General Policies

Early printed atlases (usually pre-1800) in the Beinecke Library that receive original cataloging are cataloged according to the latest full national standard for descriptive cataloging. For imprints published through 1800, the national standard is Descriptive Cataloging or Rare Materials (Cartographic), known as DCRM(C). For imprints published after 1800, the national standard is Resource Description and Access (RDA).

A good on-line resource for cataloging cartographic material is the Map Cataloger’s Toolbox.

For cataloging a composite atlas (also known as an atlas factice), see the Composite Atlases cataloging instructions.

For cataloging single-sheet maps, see Map Cataloging instructions.

Select MARC Fields

Leader and directory

06: Type of record. Use the value e (cartographic material).

07: Bibliographic level. Use the value m (monograph/item).

Control field: 008

06: Type of date. Coding choices are: s (single known date/probable date); m (multiple dates) multiple dates should only be used for a multipart atlas with volume title pages bearing different dates; or q (questionable).

07-10: Date 1. Give the earliest date, or single date, from the 264 field.

11-14: Date 2. Give the latest or closing date, if present, from the 264 field.

15: Country of publication. Give the code corresponding to the place transcribed, or supplied, in the 264 field. Do not leave the place of publication as unknown; always try to make a determination of place.

25: Type of cartographic material. Use the value e (atlas).

Variable Data Fields

007 - In the 007, Physical Description Field (listed as a Fixed Field but appears in the record with variables), the “Map” selection should be applied, with the “Specific Material Designation” coded d: atlas. The remainder of the fields are usually coded as follows:

Color = a if none of the maps in the atlas are colored; c if one or more map is colored (hand-colored or otherwise)

Physical Medium = usually coded a: Paper

Type of Reproduction = code n: Not applicable

Production/Reproduction Detail = code z: Other

Positive/Negative Aspect = code n: Not applicable

034 - Coded Cartographic Mathematical Data

This field contains cartographic mathematical data, including scale, projection, and/or coordinates in coded form. Field 034 is based on information from field 255 (Cartographic Mathematical Data). Scale and coordinates are recorded in the bibliographic record in two places: in the 034 and the 255 fields. Always include both the scale and the coordinates in the 034 and 255 fields.

If the scales of the maps in the atlas are all the same, give the scale of the maps in the 034. If they differ, do not enter a number in the ‡b of the 034. Always include the scale in the 034 and 255 fields if all the scales of the maps are the same.

Atlas in which all the maps have scale 1:250,000:

034 1   ‡a a ‡b 250000

Atlas in which maps have varying scales:

034 0   ‡a a

Scale - enter scale given in 255 without spaces or commas.

Coordinates - enter in decimal degrees (ddd.dddddd [hemisphere-degrees.decimal degrees]). Use the minus sign (“-”) for S and W. To convert latitude and longitude between decimal degrees and degrees, use the following utility:

043 - Geographic Area Code

Always provide a geographic code or codes; the choice of geographic code (or codes) is usually based on the geographic names and/or subdivisions in 6XX subject added entry and index term fields. For multiple codes, they are recorded in order of importance, which is generally the same order as the geographic names and/or subdivisions in the 6XX fields.

052 - Geographic classification

Always provide a geographic classification code which represents the geographic area and, if applicable, the geographic subarea and populated place name covered by an item. The geographic code can provide more precise geographic access than the codes contained in field 043 (Geographic Area Code). Each main geographic area code and any related subarea codes associated with the item are contained in a separate 052 field. Subfield $d (Populated Place Name) may contain the name of the geographic area.

Always use a geographic classification code derived from the Library of Congress Classification-Class G and expanded Cutter number lists for place names. The geographic classification code for atlases contains a four to six-character numeric code that consists of the appropriate classification number from the range G1000-G3100 by dropping the letter G. Cutter numbers for place names in the United States are also published in Geographic Cutters. The Library of Congress maintains the Library of Congress Classification, Geographic Cutters, and the Cutter number lists.

255 - Cartographic Mathematical Data

This field contains mathematical data associated with cartographic material, including a statement of scale, statement of projection, and/or coordinates.

For atlases with maps of varying scales, give Scales differ.

255     ‡a Scales differ.

If all of the maps within an atlas are the same scale, give the scale in the 255.

255     ‡a Scale 1:250,000.

For further details in determining scale, see Appendix J of DCRM(C).

For further details in determining coordinates, see Appendix K of DCRM(C).

Select Rules

Early letter forms and transcription

Transcribe early letter forms according to section 0G. Transcription and Appendix G. Early Letter Forms and Symbols in DCRM(C).

Chief source of information for an atlas

0C2.1 Single title page. The chief source of information for an atlas is the title page. If information traditionally given on the title page is given on two facing pages or on pages on successive leaves, with or without repetition, treat all of these pages as the chief source of information.

However, if the atlas bears a cover issued by the publisher, and the cover contains all the elements typically given on a title page but with more recent information than that provided on the title page (e.g., a later edition statement and publication date), choose the cover as the chief source of information. Make a note indicating that the cover has been chosen as the chief source of information.

0C2.2 Multiple title pages. If the atlas has more than one title page, choose as the chief source of information one of the following, applying the first applicable criterion:

a) If the title pages present the atlas in different aspects (e.g., as an individual publication and as part of a multipart monograph), prefer the one that corresponds to the aspect in which the atlas is to be treated.

b) If the atlas is in more than one volume, each of which has a title page, use the title page in the first volume (or the lowest numbered volume if the first volume is not available).

c) If the atlas is in one volume and the chief difference between multiple title pages is imprint date, choose the one with the latest date.

d) If the atlas is in one volume and the chief difference between two title pages is that one is letterpress and the other is not, choose the letterpress title page.

e) If the atlas has the same title page in more than one language or script, choose the title page that is in the language or script of the main part of the atlas.

f) If two title pages face one another, choose the one on the recto of its leaf.

g)If two or more title pages follow one another, choose the first one.

