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Royal Geographic Society.

On June 8, the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) opened a new public study center in London. The center provides access to one of the world's largest geographical collections and contains more than 2 million maps, photographs, books, works of art, artifacts, and documents that represent 500 years of geographical discovery and research. The resource costs $12.9 million and received 75 percent of its funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project allows the public to visit the society, study in the Foyle Reading Room, take part in schools' educational programs, and use an online catalog of the collection (http://www.rgs.org/category.php?page=mainarchives). More than 210,000 catalog cards have been transferred to electronic records in the process.

Aside from society records and papers, the collections include cultural objects from around the world and paraphernalia of exploration. Items of interest include oxygen sets used in the various attempts on Mount Everest, a compass used by Livingstone in his search for the source of the Nile, and personal items formerly belonging to some of the world's greatest explorers.

Concerning the center, Schools Minister Stephen Twigg MP said: "The project is one of the most exciting and educationally beneficial initiatives put forward by any of the learned societies in recent years. The idea of opening up the Society's archives is particularly important for the education of pupils in global citizenship, ethnic and cultural diversity, sustainable development, and history. This is a great new resource for teachers and pupils."

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Title Annotation:International Report
Author:Ashling, Jim
Publication:Information Today
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:255
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