Category Archives: cataloging

Geologic Maps of Turkey = Türkiye jeoloji haritaları

Isparta, TurkeyWe acquired an incredible collection of several Turkish Geological Maps this summer. Thank you to Liz Catlos and her students for the time and effort it took to collect these maps and have them delivered to us!

And this week we finally finished cataloging and processing them, so you can now peruse them in the stacks at your leisure. Included are geological surveys, landslide inventories, and active fault inventories.

An earthworm for a bookworm

Worm’s-eye views is a Library of Congress cartographic materials genre term. In terms of drafting, photography, and cinema, a worm’s-eye view offers the perspective of the world as seen from the ground.

Although worm could refer to many creatures, even to ancient serpents or dragons, I most often think of the earthworm. Earthworms do not even have eyes- they have photoreceptors. Maybe I unfairly stereotype earthworms as creatures that exist and toil with no interest in their marvelous nature nor in their important role in the cycle of life. So how would a worm gain a gloriously unique perspective of insight and beauty?

Your stars, they wound me

Astrobleme, or star wound, is a vivid synonym for impact structure. I came across this term in Philippe Bouysse’s Explanatory Notes for the Geological Map of the World.

Bouysse also included this quote on the title pages:

«Ce qui est simple est toujours faux. Ce qui ne l’est pas est inutilisable.» Paul Valéry (Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942)

Geological map of the world sheet 1


The Disambiguation of Isoline

The Geology Library recently acquired several maps published by the Commission for the Geological Map of the World. The Tectonic Map of Antarctica shows, among other things, “isolines of sub-ice bedrock relief in central East Antarctica: a) sea-level; b) above sea level; c) below sea level.”Tectonic Map of Antarctica


Isolines are considered in map cataloging as “Relief shown by contour lines.”

According to the OED:


1944  V. Conrad Methods in Climatol. xiii. 167  Isolines..are fully analogous to contour lines, or to the equipotential lines used in physics… Closed isolines surrounding a region indicate that this is either depressed or elevated.

Contour lines n. a line representing the horizontal contour of the earth’s surface at a given elevation; the contour line of a mountain at a given height represents the edge of a horizontal plane cutting the mountain at that height; a series of such lines at successive elevations laid down on a map shows the elevations and depressions of the surface.

Isopachyte: A line on a map or diagram joining points below which a particular stratum or group of strata has the same thickness.

But Isoline is also an opera based “on a text by Catulle Mendès, with music by André Messager.” Although Isoline has an intriguing plot of faeries, love, and gender changes, the opera was not considered a success. Mostly this opera is remembered for a ballet sequence (of which the University Libraries owns a couple of copies, e.g. Messager, André, 1853-1929 ; Suites from the ballets Isoline & Les deux pigeons. Fine Arts Library Remote Storage PHNDISC MU 33,073).

G.E. Grikurov, L. Leychenkov, Tectonic Map of Antarctica, CCGM-CGMW 2012.

It’s unreal!

Cataloging maps can be intense. Maps are dense with information, cataloging is dense with rules.

And maps don’t even have to be “drawing or other representation of the earth’s surface or a part of it made on a flat surface” (OED)! Maps can be fictional or imaginary, can be proposed visions of reality.

The existence of fictional maps was an obvious, but overlooked, complication. I took for granted the maps published on the inside of book covers or inserted casually into text.

What do creators of these imaginary maps consider to be a map? Are the creators thinking of scale, relief, data, projection, surveys? I admit that I have always looked on these maps as interesting illustrations, drawings that were more aesthetic than informative or accurate, drawings that were creative and crude, calligraphic and sketchy, much like the culture at a Renaissance Faire.

The Library of Congress classification system has provided headings for Imaginary places, e.g. Middle Earth (Imaginary place). A quick browse through the headings to describe the imaginary, mythical, fabled, and fantastic quickly turns unreal. Imaginary bookplates. Imaginary books and libraries. Even Imaginary conversations, which could catalog the imaginal dialogues about this blog.

Others outside the library realm, such as Jonathon Crowe, have asked their own questions about Maps in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

QE 344 A19

Ever wonder what was at call number QE 344 A19? Wonder no more! The Publication series of the Geological Survey of Queensland was cataloged at QE 344 A19. The QE represents the Library of Congress  Subject Geology, while the 344 is the geographical subdivision Queensland, Australia.

So now you may be wondering why you don’t see these publications in our stacks. It’s because we moved them into the Library Storage Facility (LSF). We recently received a massive gift of geological materials and have been madly processing, cataloging, and moving some materials in to the stacks and out to LSF to make room for even more books and maps.


That’s swale!

I am cataloging a map of Mars with the following topographic features: ridge crests, berms, swales, scarp crests, and crater forms. I looked up the definitions and found swell-and-swale topography in the AGI Glossary.

swell-and-swale topography  A low-relief, undulating landscape characteristic of the ground moraine of a continental glacier, exhibiting gentle slopes and well-rounded hills interspersed with shallow depressions.

Rock drawings, rock drawings

When I read the term “rock drawings,” I wasn’t sure what it meant exactly, even though I felt it should be obvious. Was a “rock drawing” a drawing of a rock or a drawing on a rock? Yes, I answered! Did I find that answer helpful? No! So, I went on a quest to find out how the term applies for cataloging maps.

OCLC told me that in terms of relief, a rock drawing is a relief rock drawing. Mm-hmm.

  • Rock drawings. Item is a relief rock drawing.

The OED confirmed my question.

  • rock drawing n. (a) pictorial representation of a rock; (b) a picture drawn on a rock.

In the first map cataloging resources that I looked in, “rock drawings” was either ignored or cited with OCLC’s definition. Some of OCLC’s other options for representations of relief could be used to represent rocks, so how did “rock drawings” stand out in cartographic technique from shading, tinting, hachures, pictorial symbols, or land forms?

Then I found references to swisstopo and Imhof, with some examples of rock drawing relief.

“The maps of the Federal Office of Topography swisstopo – the Swiss national mapping agency – are renowned for their combination of shaded relief, contour lines, scree rendering and rock drawing, which creates the so-called Swiss style of topographic mapping…. Swiss style maps generate a strong three-dimensional relief impression by combing shaded relief with rock drawing and scree patterns that together simulate the effect of an illuminated terrain surface.” — B. Jenny, Rock drawing for topographic maps.

Map of Canton of Glarus

So, obviously or not, the answer is that for maps, “rock drawings” refers to the drawings of rocks.

Maps emanate too : divine and earthly maps

From a cataloguer’s viewpoint:

“Consider a work to have emanated from a corporate body if it is issued by that body or has been caused to be issued by that body or if it originated with that body.”– AACR2, Rule 21.1B2 footnote

From the OED:

“Emanation: a.  The process of flowing forth, issuing, or proceeding from anything as a source. lit. and fig. Often applied to the origination of created beings from God; chiefly with reference to the theories that regard either the universe as a whole, or the spiritual part of it, as deriving its existence from the essence of God, and not from an act of creation out of nothing. Also, in Theology, used to denote the ‘generation’ of the Son, and the ‘procession’ of the Holy Ghost, as distinguished from the origination of merely created beings.”

Geologically speaking:

“1830    C. Lyell Princ. Geol. (1875) II.  ii. xxx. 146  Fissures..from which mephitic vapours emanated.”