Make a note indicating the source chosen as the chief source of information if other than the usual title page, or, in a multipart monograph, if other than the title page of the first volume.

0C2.3 No title page. For atlases issued without a title page (and for atlases issued with a title page when the title page is missing and no reliable description of it is available), if a single title proper is available in a single source within the atlas, use this source as the title page substitute. If the same title proper is available in more than one source within the atlas, choose as the title page substitute the source that supplies the most additional information. If different titles, or differing forms of the same title, appear within the atlas, choose as the title page substitute one of the following, in this order of preference:

a) a source within the preliminaries or the colophon

b) a source elsewhere within the atlas

c) a reference source

Make a note indicating the source chosen as the title page substitute.

Statement of responsibility

1F1. General rule. Treat as statements of responsibility those phrases that relate to the persons or corporate bodies who have contributed to the intellectual or artistic content of the cartographic material (e.g., author, cartographer, draftsman, engraver, governmental mapping agency, illuminator, reviser, editor, surveyor, designer, etc.).

1F3. Statements of responsibility on other sources. If a statement of responsibility appears in a source other than the chief source of information, or is taken from outside the material, record the statement and its source in a note.

1F5. Single statements of responsibility with two or more names. Transcribe a single statement of responsibility as such whether the two or more persons or corporate bodies named in it perform the same function or different functions.

If the relationship between the title of a work and the person(s) or body (bodies) named in the statement of responsibility is not clear, supply an explanatory word or short phrase in the language of the text, within square brackets, or make a note.

If considered important, make a note about expansions, explanations, and corrections of statements of responsibility when needed for clarity.

Physical description

5B1.1. Specific material designation. Give the extent of the material using an Arabic numeral followed by a term that indicates its specific material designation. Record the term in the singular or plural, as applicable.

1 atlas

Prefer one of the nine terms listed in 5B1.2. as an indication of the specific material designation.

5B3.1. For an atlas issued in one volume (or other physical unit), give the number of leaves, pages, or columns in parentheses after the specific material designation, as instructed in 5B3-5B13.

Account for every leaf in the atlas, including leaves of text, leaves of plates, and blank leaves, but not leaves added as part of the binding or the binding itself.

Example (with 27 separate map titles in atlas)

300     ‡a 1 atlas ([35] leaves of plates) : ‡b 27 maps

Example (with 21 separate map titles in atlas)

300     ‡a 1 atlas ([44] leaves of plates (some folded)) : ‡b 21 maps


7A4. Local versus general notes

7A4.1. Carefully distinguish local notes (which record copy-specific information for material issued or produced in multiple copies) from general notes (which record information valid for all copies of the material being cataloged). By their nature, unique items such as manuscript maps cannot exist in multiple copies, and thus will have only general notes. For many older materials, it will not be readily ascertainable whether the characteristics of a single copy are in fact shared by other copies. In case of doubt, consider that the characteristics of the copy in hand are not shared by other copies and therefore use local notes.

Restriction on access notes (506) precede copy specific notes (590). All other notes follow. Restriction on access notes (506) and copy specific notes (590) always begin with BEIN [call no.]: Line-breaks in call numbers are indicated by spaces.

If the copy specific information is not extensive, a single 590 note per copy suffices. For clarity’s sake, several copy specific notes for the same copy may be made, each beginning with BEIN [call no.]. This is the case with long runs of serials with issues which have come from numerous sources with various provenance. In general note the copy specific information in the order given below.

Order of notes


Copy Specific Notes

General Notes

Bibliographic references. Cite a list or bibliography when it would serve to distinguish an edition (or variant) from similar editions (or variants), when it would substantiate information provided by the cataloger, or when it would provide a more detailed description of the publication being cataloged.

See Cartographic Materials Bibliographies for those bibliographies most often cited.


510 4   ‡a Pastoureau, M. Atlas français, XVIe-XVIIe siècles, ‡c Jaillot II B, 125

Access Points

Name and Title Access Points (1xx, 246, 7xx)

All name and title access points required by the latest national standards are made. Generous name access points are made to bring out contributors such as editors, engravers, printers, cartographers, surveyors, publishers and issuing bodies.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (6xx)

For items receiving full-level cataloging, subject headings are assigned according to the latest edition of LC Subject Headings and the LC Subject Cataloging Manual.

In particular, determine the nature of the atlas: general vs. topical.

Example of a general work on France

651   0 ‡a France ‡v Maps.

Examples of topical works

650   0 ‡a Pilot guides ‡z France.

650   0 ‡a Geology ‡z France ‡v Maps.

Note: The subject subdivision “Atlases” can only be used for scientific or technical works consisting of comprehensive, often systematically arranged, collections of illustrative plates, charts, etc., usually with explanatory captions.

650   0 ‡a Human anatomy ‡v Atlases.

Genre/form Tracings

Always add the following Library of Congress genre/form tracing. Use multiple tracings, when appropriate (for example, an atlas of nautical charts would have two genre/form tracings, “Atlases” and “Nautical charts”).

655   7 ‡a Atlases. ‡2 lcgft

For further genre/form headings, see the Genre/form term list on the Map Cataloging page.

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