Cataloging Cartographic Materials at Yale University Library

Table of Contents

Purpose of This Document

General Policy

Cataloging Checklists

Single-sheet maps:

Preliminary level records

Minimal level records

Full level records

Copy Cataloging

Original Cataloging

Holdings Records (for both copy and original cataloging)

Map Series and Sets:

Preliminary level records

LSF Transfer Guidelines


Local Decisions

Call Numbers

Electronic Versions


Tracing Bookplates and Stamps


Map Department

Dept. Libraries for which CMS does cataloging

Dept. Libraries that do their own cataloging

Other Resources

General Resources

Cataloging Basics

Organizations, Associations, Listservs, etc.

Place Names and Locations

Print Reference Material


Early Printed Maps




Western Americana


Purpose of This Document

This document is written for catalogers of cartographic material in the Yale University Library system. It provides cataloging checklists and records local policy and procedures.

This document does not teach cartographic cataloging or thoroughly explain the content of map records and related MARC fields. To use this document, be familiar with cartographic cataloging rules and practices in:

Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second edition, 1998 revision (AACR2r) [available through Cataloger's Desktop]

Cartographic Materials : A Manual of Interpretation for AACR2, 2002 Revision, 2005 Update (CM) [available through Cataloger's Desktop]

Map Cataloging Manual (MCM) [available through Cataloger's Desktop]

MARC21 Format for Bibliographic Data, 2005 edition, with updates

See also "Other Resources" listed in this document.


General Policy

Generally, follow the rules and interpretations in AACR2, CM, MCM, and MARC21 Format for Bibliographic Data, 2005 edition (and updates). These documents are available in print and through Cataloger's Desktop (supplied to Catalog Librarians at Yale). Record departures from these standards in this document.

Create full-level bibliographic records, corresponding to a full level of description.

Use the appropriate Yale Map Cataloging classification scheme to create call numbers. Maps dated up to and including 1900 are kept in the locked, or "strong," room in the Map Collection.

The the location codes for the Map Collection, along with the classification codes (geographic and subject), can be found here.


Copy Cataloging Checklist

See Basic Copy Cataloging Workflow Checklist for Maps for instructions on copy cataloging for cartographic material.


Original Cataloging Checklist

When cataloging cartographic materials, follow the BIBCO core record standards.


Holdings Records Checklist (Original and Copy Cataloging)

Follow the policies and procedures found in the Catalog Department's documentation concerning holdings.

Some examples of MFHDs can be found here.

Yale Map Collection (SML)

852 field indicators:

Location codes:
smlmap=Map collection [unlocked area]
smlmapa=Map collection, atlases
smlmapr=Map collection, reference
smlmapl=Map collection, locked room
smlmapg=Map collection, GIS
smlmapb=Map collection, atlas reference
smlmapu=Map collection, uncataloged
lsfmapr=Map collection items at Library Shelving Facility

Subfield k

        Subfield k document

Introductory labels, subfield k

$k Covers: for maps folded in covers less than 22 cm. in height or less than  25 cm. in width.
$k Covers, plus sign [+] before final cutter (i.e., oversize Covers): for maps folded in covers between 22 cm. and 28 cm. in height and 25 cm. and 34 cm. in width.
$k Double Covers: for maps folded in covers over 28 cm. in height or 34 cm. in width.
$k LTS: for maps associated with the London Topographical Society
$k Small: for smaller maps stored in the “small” boxes/drawers.
$k Roll: for roll maps.
$k Series: for maps issued in series (e.g., maps following standard map series designation).
$k Wall: for flat-folded wall maps.

Classification, subfields h and i

Put the class number in subfield h and cutters in subfield i.

Also see specific documentation for the Yale's Map Department classification.

Map title: Ashburn’s map of San Antonio, Tex.
Call number: 796gmb Sa51 1951
(explanation: 796=Texas, gmb=”roads,” Sa51=cutter for San Antonio, and 1951=situation date)
Call number as typed into Orbis MFHD:
852:80:$a smlmap $h 796gmb $i Sa51 1951

Map title: Map of New Mexico with the latest discoveries [This is a facsimile.]
Call number: Small *841 1778/1970
(explanation: Small=stored in area for small-format maps, *=stored in the locked room, 841=New Mexico, 1778=situation date of original map, 1970=date of facsimile)
Call number as typed into Orbis MFHD:
852:80:$a smlmapl $k Small $h 841 $i 1778/1970

866 field:
Use first indicator 4 (detailed enumeration and chronology), second indicator 1. Always precede subfield a with subfield 8, followed by 0 (linking number).

