Cartographic Cataloging

General Policy

This document is written for catalogers of cartographic resources in the Yale University Library system. It provides cataloging checklists and records local policy and procedures.

This document does not teach cartographic cataloging or thoroughly explain the content of map records and related MARC fields. To use this document, be familiar with cartographic cataloging rules and practices. The majority of RDA instructions relating to descriptive elements for cartographic resources are found in:

RDA Section 1 Recording Attributes of Manifestation and Item—chapters 1, 2, and 3

RDA Section 2 Recording Attributes of Work and Expression—chapters 6 and 7

Appendix B (information on abbreviations) and Appendix D (on punctuation or "surtaxes")

RDA and Cartographic Resources


New terms in RDA (compared to AACR2)

resource item
resource description bibliographic description
cartographic resources cartographic materials
element(s) field and subfield data
entity person, family, or corporate body
attributes [entity characteristics]
access points headings
creator author
contributor added author
carrier container
LC-PCC Policy Statments (LC-PCC PS) LC Rules Interpretations (LCRI)

Attributes of a work and attributes of an expression 

The attributes of a work that are unique to cartographic resources are:

  • Coordinates: degree, minutes, and seconds of longitude and latitude; for celestial charts, angles of declination and ascension that form the outer boundaries for the area
  • Equinox: for a celestial chart, the year that is the point of reference for the chart

The attributes of an expression that are unique to cartographic resources are:

  • Scale: distance as represented on the resource compared to actual distance represented on the ground
  • Projection: mathematical constructs used to represent a geographic surface that is three-dimensional on two-dimensional surface
  • Presentation Technique: the "Method used to represent geographic or other features in a cartographic image (e.g., anaglyphic, diagrammatic, pictorial, etc.)"
  • Representation of relief: the "technique used to depict elevations or the inequalities of a land surface or of the bed of the body of the water in a cartographic image (e.g., contours, shading, hachures, spot heights, bathymetric tints, soundings, etc.)
  • Geodetic, Grid, and Vertical Measurement: the "information on the spheroid used to constructs the cartographic image, the grid or referencing systems used in the image, horizontal datum, vertical datum, mathematical data on contour intervals, bathymetric intervals, etc."
  • Recording Technique: for a remote-sensing image, the remote-sensing technique used to capture the image (e.g., aerial camera, radar, multispectral scanner, etc.)
  • Special Characteristic: for a remote-sensing image, such information as altitude of the sensor, position of the platform, name of the satellite, cloud cover

Comments to: Tachtorn Meier