Composite Atlases

General Policies

Composite atlases (also called “atlas factices”) in the Beinecke Library which receive original cataloging are cataloged according to the the instructions in Appendix N of Descriptive Cataloging or Rare Materials (Cartographic), known as DCRM(C).

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

This documentation is guidance for cataloging a composite atlas as a whole; for documentation on cataloging individual maps within a composite atlas see Map Cataloging instructions.

For atlases that are not composite atlases, see the Atlases cataloging instructions.

Definition: Composite atlas (also called “atlas factice”)
An atlas made up of a selection of previously issued maps. It may be bound or loose-leaf.


When cataloging newly acquired composite atlases, follow the following method of treatment:

  • Create a bibliographic record for the atlas, with or without a contents note, and create separate bibliographic records for each map contained in the atlas.
  • Link the individual bibliographic records according to the Bound-With documentation.

The recataloging of composite atlases already located in the Beinecke Library will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Historical Note: Most composite atlases at the Beinecke were previously cataloged at the collection-level, rarely with a contents note. These volumes may or may not have manuscript or printed contents bound in.

Select MARC Fields(collection-level records)

[For documentation on cataloging individual maps within a composite atlas, see Map Cataloging instructions.]

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) or m (multiple dates). Multiple dates should only be used for a multipart atlas with volume title pages bearing different dates.

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. If the place is unknown, give the code xx_.

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 of the maps in the atlas have been issued colored

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 composite 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

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 is derived from the Library of Congress Classification-Class G and expanded Cutter number lists for place names. The geographic classification code contains a four to six-character numeric code that consists of the appropriate classification number from the range G3190-G9980 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 a statement of bounding coordinates.

For a composite atlas with maps of varying scales, give Scales differ.

255     ‡a Scales differ.

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

255     ‡a Scales 1:250,000.

For further details in determining scale, see the following documentation.

Select Rules from DCRM(C)

1XX field: Main Entry

The main entry heading is determined by application of the appropriate cataloging rules. Title main entry is appropriate for many composite atlases. A 1XX name main entry is appropriate when the name of the publisher, distributor, etc., of the atlas has been identified or when all maps in the atlas have the same creator(s) or emanate from the same corporate body.

245: Title statement

If the composite atlas bears a title page, or title page substitute, transcribe the title and any statements of responsibility as instructed in 1A-1F.

If no title page is present, construct a title for the atlas and enclose it in square brackets. Devised titles should generally be in the language and script of the cataloging agency and should be both descriptive and distinctive, highlighting the factor(s) that characterize the atlas as a whole. Strive for consistency in title construction across composite atlases. Always include in the supplied title the name of the geographic area covered, if possible.

245 0 0 ‡a [Composite atlas of Europe].

With added note:

500     ‡a A collection of 42 maps published by the Homann Erben firm, issued between 1710 and 1748, made by various cartographers besides Johann Baptist Homann: Johann Matthias Hase, Tobias Mayer, and Alsonso de Ovalle.

260 Field: Publication, distribution, production, etc. (Imprint)

If the composite atlas bears a title page, or title page substitute, and one or more elements relating to publication, distribution, production, etc., are present, transcribe them as instructed in 4A-4G.

If any elements are lacking, or if the atlas has no title page, supply elements as appropriate. Enclose each supplied element in square brackets and include a question mark if the supplied element is conjectural. If no place of publication, distribution, production, etc., can be identified, supply the phrase “place not identified.” If no publisher, distributor, etc., can be identified, supply the phrase “publisher not identified.” Use the date of the latest map in the atlas as the basis for estimating the date of publication, distribution, production, etc., of the atlas, in the absence of other evidence.

300: Physical description

Extent. Use the specific material designation atlas.

Give the extent of a cartographic item. In the case of atlases, give the number of physical units.

1 atlas

Add to the statement of extent for an atlas the pagination or number of volumes as instructed in 5B3-5B20.

Dimensions. Give the dimensions of the atlas as instructed in 5D2.