For the map series [Italy 1:100,000], where the enumeration refers to folders, with sheet spread indicated per folder
866:41: $8 0 $a Folder 1:sheets 2-22
866:41: $8 0 $a Folder 2:sheets 23-40B
866:41: $8 0 $a Folder 3:sheets 41-60


Local Decisions

Call numbers


Maps kept in the locked room of the Map Dept. receive the location code “smlmapl”; however, on the item itself, mark the call number with an asterisk.

Map title: J. De Cordova’s map of Texas.
Call number as marked on item: Covers *796 1851
Call number as typed into Orbis MFHD:
852:80:$a smlmapl $k Covers $h 796 $i 1851

        “Covers series”

On any items marked with both the term “Covers” and “Series,” remove the word “Series”; leave “Covers.”

For the map series “Mapas de Mexico,” which is a series of 22 maps that, taken together, cover all of Mexico, the call number is “Covers 88gmb 1954A” for all items; when marking each item, add a  “1,” “2,” “3,” etc., at the end of the call number, to differentiate the items.

        Undated maps

For maps of unknown date, use “X”s to fill in the missing digits.

Example          796 S26 18XX
The above call number is for a map titled “San Luis [Texas]”; research indicates the map is dated from the 1800s, but a more specific decade or year cannot be estimated.


Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Divinity School Library

Forestry and Environmental Studies Library

Government Documents & Information Center

Kline Geology Library

Social Science Libraries

Yale Center for British Art


Electronic Versions

Make an 856 for Yale specific digital copies.




Catalog photocopies from the Streeter Collection as independent items, regardless of whether Yale has the original or not. For non-Streeter photocopies, check first whether the Map Curator wish to retain the copy.

Tracing bookplates and stamps

Use the procedures outlined in the Rare Book Team's Manual:




Other Resources

General Resources

Oregon State University's "Map Cataloging" web site

University of Buffalo's "Map Cataloger's Tool Box"

Western Association of Map Libraries' "Map Librarians' Toolbox"

Cataloging Basics

AACR2 Revisions 2002: Chapter 3: Cartographic Material (Power Point presentation given by the Cataloging Policy Committee (CAPC) of the the Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc. (OLAC) in cooperation with the Map and Geography Round Table (MAGERT) of the American Library Association)

Library of Congress' Special Instructions and Tables of Subdivisions for Cartographic Materials

Library of Congress' Geographic Cutter Number Table G1548-G9804

Map Cataloging: Learning the Basics (A PDF copy of a handout from the June 16, 2001, seminar taught by Susan Moore, University of Northern Iowa, and Lucinda Hall, Dartmouth College)

North Carolina State University Library's Cataloging Cartographic Materials

Organizations, Associations, Listservs, etc.

Map and Geography Round Table, ALA (MAGERT)

North East Map Organization (NEMO)

Western Association of Map Libraries

Maps-L (Discussion list for map librarians, librarians dealing with cartographic information, cartographers, people working with remote sensing, geographers, and other people interested in cartographic materials. To subscribe, type "subscribe MAPS-L Firstname Lastname" in body of message. To unsubscribe, type "unsubscribe MAPS-L" in body of message. Address:

Maphist-L (Discussion list on historical maps, atlases, globes, and other cartographic formats.It is open to all persons interested in the history of cartography. To subscribe, type "subscribe MAPHIST Firstname Lastname" in body of message. To unsubscribe, type "unsubscribe MAPHIST" in body of message. Address:

Place Names and Locations

Columbia Gazetteer of the World (access restricted to Yale community)

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) (for places within the United States)

GEOnet Names Server (GNS) (for places outside the United States)

Print Reference Material


Maps and related cartographic materials : cataloging, classification, and bibliographic control / Paige G. Andrew, Mary Lynette Larsgaard, editor. New York : Haworth Information Press, 1999.

SML, Map Collection Reference Z695.6 M377X 1999 (LC)

National Union Catalog, pre-1956 imprints ; a cumulative author list representing the Library of Congress printed cards and titles reported by other American libraries. London : Mansell, 1968-81.

SML, Main Reference Room Z881 A1 +N37 (LC)

(Includes map records. Useful for authority control; helps identify names appearing on maps)

Tooley's dictionary of mapmakers / editor, Josephine French ; consulting editors, Valerie Scott, Mary Alice Lowenthal ; picture research, Valerie Scott. Rev. ed. Tring, Herts, England : Map Collector Publications in association with Richard Arkway, Inc., 1999-2001.

SML, Map Collection Reference GA198 T66 1999 (LC)

(Identifies names appearing on maps)

Early Printed Maps

Burden, Philip D. The mapping of North America : a list of printed maps, 1511-1670. Rickmansworth : Raleigh Publications, c1996.

