Bibliographic Cataloging: Cartographic Materials

Background and Sources Consulted

Cartographic materials include maps, atlases, globes, and remote sensing images such as satellite photos.

Maps are cataloged following RDA Instructions. Use the following resources to supplement RDA:

  • Cartographic materials: a manual of Interpretation for AACR2, 2nd edition, 2002 revision, 2005 update [available through Cataloger’s Desktop]
  • RDA and cartographic resources, by Paige G. Andrew, Susan M. Moore, Mary Lynette Larsgaard. ALA Editions, 2015
  • GPO Classification Manual, 1993. (Currently being revised, as of September 2016) Pages 74-85 contain information on classification of maps, some of which is of a broader, more useful nature to catalogers.

Each map or map serial is cataloged as a separate record, except for maps that are intended to be part of another record, such as a planning document (e.g., an environmental impact statement or a land and resource management plan). Shipments of maps from the USGS Denver Office are classified and cataloged by a map librarian in GPO’s Library Technical Services.

Brochures and Visitor Guides Treated as Maps

Several agencies, such as the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Forest Service, issue single-sheet folded brochures and visitor guides to provide information about their parks, reserves, etc. These documents frequently include maps.

Catalog as a map any sheet primarily designed to aid in navigation of a location, regardless of the size or placement of the map image on the sheet.

Catalog a document of this type using an OCLC Maps workform, even if previous editions of the document were cataloged using the Books workform. In the past, GPO cataloged visitor guides and brochures as either books or maps, according to the relative size and predominance of any map(s) contained within the document.

Exception: A sheet which bears only a location map indicating the general whereabouts of a site within a region cannot be used for navigation within that site, and should therefore be cataloged using the OCLC Books workform. (See: Bibliographic Cataloging: General Policies: Brochures and Visitor Guides Treated as Books or Continuing Resources.)


BLM Surface/Mineral Management Maps

Surface management maps from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) bypass GPO, and go directly from the USGS Denver Office to those depository libraries on BLM’s/USGS’s mailing list. Records for these maps include a GPO item number, but not a shipping list number.

Prior to cessation of the series United States. Bureau of Land Management. Surface-minerals management status, GPO had a longstanding practice for treatment of these BLM mineral and surface management maps. These maps were classed in either I 53.11/4: or I 53.11/4-2:. GPO created separate records for the surface management maps (I 53.11/4:) and surface-minerals management maps (I 53.11/4-2:), even though these may have the same title and belong to the same series. To distinguish two such maps, a 240 field was added to the bibliographic record which contained the preferred title from the 245 field plus the addition: (Surface) for surface management maps, and (Minerals) for surface-minerals management maps. (Year of the edition also once was added, but later dropped.) For examples of records prior to 2015, see OCLC numbers 849921291 and 849921268.

Since 2015, only the Surface Management Status series (I 53.11/4:) is published, and thus renders the cataloging treatment described above unnecessary.

Serial Treatment

To qualify for serial treatment, editions of a map must meet the following three criteria:

  • issued less than five years apart
  • same size
  • same [approximate] scale
    • If all the editions lack an explicit scale statement, compare the “Scale approximately” statements that appear (or would appear) in the 255 field. A difference of up to 10,000 in the number following 1: is considered the same scale.

Do not authenticate these serial records as PCC.

Encoding Level

Map serials for the NOAA nautical charts and USGS 7.5 quadrangles are cataloged at I level. All other maps should be cataloged as PCC records if all access points can be controlled in OCLC.

086 - SuDoc Number

For more information, see: Superintendent of Documents Classification Guidelines: Cartographic Resources.

1XX - Principal Creator

Maps are usually entered under a corporate body creator (main entry), according to RDA Therefore, the issuing or originating corporate body that is considered a creator is usually entered in the 110 field. In such cases, persons who appear in a statement of responsibility are traced in the 700 field, according to the first exception in (Collaborative Works): “Corporate bodies as creators.” Cartographic materials: a manual of interpretation for AACR2 provides additional clarification in Appendix A.4B, especially in the last paragraph.1 If no corporate body can be considered the creator, then a person who appears in a statement of responsibility may be entered in the 100 field. Generally, use “cartographer” as the relationship designator for the creators of the work, including those recorded in the 100 (if no corporate body is considered the creator), 110, 700, and 710 fields. If the statement of responsibility reads “compiled by …,” use “compiler” as the relationship designator.