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


Restriction on access

Copy Specific Notes

Imperfections (590)

Provenance (590)

Binding information (590)

Bound-with notes (590)

Manuscript material in printed works (590)

Material shelved separately (590)

General Notes

Bibliographical variants (500 sometimes in combination with 590)

Limited edition notes (500 sometimes in combination with 590)

Signatures (500) (Rarely used)

Issued in case (500)

Added engraved title page (500) (Rarely used)

Illustrated title page (500)

Citations of standard bibliographies (510)

Advertising matter (500 or 590)

Contents note (500)

Imperfections.When not describing maps individually (i.e., creating individual bibliographic records for each map) put any imperfection notes in the bibliographic record for the atlas.

590     ‡a BEIN 1975 Folio 31: Imperfect: map 31 (Regni Daniae) mutilated, with some loss of text.

Recording provenance information. Local notes (and associated tracings) that pertain to the entire volume are added to the collection-level record (as well as to any individual record).

590     ‡a BEIN 1982 Folio 10: Armorial bookplate: Charles Abbot.

Local notes (and associated tracings) that pertain to only a single item rather than the entire volume are added to the record for that item only.

590     ‡a BEIN 1982 Folio 10: Inscription at head of title: Andw. Moxon. No. 7 of 43 maps bound together.

[Note: autograph appears only on this item; not noted in records for other forty-two items.]

Recording binding information. Local notes (and associated tracings) are added to the records for each item in the volume, as well as the collection-level record.

590     ‡a BEIN 1982 Folio 10: Printed waste used in binding. No. 3 of 43 maps bound together.

[Note: printed waste noted in records for all forty-three items.]

Bound-with Notes. When cataloging each map separately in a composite atlas, make the following notes:

Provide a local note giving the position of the item relative to the total number of items in the volume:

590     ‡a BEIN 1982 Folio 10: No. 7 of 43 maps bound together.

General Notes

Nature and scope. Always note that the item is a composite atlas, and include an indication of its geographic coverage, unless the information is apparent from the rest of the description. Make other notes on the nature or scope of the atlas, including any unusual or unexpected features, if considered important.

500     ‡a A composite atlas.
500     ‡a Also covers the eastern coast of the United States.
500     ‡a Relief shown pictorially. Depths shown by soundings.

General note (Source of title)

Always note the source of title, if other than a title page.

500     ‡a Title devised by cataloger.

Contents. For a composite atlas cataloged only at the collection-level (i.e. the maps are not cataloged individually), transcribe formal contents notes from accompanying contents lists, either hand-written or printed. If there is no accompanying contents list, transcribe the individual map titles when instructed. For publications in two or more volumes, generally transcribe the volume or part designations as found.

Access Points

Name Access Points (1xx and 7xx)

All name access points made are done according to the latest national standards. There are two options in creating name access points for composite atlases

1. When the individual maps within the composite atlas ARE NOT cataloged separately, generous name access points are made in the bibliographic record for the atlas to bring out contributors such as editors, engravers, printers, cartographers, surveyors, publishers and issuing bodies.

2. When the individual maps within the composite atlas ARE cataloged separately, provide minimal name access in the bibliographic record for the atlas.

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 Headings Manual.

For the main bibliographic record for the composite atlas, 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 Tracings

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

655   7 ‡a Composite atlases. ‡2 lcgft


Provide the following note in the holdings for the atlas:

852 8 0 ‡b beingen ‡h 1982 ‡i Folio 10 ‡z A composite atlas of 42 maps. To view individual map titles search by call number: 1982 Folio 10.

Always include the complete contents of the composite atlas, including material other than maps.

852 8 0 ‡b beingen ‡h 1973 ‡i Folio 30 ‡z A composite atlas of 32 maps and 1 table. To view individual titles search by call number: 1973 Folio 30.

Important Note: create an item record for the bibliographic record of the composite atlas and not for any individual map. Link all subsequent bibliographic records for maps to this item record (see Bound-With Volumes for complete instructions).