Special Materials & Procedures
Note: Flat maps are cataloged following
Iris Wolley prepared this tip sheet for cataloging atlases.
Prior to the late 1990s the prevailing thought was that atlases were just
like books and so the "books" format was used for the bibliographic
record. Format integration in 1996 allowed the use of coding for content
beyond the carrier. From the late 1990s on atlases have been considered
to be cartographic materials and current rules and practices require
atlases to be cataloged in cartographic format. RDA defines an atlas as
"A unit of extent of cartographic resource that is a volume of maps or
other cartographic content with or without descriptive text." Libraries
that have made local decisions to catalog atlases as books should not use
MARC 21 fields specific to cartographic material in the bibliographic
This guideline provides basic tips about cataloging atlases. It addresses
how to determine a monograph from an atlas, provides MARC 21 fields
specific to atlases, and gives some RDA information about atlases.
- Atlases should be processed in MPS, if a standard record in map
format is found in OCLC (OCLC record with Type: e and Blvl:
m in the fixed fields).
- If there is no standard record in OCLC, and the location is eligible
for Precat (e.g. it is not ave, ref, or leh,atls, etc.) , a preliminary
record in book format using the regular Precat bibliographic record
template (Type of Record: a and Bibliographic Level: m )
needs to be created in CLIO and the atlas can be processed for Precat. An
atlas that is processed for Precat as a book will at some point either
get batch matched by OCLC or cataloged originally with the appropriate
Bibliographic type record.
- Atlases that are received as part of the SACAP (South Asia) shipments
are selected for location leh,atls. See
CPM 500 for the
correct coding of the t.p. verso for that location and set the item type
to non-circ. Atlases selected for location leh,atls lacking
standard copy should be routed to OSMC (with a tracking record) and should not
be processed for Precat.
- Use LC classification for atlases and send them to BSP as usual.
Return to CPM Table of Contents
- Monograph or atlas?
- If there are fewer than 50% maps in a resource it might be a
- If the maps, regardless of amount, serve only as illustrations to
points made in the text the resource is a monograph
- The word "atlas" in the title doesn't imply that the resource is
an atlas -- use the guidelines and cataloger judgment
- If there are more than 50% maps in a resource it is probably an
- Maps in an atlas provide content (that is they do not merely serve
as illustrations of points in the text)
- The title usually includes the word "atlas"--but its presence does
not, if itself, mean the resource is an atlas
- Atlases may contain statements that relate to the cartographer
name(s)--these may be personal names or corporate bodies
- If it is a monograph
Use the textual monograph bibliographic record. Treat the contents as
textual monographs. The bulleted information below advises not to use MARC
21 fields for cartographic material.
- The 034 and 255 fields are not used with textual monographs
- The relationship designator, "cartographer" should not be used
with any 1XX or 7XX fields
- The G classification for maps and atlases is not used--class for
- No 006/007 fields are used
- If it is an atlas
Use the cartographic materials format. Below are positions and fields
that pertain to cartographic materials.
- Type of Record: e
- Type of cartographic material: e (atlas)
- Complete the remaining codes for the Leader and 008 as
- Add an 007 for cartographic material
- Use the MARC 21 and RDA guidelines given below for cataloging
Catalogers should consult RDA, MARC 21, BSR, and OCLC cataloging
guidelines (if used for cataloging purposes) for additional rules and/or
Variable Control Fields
007 Physical Description Fixed Field
RDA does not address codes for 006/007 fields used in MARC 21 data format.
The subfields below address all possible fields. Required use in PCC
records is given in parentheses.
$a Category of material = a
$b Specific material description = d
a = one color
c = multicolored
| = no attempt to code
$e Physical medium
a = paper (used more often)
If the physical medium is not "paper" consult MARC 21 for other codes used
in this field
$f Type of reproduction
Use code "n" if not a reproduction
$g Production/reproduction details: Photographic technique used to produce
the cartographic item
Use "z" if item not a reproduction
Use code "n" if the item is not a reproduction or film
Variable Data Fields
In addition to the variable fields associated with a resource (245, 264,
etc.) use the fields or information specific for atlases given below. RDA
core and/or PCC core in parentheses follow the field or subfields.
034: Coded Cartographic Mathematical Data
$a Category of scale (RDA core; PCC core)
052: Geographic Classification (PCC core)
Use the appropriate classification code that represents the geographic
area, and if applicable, the geographic subarea and populated place name
covered by an item.
255: Cartographic Mathematical Data
$a Statement of scale (RDA core; PCC core)
$b Statement of projection (if given; transcribe what is on resource) (RDA
core; PCC core)
$c Statement for coordinates (PCC core for longitudes and latitudes) Giving
coordinates is easy. Use Bounding Box
Copy and paste can be used to place information in the
300: Physical Description (RDA core; PCC core)
$a 1 atlas (# of pages)
$b complete as usual ("maps" will always be input)
$c complete as usual
1XX/7XX $e Relator term (relationship designator)
RDA defines a cartographer as: a person, family, or corporate body
responsible for creating a map, atlas, globe, or other cartographic work.
- There should be an explicit statement as to the cartographer who
created the maps. Cartographers can be persons or corporate bodies.
Statements about compiling the maps or about issuing an atlas are not
considered explicit statements regarding use of the relationship
- LC G&M catalogers don't use relationship designators with their
map cataloging. Their thoughts are that the definitions given in RDA are
not adequate for the roles of those making or publishing maps. For
example they would not use the relationship designator, "issuing body" or
- There are records in OCLC that include $e Cartographer without the
presence of an explicit statement as to role of the person or corporate
body being the cartographer. These are not correct and should not be used
as examples to follow.
Last updated: 05/08/14 kmh