Cataloging & Classification Quarterly

Volume 27, Numbers 1-4 1998


INTRODUCTION TO SECOND JOURNAL ISSUE. By Paige G. Andrew and Mary Lynette Larsgaard

Mr. Paige G. Andrew, Assistant Professor, is the faculty Maps Cataloger at the Pennsylvania State University Libraries, as well as Selector for the discipline of Geography.  Formerly he was the Maps Cataloger, from November 1986 - January 1995, for the University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia.  He earned his bachelors degree in 1983 at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, majoring in Geography.  He earned his M.L.S. in 1986 at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington and is a native Seattleite.  He can be reached via email at:

Mary Lynette Larsgaard has, since 1988, been the Assistant Head of the Map and Imagery Laboratory, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara. She has a B.A. in geology, an M.A. in library science, and an M.A. in geography. She is the author of Map Librarianship, An Introduction (third edition, 1998, Libraries Unlimited)

Welcome to this special issue, the second of two double issues, of Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, devoted to the cataloging and classification of cartographic materials, or if you prefer, geospatial data. This opening sentence sets the tone for the current situation in what might be called the "cataloging of worlds" – changing times, adding of new genres and physical forms to what was already a demanding format, and rules that are not just in flux but also in the process of being created! We are fortunate indeed to have had such a positive response to the need for authors of the various articles, each who have lent their knowledge, know-how, and expertise to this issue.


In the first double issue we presented a format-focused guide for the map cataloger. In it articles for each major type of "map" cataloging, giving a general procedure to be followed and an itemization of problem areas in the bibliographic record and – where we know of them – answers to those problems, were included. These "how to" articles reviewed working with the basic paper sheet map, geologic sections, globes, twentieth-century atlases, and early maps and atlases. The issue concluded with the use of the Library of Congress classification scheme and provision of subject access to cartographic materials.

In this concluding double issue on cataloging of cartographic materials, we begin by lending some perspective on the entire area of cartographic cataloging with an article that looks at the current status of map cataloging, focusing on the "who", the "what", and the "where" of the task. Then a much-desired article gives us a close inspection of some of our most recently collected cartographic items, remote-sensed images, including aerial photographs and satellite images.

The next two articles examine retrospective-conversion projects, followed by a look at quality control issues relating to the bibliographic record via OCLC’s Enhance Program. As a sharp contrast, we then tackle cartographic materials in digital form. An overview of metadata and then a look at metadata standards on a worldwide scale leads this particular area. Next, we deal with the practicalities of the use of the latest fields added to USMARC for describing specific information found in digital forms of material, followed by an article outlining the creation of bibliographic records for cartographic materials on CD-ROM. We close the issue by taking a different viewpoint on access to cartographic materials -- how cartographic materials are described, organized, and controlled within the setting of an archive.


A sure way to find out more than you ever wanted to know about any editor’s woes is to ask about the topics that the editor knew needed to be addressed but could not find any volunteers to write the paper! We certainly had that same problem; fortunately the list of "ones that got away" is a short one. We do hope that these topics will be elucidated upon in the near future within the literature of map librarianship or cataloging or both. The list of topics not covered in this issue includes:

1. Original versus copy cataloging of sheet maps.

Library administrators, map collection curators, cataloging department heads, and yes, even map catalogers often wonder about the differences between creating an original bibliographic record for an item versus "borrowing" a record from OCLC or elsewhere and tweaking it to fit the local collection. Issues include: levels of staff expertise needed to do the work; quality of existing versus to-be-created bibliographic records; and naturally, difference in the time that it takes to create an original record as opposed to using copy available from a bibliographic utility or even locally created records from an earlier time.

2. Linking techniques used in the bibliographic record to indicate relationships such as: parent/child; other edition/original edition; and original form/other physical form of material.

A mammoth percentage of all geospatial data, perhaps as much as 80%, has some sort of relationship with its cohorts. The most common, both for maps and for remote-sensing images, is that of parent/child. Another common relationship for maps is that of other edition; many topographic sheets, for example, are issued in more than one edition. Increasingly more obvious these days is the relationship between the original hard-copy item and its digital form. How are these relationships most accurately and clearly presented in the bibliographic record and ultimately to our users? What about those circumstances where all of the above relationships apply or could apply?

3. Creating a bibliographic record from a surrogate for a sheet map.

Those of us in institutions that centrally catalog for library collections physically some distance from a main campus or in another building on campus sometimes deal with the dreaded "surrogate" issue. Usually the collection that wants to have a map cataloged mails the map cataloger a photocopy of the panel of a folded map or the area of a flat map that contains the title, not realizing how much critical information is unavailable for use in the description. If the map cataloger is fortunate s/he can track down copy based on the title alone, but often this is not the case. Some of the issues involved include: should we ever catalog from a surrogate? If we agree to catalog in this manner what is the minimum level of information we need to have in hand to locate a copy of a bibliographic record? What about the minimum level of information needed to create an original record?

4. Cataloging of maps on microform, facsimile maps, and maps published in photocopy form.

Each of these types of maps do indeed occur, and fairly often. Questions to be dealt with range from, "How can I catalog this item based on the original when all I have is a microfiche and there is no previously existing catalog record or citation in a published cartobibliography?", to, "When do I use USMARC 533 and when do I use 534?", with a good many other perplexing queries in-between.

There are many other knotty topics that need to be written about so we encourage you to share the knowledge you have gained with the rest of the map cataloging community. While in many cases there are, for example, rules scattered throughout AACR and other guides on how to handle some of these situations, it is so much easier to read one coherent guide that pulls together in one place all the rules needed to catalog one given item.


As our fast-paced world of cartographic information continues to evolve and change, we are aware that some of the information to be gleaned from the articles contained in this issue may become dated, if not outright obsolete. Additionally, new forms of cartographic information will require new ways of handling and describing these items and therefore we again encourage publication of articles describing methodologies and techniques in this or other map librarianship and cataloging literatures.

The co-editors believe very strongly that this compilation meets a strong demand for cataloging information that is prescriptive in terms of describing and organizing all forms of cartographic materials. We thank the contributing authors for sharing their expertise -- doing so with patience and understanding -- and Ruth Carter for first inviting us to tackle this much-needed publication, and then for assisting us in many ways as we worked toward completion of our editorial tasks.

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