SML, Map Collection Reference GA401 B94X 1996 (LC)+ Oversize

Karrow, Robert W. Mapmakers of the sixteenth century and their maps : bio-bibliographies of the cartographers of Abraham Ortelius, 1570. Chicago : Published for the Newberry Library by Speculum Orbis Press, 1993.

SML, Map Collection Reference Z6021 K37 1993 (LC)

Koeman, C. (Cornelius), 1918-. Koeman's Atlantes neerlandici. New ed. ’t Goy-Houten, The Netherlands : HES Publishers, c1997-<c2003>

SML, Map Collection -- Atlases Z6028 K63 1997 (LC)+ Oversize


Norwich, I. Norwich’s maps of Africa : an illustrated and annotated carto-bibliography. 2nd ed. / rev. and edited by Jeffrey C. Stone. Norwich, Vt. : Terra Nova Press, 1997.

Map Collection Reference GA1341 N679 1997 (LC)+ Oversize

Tooley, R.V. Collectors' guide to maps of the African continent and southern Africa. London : Carta P., 1969.

Map Collection Reference Z6027 A2 T65 (LC)


See also Western Americana

Ristow, Walter W. American maps and mapmakers : commercial cartography in the nineteenth century. Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 1985.

Map Collection Reference GA405 R57 1985 (LC)+ Oversize

Schwartz, Seymour and Ralph E. Ehrenberg. The mapping of America. New York : H. N. Abrams, c1980.

Map Collection Reference Folio GA401 S38 (LC)


Library of Congress. Map Division. A list of geographical atlases in the Library of Congress, with bibliographical notes. Washington : Govt. Print. Off., 1909-<1992>

Map Collection Reference Z881 U5 M36 (LC)

National Maritime Museum (Great Britain). Library. Atlases & cartography. London : H.M.S.O., 1971.

Map Collection Reference Z921 G725 3 (LC)

Western Americana

Congressional Information Service. CIS U.S. serial set index. Washington : Congressional Information Service, c1975-<1995>

Map Collection Reference Z1223 Z9 C65X 1975 (LC)+ Oversize

(Many of these maps, underwritten by the U.S. government as adjuncts to expeditions, etc., show westward expansion.)

Ellis, Earl H. Colorado mapology. Frederick, Colo. : Jende-Hagan Book Corp., c1983.

Map Collection--Atlases Folio G1500 E44 1983 (LC)

(Includes chapter describing early Colorado maps.)

Streeter, Thomas W. Bibliography of Texas, 1795-1845. 2d ed. revised and enlarged by Archibald Hanna with a guide to the microfilm collection, Texas as province and republic, 1795-1845. Woodbridge, CT : Research Publications, 1983.

BEINECKE, Reference Z1339 S86 1983 (LC)+ Oversize

(Identifies many of the Texas maps in Yale's collections; useful for creating reference notes in the bib. record.)

Streeter, Thomas W. The celebrated collection of Americana formed by the late Thomas Winthrop Streeter, Morristown, New Jersey, sold by order of the trustees. New York :Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., 1966-70.

BEINECKE, Reference Z1207 S86 (LC)

(Identifies many of the Texas maps in Yale's collections; useful for creating reference notes in the bib. record.)

Wagner, Henry R. The Plains & the Rockies : a critical bibliography of exploration, adventure, and travel in the American West, 1800-1865. 4th ed. revised, enlarged, and edited by Robert H. Becker. San Francisco : J. Howell-Books, 1982.

SML, Starr Main Reference Room Z1251 W5 W35 1982 (LC)

Wheat, Carl I. Mapping the transmississippi West, 1540-1861. San Francisco, Institute of Historical Cartography, 1957-63.

SML, Map Collection Reference, Room 707 GA405 W44 (LC)+ Oversize

(Identifies many of the U.S. West maps in Yale's collections; useful for creating reference notes in the bib. record.)

Wheat, Carl I. Mapping the transmississippi West, 1540-1861 : an index to the cartobibliography. Winnetka, Ill. : Speculum Orbis Press for the Map and Geography Round Table of the American Library Association, 1992.

SML, Map Collection Reference, Room 707 GA405 W44 Index (LC)

Wheat, Carl I. The maps of the California gold region, 1848-1857 : a biblio-cartography of an important decade. San Francisco : Grabhorn Press, 1942.

SML, Map Collection Reference, Room 707 Z6027 C15 W5 1942 (LC)+ Oversize

(Identifies many of the California maps in Yale's collections; useful for creating reference notes in the bib. record.)