OCLC *922702791
110 2 Geological Survey (U.S.), ǂe cartographer.
245 10 Map showing limits of Tahoe glaciation in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California / ǂc James G. Moore and Gregory S. Mack ; in cooperation with the National Park Service.
700 1 Moore, James Gregory, ǂd 1930- ǂe cartographer.
700 1 Mack, Gregory S., ǂe cartographer.

130/240 - Unique Title for Work

For more information, see: Bibliographic Cataloging: General Policies: Distinguishing Works and Expressions with Identical Authorized Access Points.

To break a conflict with an existing access point for a different work, use the following qualifier in 130/240:

  • (Map)

To break a conflict between documents cataloged as maps, add a term such as one of the following as a second element to the (Map) qualifier:

  • [Map type – Tourist, Topographic, etc.]
  • [Projection type]
  • [Scale]
  • Visitor guide
  • Trails
  • History
  • Off-road vehicles
  • Camping
  • Boating
  • Wildlife
  • Winter
  • Summer

Map in database (OCLC): # 63351473
110 10 United States. ǂb Forest Service. ǂb Southern Region.
245 10 Conecuh National Forest, Alabama / ǂc compiled in the Regional Office, Atlanta, Ga., in 1964.
255 Scale 1:126,720 ; ǂb polyconic projection ǂc (W 86°52ʹ30ʺ--W 86°22ʹ30ʺ/N 31°15ʹ--N 31°).

Map being cataloged: CGP 1047969
110 10 United States. ǂb Forest Service. ǂb Southern Region, ǂe cartographer.
240 10 Conecuh National Forest, Alabama (Map : Albers projection)
245 10 Conecuh National Forest, Alabama / ǂc constructed in 2016 by digital methods at the Geospatial Service and Technology Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, using Forest Service Primary Base data and USGS quadrangles ; 2017 field review and additional edits were provided by the Southern Region.
255 Scale 1:126,720 ; ǂb Albers projection, central meridian at 86°37ʹ00ʺ ǂc (W 86°52ʹ30ʺ--W 86°22ʹ30ʺ/N 31°22ʹ30ʺ--N 30°52ʹ30ʺ).

245 - Title Statement

For brochures and visitor guides treated as maps, use the panel title from the front of the folded sheet, rather than a title which may appear within the neat line of the map or near the map image. Make a note on the source of title:

500 Title from panel.

255 - Cartographic Mathematical Data

For online maps that lack a scale statement, use “Scale not given.” However, if the print version has a scale statement, use that for the online version.

300 - Physical Description

For online resources, use atlas(es) or map(s) in the parentheses following 1 online resource. Maps include remote sensing images, views, sections, and other types of cartographic materials.

500 - Notes

If a GPO jacket number is printed on the map, record the number in a quoted note. This number especially helps the cataloger of a Braille transcription match it to the standard map record.

Original map: CGP 1089264
110 10 United States. ǂb National Park Service, ǂe cartographer.
245 10 Waco Mammoth : ǂb Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas / ǂc National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
500 "403-332/82219."

Braille transcription of the map, treated as a book because it does not contain an actual map: CGP 1089555
110 10 United States. ǂb National Park Service, ǂe author.
240 10 Waco Mammoth (Braille)
245 10 Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas / ǂc National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
500 "A 2019 braille transcription of the Unigrid brochure WACO 2018 403-332/82219 edition."

655 - Genre/Form Term

Multiple genre/form terms may be entered, as needed, in a single bibliographic record. Common genre/form terms for cartographic materials include:

Aeronautical charts: Use for helicopter route charts, airport charts and others navigational aids for aircraft.

Bathymetric maps: Use for nautical charts and other maps that show water depths.

Nautical charts: Use for maps that show water depths, buoys, and other features on bodies of water.

Quadrangle maps: Use for USGS and Forest Service quadrangles.

Road maps: Use for Motor vehicle maps.

Thematic maps: Use for maps about specific topics not covered in other genre headings, such as Christmas tree cutting maps.

Topographic maps: Use for maps that show topography such as USGS quadrangle maps.

Tourist maps: Use for maps from the National Park Service, National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies that show trails, recreation sites, and other features of interest to visitors.

1 Cartographic materials: a manual of interpretation for AACR2, Appendix A.4B. The last two sentences are: “If the corporate body is known to be a map-making organization that normally originates and issues cartographic materials, enter under the corporate body. If the principal responsibility for the production of the cartographic item is clearly attributed to a personal author, enter under the personal author with added entries for the associated corporate bodies.”

In the final sentence, the meaning of “clearly attributed to a personal author” is open to interpretation, therefore GPO interprets this phrase to apply only when no corporate body may be considered a creator of the cartographic resource according to RDA