karlsruhe (Germany) called Klar und lichtvoll wie ein Regel – Planstädte der Neuzeit.
University of Oslo Library, Map Department
The Parliament of Norway has finally decided to establish a National Library. The Map Department of the University of Oslo Library is defined as a national map collection and shall in the future be part of the National Library. From 15 September 1992 the Map Department together with other special collections of the University of Oslo Library formed a new, separate branch and is preparing to join the coming National Library. The Map Department also proposed that it would have the responsibility for the collections of literature of the history of discoveries and local history of territories outside Norway with old and new Norse settlements.
The collection of maps increases with approximately 500 foreign and 400 Norwegian maps and atlases each year. The Norwegian accessions are catalogued in a special database of maps and are recorded in the Norwegian National Bibliography.
New map databases.
Work to establish a reference database for manuscript maps in the edb-system TRIP is still not finished. According to plans the database should be available towards the end of 1992.
In Spring 1992 a separate database was instituted for maps in the Norwegian National bibliography. This database is called KARTS and contains all maps recorded from 1971 onwards. It is available through the University of Oslo edb-system UBO:BOK.
Preservation and restoring.
In Autumn 1991 the Department started a comprehensive examination of all approximately 125,000 in the map collections. They will be rearranged, marked anew and placed in non-acid cardboard folders. The old catalogue will be controlled.
Maps in bad conditions will be treated in the workshop of the library. A lot of maps from the period 1860-1920 need preservation and restoring!
Beside the extensive use of maps in the exhibitions of the library, the Map Department participated with 10 maps in the exhibition Cartography through the Centuries – Homeland of the Hellenic diasporain May 1992 in Athens (Greece).
Tom Sorbo, Universitetbiblioteket i Oslo