Cataloging Practices Manual [CPM-696]


Special Materials & Procedures

Note: Flat maps are cataloged following CPM695


  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Use LC classification for atlases and send them to BSP as usual.

Iris Wolley prepared this tip sheet for cataloging atlases.

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 record.

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.

  1. Monograph or atlas?

  2. 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.
  3. If it is an atlas

    Use the cartographic materials format. Below are positions and fields that pertain to cartographic materials.

  4. Use the MARC 21 and RDA guidelines given below for cataloging atlases

    Catalogers should consult RDA, MARC 21, BSR, and OCLC cataloging guidelines (if used for cataloging purposes) for additional rules and/or bibliographic fields.

    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
    $d Color
    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 bibliographic record

    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)

    $e Cartographer
    RDA defines a cartographer as: a person, family, or corporate body responsible for creating a map, atlas, globe, or other cartographic work.

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Last updated: 05/08/14 kmh