Cataloging the Geography and Map Division Collections

The majority of the Geography and Map Division's cataloging is full-level or complete, but the Division uses other levels of cataloging under certain circumstances. A number of years ago the Library instituted the use of minimal-level cataloging to increase the amount of material cataloged. These records can be easily recognized by the identifier MLC at the end of the call number, inserted before any filing location information.

In general, uncataloged items being added to American Memory receive an abbreviated, or adequate-level, cataloging record based on the information recorded on the folder created when the item was received and used for filing. These records can be easily recognized by the identifier TIL at the end of the call number, inserted before any filing location information.

The cataloging records for uncataloged items that have been described in a published bibliography are based on that descriptive information. These record are identified by the presence of the note Description derived from published bibliography.

The following comments, given in the order that the information is displayed, explain the general cataloging guidelines. They also point out some of the differences in the various levels of cataloging. For more information about cataloging cartographic materials, see Cataloging Tools.

TITLE. The title is transcribed from the original item. If the map carries no title one is devised from another sources or information and enclosed in square brackets. Devised titles are written by Library staff or they might come from a former owner.

The abbreviations "[sic]" and "[i.e.]" indicate erroneous spellings or information in transcribed titles. The correct information is provided as needed in the title or a note.

CREATOR. When the name of a person or a corporation that produced the item is known, only one form of the name is used, so that it is possible to retrieve all works by one creator under a single spelling or form of the name. Birth and death dates for persons are only included when such information is readily available and it is necessary to identify that person from another of the same name. If the Library of Congress form of the name was established while the creator was still alive, a death date is not usually added when the creator dies. It is expensive to update such information, and the name is already uniquely identified in the catalog.

The absence of a creator's name indicates that the creator is anonymous, unidentified, or unknown.

After the name, in a few instances, a term appears to identify the relationship(s) between the name and the work being cataloged, e.g. joint author.

CREATED/PUBLISHED. The publication information includes the place of publication, the publisher, date of publication, and, when appropriate, the place of printing, printer, and date of printing, enclosed in parentheses.

When this information is not readily available the cataloger supplies as much information as can be discerned from various clues shown as part of the publication or references sources. Information supplied from other sources are shown in square brackets.

When the single letter "c" appears before a date, it indicates the year in which the item was deposited for copyright.

NOTES. There are many types of notes. Notes provide clarification of the descriptive information or the content of the item, additional information about the item, or relationships with other works. The types of information that can be included in a note are sources of devised dates and titles, clarification of other topics shown, information about changes on this copy of the map such as a signature or other annotations, information on relief, etc.

A SUMMARY description may be included when the record was created from a published bibliography.

Minimal-level cataloging (MLC) restricts the numbers and types of notes which can be included. Adequate-level cataloging (TIL) only includes notes recorded on the folder at the time of processing.

REFERENCES. This is an abbreviated citation to a published bibliography that includes a description of the item. Many of the core cartographic collections made available are based on published bibliographies.

SUBJECTS. All cartographic items included in American Memory are assigned a hierarchical geographic subject term which starts with the name of the country (e.g., United States, Canada, etc.) or larger geographic area (e.g., North America, Europe, etc.). The primary geographic area is subdivided by a state, region, county, or city. For example United States--Alabama--Anniston or United States--New England.

Additionally, catalogers performing full- or minimal-level cataloging assign appropriate topical index terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings(LCSH) as well as controlled geographic index terms for the area covered by the map. Catalogers performing adequate-level cataloging or modifying published bibliography descriptions assign topical index terms from a controlled list of terms used in describing cartographic materials prior to 1968.

RELATED NAMES. When multiple people or corporations contribute to a production of an item, their names can be listed as related, or added, names.

OTHER TITLES: Additional titles by which the item may be known.

MEDIUM. The physical properties of the original work are described by listing the number of physical pieces (for cataloging created prior to 1981 the number one is understood but not included) and a readily recognized broad category, such as map, view, atlas, etc. This is determined by examining the item. The description is also a reminder that the physical characteristics of the original work are quite different from a digital reproduction on a computer screen.

The dimensions of a map are given as height by width in centimeters, which are rounded up to the next full centimeter. The dimensions of the sheet may also be included.

CALL NUMBER. This string of letters and numbers is used to locate the original in the collections. The Library's classification system arranges the collections geographically through the assignment of a code for each geographic area contained in an item. Within the United States, in addition to classification codes for each state, a number of regions, or groups of states (e.g., New England), are defined. A code may be included at the end of the call number to identify the filing location of the item when it is filed by collection number rather than by call number (e.g., RR 1) or is filed in a special location with the collections (e.g, Vault). The call number is a useful reference citation.

DIGITAL ID. The persistent location information for the digital file.

CONTROL NUMBER. The control number, or record identification number, for each bibliographic record is a unique identification number. It can be used to do a quick number search when you want to see a specific record without repeating a long keyword or subject search. Not all online catalogs provide an index by this number. The control number is a useful reference citation.

Cataloging Tools

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. 2nd ed., 1988 rev. Chicago: American Library Association, 1988.

Cartographic Materials: A Manual of Interpretation for AACR2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1984.

Library of Congress. Library of Congress Classification System: Glass G. 4th ed. Washington, D.C., 1976.

Library of Congress. Library of Congress Rule Interpretations. 2nd ed. 1991-   .

Library of Congress. Library of Congress Subject Headings. 21st ed. 1998.

Library of Congress. Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings. 4th ed. 1991.

Library of Congress. USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data. 1994.

Library of Congress. USMARC Format for Authority Data. 1993.

Library of Congress. Geography and Map Division. Map Cataloging Manual. 1991.

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