Maps and Other Cartographic Materials Collection - Collections


The collection is maintained by the Map & Geography Library.

The Map collection supports the curriculum and research needs of programs in the Departments of Geography, Geology, and Landscape Architecture. Many other programs, such as Commerce, History, and Urban and Regional Planning also make extensive use of the cartographic holdings. The Map collection consists of 350,000 maps, 145,000 aerial photographs, 2,700 atlases, 7 globes, 6,000 microfiche, 13,000 volumes, and 700 serial titles. Most of the collection resides in the Map & Geography Library, although the Geology Library houses 50,000 maps. Recognized as one of the nation’s largest collections of cartographic materials, the collection is the only academic affiliate to the National Cartographic Information Center.

Version Date: April, 2005


I. Collection Description


The Map & Geography Library has the primary responsibility for collecting cartographic materials (except geological maps collected by the Geology Library) to support curriculum and research needs of the University. The major programs served by the collection are those in Geography, Geology, and Landscape Architecture. Many other programs, such as Commerce, History, and Urban and Regional Planning also make extensive use of the cartographic holdings.

History of Collection:

Maps have been a part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library since its founding as the Illinois Industrial University. The First Annual Report in 1868, although not specifically listing maps, does list two guides to map series and two atlases. Gifts of maps also were recorded before 1910 and the first map case was set up in the Reference Room in September of that year. New maps have been counted annually since 1914, although the collection only increased from 2,428 in 1914 to 4,870 in 1940.

The map library moved to its present quarters in 1940 and the first full time map librarian was appointed in 1944 beginning a long tradition of map librarianship at the University. The collection has benefited greatly from depository agreements with the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, Canada’s Dept. of Energy, Mines and Resources, and significantly, our participation in the Library of Congress Summer Map Processing Project. Since the majority of maps from North America are received automatically through these depository agreements, the main focus of the selection activities is on foreign imprints. A consolidation of collections in 1944 increased the library to approximately 35,000 maps and growth has continued to be constant: 120,000 in 1950; 207,000 in 1960; 248,000 in 1970; and over 320,000 in 1980.

Estimate of Holdings:

350,000 maps; 145,000 aerial photographs; 2,700 atlases; 7 globes; 6,000 microfiche; 13,000 volumes; and 700 serial titles.

State, Regional and National Importance:

The collection at Illinois is recognized as one of the nation’s largest collections of cartographic materials and is the only academic affiliate to the National Cartographic Information Center. This cooperative agreement, with the U.S. Geological Survey, provides the Library with information files on aerial photography, LANDSAT satellite imagery, geographical names, status of mapping activities, etc.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Map & Geography Library. The Geology Library collects geologic maps and, to a much lesser extent, so does the Illinois State Geological Survey.

Location of Materials:

The major collection of cartographic materials is housed in Map & Geography, although an additional 50,000 maps are also housed in the Geology Library.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Cobb, David A. and Peter B. Ives. State Atlases: An Annotated Bibliography. Chicago: Council of Planning Librarians, 1983. (CPL Bibliography 108).

______. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Map and Geography Library, University of Illinois. 1975. (Unpub.)

______. “The Map and Geography Library at the University of Illinois: An Introduction.” Illinois Libraries 566:5 (May 1974): 383-384.

II. General Collection Guidelines


Cartographic materials are collected in all languages. English is the dominant language. European languages materials are next in importance and Eastern European, Slavic, and Asian language materials are collected more selectively.

Chronological Guidelines:

There are no restrictions, although emphasis is place upon the acquisition of current materials. Retrospective collections are especially strong for North America, Great Britain and Italy, and appropriate additions are regularly sought.

Geographical Guidelines:

No restrictions.

Treatment of Subject:

Cartographic materials are defined as including maps, aerial photographs and remote sensing imagery, atlases, microcartography, and those monographs and serials relating to cartography.

Types of Materials:

Standard statement. Of specific interest are aerial photographs of Illinois and topographic map series worldwide.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Maps & Other Cartographic Materials
Illinois (cities, counties, regions, and aerial photography) 4 Map
Great Lakes and Midwest 4 Map
United States (1:24,000-scale minimum coverage) 4 Map
Canada (1:50,000-scale coverage) 4 Map
Latin America (1:50,000-scale coverage) 3 Map
Europe (1:50,000-scale coverage; 1:25,000 for Great Britain; 1:250,000 for Scandinavia) 4 Map
Africa (1:50,000 for selected countries; 1:200. 250,000 for others) 2 Map
Asia (1:250,000 coverage) 2 Map
Australia/Oceania (1:250,000-scale coverage) 2 Map
World (major world map series) 3 Map
Atlases (emphasis on thematic, local, regional & national atlases) 4 Map
Gazetteers 4 Map
Cartobibliography/Map Librarianship 4 Map


Version Date: November 2005