Let me introduce myself, I am a new member of this list and
Maphist as well. I am a collector who has collected for the last 15 years but I
have increased my level of interest in the last year or so.
I am quite familiar with technology having managed a number of
data base, publishing, and information companies, the last decade being spent in
the financial services arena where we built web based systems for Wall Street
firms. I am fascinated to see how email (a very old technology) and the web (a
newer one) is interacting with traditional businesses including the antique map
Lists such as this and the many new web sites on antique maps
(there are probably an order of magitude more web sites introduced per year than
all the books and papers published on the subject in a year) are opening up
access to information on the subject on an exponential basis. We are going from
scarcity to overload in this field from a collector's perspective. I think one
of the biggest challenges is to organize access to the information and the
information itself in better ways. This should be one goal of this
I understand that some librarians and academics may not want
to become involved with the commercial aspects of this process(i.e. the
collector/dealer sets of needs) and the maptrade list can serve these
requirements. The dealers involved in both lists can act as information transfer
agents and keep the casual collectors "out the hair" of the academics.
The dealers earn their living by imparting information about the subject and the
inventory items they sell to the buyers. They are a good point of intersection
between the two lists as long as their different roles in each list are
understood by all.
As a first suggestion, I think that all book sale and new
catalog (web or print) announcements belong on this type of list, not on
Maphist....this could be an evolutionary process. Similarly, collector or dealer
"I am looking for map or atlas X" should also be on this list, not
Maphist. This means that all dealers who operate over the web will belong to
this list for sure!
One project that could help all of us is to put
most of the messages into a data base so that they can be easily retrieved. This
will create an online tutorial over time so that the newbees don't drive the
vets nuts. Not every message belongs in a data base but many of them could be
valuable if organized. Maybe this is done aready, I don't know. (I mean a true
data base, not a giant message file or set of monthly or quarterly
As for the suggestion that this be a DEALERS ONLY list, why
bother with a list? You clearly all know each other well and can use email for
private discussions, negotiations, inventory sales, etc. Email is much more
efficient for that type of activity than the listserv approach which is a
public broadcast medium.
I have a number of additional thoughts on how this list can be
used to benefit its users. However, I'll send them over time rather than in one
big email....this is too long already...email should be kept short.
Thanks for letting outsiders look into inner the workings of
your profession. Together we can all learn more and the dealers who leverage
these technologies can continue to expand their market.