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Geography and Map Division


arrow graphicMARC Maps
Atlas Collection
Title Collection
Set Maps
Special Collections
Reference Collection







The MARC Map Collection consists of the relatively small portion of the map collections for which there are records in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Most maps acquired since 1968 have been made available on the MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) database, searchable online with bibliographic access by geographic area, title, author, and subject, as well as by call number. Cataloging records for current acquisitions and the maps included in American Memory continue to be added to the automated system.

Library of Congress Subject Headings are used in map cataloging records, but few if any records of interest to historians will be located by using “women” for a subject search. Historical sites related to women, a map showing women and minorities in the 100th Congress, local maps created by the League of Women Voters, and a very small number of miscellaneous maps are identified in this kind of search. More fruitful headings are broad subjects that locate thematic material such as “landownership,” “population,” “health care,” “birth and death rates,” and “cancer mortality.” Although recent material makes up the bulk of the MARC Map Collection, selected county landownership maps, panoramic maps, historic urban plans, many of the printed maps pertaining to the United States dated prior to 1800, and manuscript maps are also frequently fully cataloged and are in this category.

The MARC Map Collection is arranged by call number, which is determined first by format, followed by geographic area, date, and subject. This collection is a good place to begin a research project because you can do your initial searching in the Library's online catalog before visiting the Geography and Map Division. Though representing only a small portion of the total cartographic resources of the Library, maps searchable online represent a good cross-section of the Geography and Map Division's complete holdings, particularly Americana. Online cataloging records may lead you to other cartographic material for a given place and time period. The full cataloging record for a particular map may also include contents notes that describe some of the information shown on the item.

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