New Publications, a Completed Retrospective Conversion Project, and Discussions on Maps-L: Miscellaneous Events in Map Cataloging

Once again we are between meetings of ALA. With the Annual Conference coming up in about a month, and with my report on the Midwinter meeting having appeared in the April base line, it feels like a quiet time in the map cataloging world. Of course, there are a lot of things going on behind the scenesall the continuing activities that we will be updated on in Washington D.C., for those who attend the Annual Conference, and in my next cataloging column for those who are not able to be there. For this issue I'll try to take note of events and items of importance that have come to my attention since the Midwinter meeting, mostly through Maps-L, and also take a look back at what map catalogers have been discussing on the net.

Congratulations were posted on Maps-L in December to the University of California, Berkeley, on the completion of their retrospective conversion project for map records. They actually finished the conversion in July, but notice of it was received on Maps-L when the issue of WAML News & Notes (the Western Association of Map Libraries' newsletter) containing an article on the completion of the project was posted to the list. The project converted 33,000 records between 1980 and 1997, finding copy for only about 20% of the maps.

In late January it was announced that the Federal Geographic Data Committee had published The Framework Introduction and Guide, the result of a collaborative effort to put together a summary of the most common themes of geographic data.

I became aware of a publication that could be a useful reference book for some map catalogers through an announcement posted to Autocat, the cataloging and authorities discussion list, in January. (I don't know if this also appeared on Maps-L.) The book is Fire Insurance Maps, Their History and Application by Diane L. Oswald, published by Lacewing Press of College Station, Texas.

It was announced at the end of February that the Special Libraries Association Geography and Map Division had published Map Cataloging Bibliography: Selectively Annotated, edited by Glenda Jo Fox Hughes and Constance Demetracopoulos. This is the division's Special Publication number 4.

Also in February, OCLC issued guidelines to assist catalogers in creating records for electronic resources. The guidelines adopted the definition of "electronic" used by the Library of Congress in its Interim Guidelines for Cataloging Electronic Resources, and also the change in the usage of record type m for computer files, which greatly restricted its use. As cartographic materials in electronic formats were already being coded as type "e" for the cartographic content rather than for the electronic carrier, this has little effect on the cataloging of these materials on OCLC. The guidelines also discuss the option of using separate records for electronic and non-electronic versions of an item versus creating a single record for both formats, stating that the use of separate records is preferred.

In an item of some interest to map catalogers, it was announced in late May that MAGERT was posting to its web page the first of a new series of electronic publications, an updated version of Mary Larsgaard's "Helpful Hints for Small Map Collections." The text encapsulates in six pages the essentials of establishing a map collection, including several good reasons to catalog maps and a strong recommendation to classify the collection using the LC Schedule G. A subsequent message to Maps-L from Mary Larsgaard thanked David Allen for updating the piece and putting it on the Web, and asked that Katherine Rankin be added as an author in recognition of the work that she had done in getting this out.

Running through my collection of cataloging related messages posted to Maps-L since mid-Novemberthe last time I reported on thisI would note that activity is once again sporadic and light. In roughly chronological order there have been the following requests for map cataloging information: for help in determining the date of an old map of Scotland; for opinions on whether to use SuDoc classification for U.S. government maps to be retrospectively converted using Marcive records; on how to handle the publisher data on an item that had the name of one publisher on the map and the name of another on the cover in which it was enclosed; for help in cataloging an old aerial photograph; for help in determining the dates for several maps published by A.J. Nystrom; for providing subject access to the map of a town that was proposed and platted but never built; for help in determining the publisher on another map containing conflicting publisher information; for clarification of why USGS changed the title of its "I" series; on where to find the list of OCLC numbers for GPO's "mother" records for each state for the 7.5 minute topographic maps; for advice on training staff in the copy cataloging of maps; for guidance on whether to catalog a sheet map and a microfilm copy of same using the one record approach; for help in locating map records in OCLC Export Format for use in a project to convert MARC formatted records to FGDC metadata format; and for information regarding the setup of map cataloging work areas.

At least three questions appeared on Autocat, dealing with physical description and map coordinates. The problems involved how to describe two different maps with different titles that are on the same sheet; and a map with an accompanying pamphlet, both in an envelope; and whether to extrapolate when recording coordinates.

It can be seen that many of the questions on Maps-L have involved specific problems relating only to the map-in-hand. The Autocat questions were all of more general applicability and elicited some useful suggestions. The questions relating to determining the publisher of a map can be answered in part by noting that maps originally published by one entity are frequently republished by someone else, or one publisher's map may be used as a base map to which additional data are added by another corporate body. One good suggestion for the city that was never built was to add "(Proposed)" as a qualifier to the name of the city, although I don't believe it was ever verified that this was allowed under the subject cataloging guidelines associated with LCSH. The two maps on one sheet problem is clearly analogous to the more general case of any two different items being issued together, more commonly illustrated by two works being bound together in the same physical book without a collective title. The problem of a map and accompanying material in an envelope did not seem to have a definitive answer. The main disagreement was about whether to put "in envelope" in subfield ‡c or subfield ‡e or both. The decision on whether to extrapolate map coordinates to the edges of the map rather than using the first and last coordinates encountered in each direction is clearly optional.

Well, that's about it for the quiet time before the next ALA meeting. My next column will be back to the more usual content of ALA meeting reports.

Mark Crotteau