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Maps and Atlas Collections

Collection Area

Map and Atlas Collection

General Purpose

The overall purpose is to provide cartographic materials in support of user needs in instructional and research activities for the College and the Dartmouth community.

The collection assists many disciplines. The largest amount of use comes from the Geography and Earth Sciences Departments at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. There is a broad user base from other instructional and research areas throughout the Dartmouth curriculum. Some of the major users in this category are History, Government, Languages, Environmental Studies, and individual programs such as African & Afro-American Studies and studies related to developing nations.

General Subject Boundaries

Collection development for the Map Room collection falls under the following Library of Congress classifications:

G 1001-3102
Atlases (i.e., all sheet maps and G class atlases and globes)

G 3160-9999

GA 101-1999
Cartography, selectively

Gazetteer (i.e., geographic place listings which give map coordinates)

Z 6021-6028
Bibliography by request


Priority is given to maps and atlases with texts in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. When there exists a unique map or atlas that is of special importance, the above guideline may be waived.

Geographic Areas

The map and atlas collection emphasizes (but is not limited to) the following (given in order of priority):
(1) Dartmouth College, 2) Hanover and the surrounding towns, 3) the state of New Hampshire, 4) the state of Vermont, 5) New England, 6) the northeastern region of the United States, 7) the polar regions, 8) the United States, Mexico and Canada, and 9) U.S.S.R.

Types Of Material Collected

The collection includes:

1. Sheet maps, atlases, and globes acquired through purchase or gift.

2. Roller maps:
a. Contemporary -- acquisition limited to those rollers of unique quality and whose subject content contributes in a significant way to the map resources.
b. Older -- consideration is given to those of historic value and/or those that relate to New Hampshire, Vermont, or New England areas (such as the Walling rollers).

3. Maps and atlases received under depository arrangements with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Defense Mapping Agency, through the Superintendent of Documents Depository Program, and through the depository program of the Canadian Department of Mines, Energy, and Resources. Approximately seventy percent of the map collection consists of these depository items.

4. Except for those maps and atlases received by one of the depository arrangements (such as the U.S.G.S. 1:24,000 orthophoto map series) the map collection does not generally acquire aerial photographs, photomaps, and photomosaics, including land satellite (landsat) photography products.

5. Braille maps, raised relief maps, and other unusual maps are acquired only as examples of a type of cartographic material.

6. Reference materials relating directly to cartography, individual map and atlas collections, and map librarianship which might class outside the above categories are also collected if they are essential to the operation of the Map Room. Basic atlases and/or other reference books may be located in other parts of the library collections.

7. Hard copy materials. These are preferred but, if the desired coverage is not available in hard copy, publications in microform and non-print format will be added.

8. Serial publications: These are limited to map bibliographies in serial form and to a few publications (for example, the Bulletin of the S.L.A. Geography and Map Division) which are of frequent and recurring use to the Map Room staff. Otherwise, serials are not added to the Map Room collection.

For related materials not covered here, see the collection development policies in Geography, Earth Sciences, for specific areas of Physics, Special Collections, and in Government Documents.

Special Collections and Manuscripts

The Map Room is the official repository of maps and atlases. However, for security reasons, many old and valuable atlases are now located in Special Collections. There are also maps associated with Dartmouth College history, the Stefansson Collection, and other collections which are housed in Special Collections.

Other Resources Available

A considerable collection of aerial photographs and landsat imagery exists within the Departments of Geography and Earth Sciences.

Revision History


LC Class


Related Policies

Environmental Studies, Geographic Information Systems/Science (GIS), Geography, Polar and Cold Regions


Lucinda M. Hall

Current Bibliographer

Lucinda M. Hall

Last Updated: 8/5/16