Dartmouth College Library Bulletin

Thesis Topics: Ready-Made



Two groups of material in the Map Room that have not been discussed in previous issues of the Library Bulletin are 1) an aerial photography collection purchased in 1990 jointly by the Library and the Geography Department, and 2) Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Both groups contribute to the study of the New Hampshire-Vermont region. The description of the photographs, taken from the purchase record, is as follows: 'An aerial photography collection of 1000 plus negatives (panchromatic, color & color infra-red) and about 2,500 aerial photographic prints of portions of NH, VT & ME. A collection of airphoto index sheets and flight-line maps pertaining to the above collection.' There are two other clusters of aerial photographs that have been long resident in the Map Room. One is a group of thirty-three pieces in a portfolio given the title of [Aerial Photographs of Hanover Township in N.H.]. These were produced by the Photographic Interpretation Corporation in 1971. The other is a collection, in two boxes, taken of the Hanover, Lebanon, and Lyme region dating from 1955.

The Flood Insurance Rate Maps have been received since approximately 1978 and are cataloged as either [State of New Hampshire, Flood Insurance Maps ] or [State of Vermont, Flood Insurance Maps ] in G-3741-C3z-svar-N37 and G-37s1-C3z-svar-N-37 respectively. There is extensive coverage for each state and usually each map is in several sections, depicting the floodplains. For the Hanover region there is coverage, for example, for Hartford, Norwich, Windsor, and Hartland in Vermont and for Lebanon, Hanover, Cornish, Plainfield, Canaan, and Enfield in New Hampshire. To be used with these maps is the Flood Insurance Study for each town. The introduction to the Hanover booklet is similar to the others and notes that 'The purpose of this Flood Insurance Study is to investigate the existence and severity of flood hazards in the Town of Hanover, Grafton County, New Hampshire, and to aid in the administration of the Flood Insurance Act of 1968 and the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973. Initial use of this information will be to convert the Town of Hanover to the regular program of flood insurance by the Federal Insurance Administration. Further use of the information will be made by local and regional planners in their efforts to promote sound land use and flood plain development.' (January 1978 booklet, page [1]) These booklets, separately listed on the online library system, are shelved on the first level of the stacks in their Superintendent of Documents classifications, the earlier ones in HH 1O.9 and the more recent ones in FEM 1.209. Many of them have been updated and are now appearing in microfiche format (found under the same classification number in the fiche collection). To be noted is that while the sheet maps cover the Twin States, there are flood insurance studies for localities across the country.

There are a number of other publications issued by the parent agency, now the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to aid persons using the maps and studies, for example a Flood Insurance Manual, a booklet entitled How to Read a Flood Insurance Rate Map, and another called How to Read Flood Hazard Boundary Maps: A Guide for Interested Citizens, Community Officials, Lending Institutions, and Insurance Agents. (There are a number of these flood hazard boundary maps in the collection. These maps are a preliminary form indicating where flooding could occur. After a detailed flood insurance study is conducted, the permanent flood insurance rate map is issued.) In these booklets one would presumably find what is meant by such terms as the 100-year flood and the 500-year flood. Finally, there is a National Flood Insurance Program Community Status Book for New Hampshire and for Vermont, issued semiannually. The status book indicates when a community entered the emergency or regular program and also the date of the currently effective map.


In the past numerous articles have appeared in the Library Bulletin about specific resources in the Map Room. One article, which appeared in 1966, discussed the Map Room as a library department.1 It appeared at a time when the collection was about to move from its then location on the top floor of the northeast wing of Baker Library

to its present site on the lower level beneath the Serials Room in the southeast wing and adjacent to both the Reserve Book Desk corridor and the Jones Microtext Center. The Library of Congress classification was adopted in 1966 for the sheet maps and atlases, just as it was for the remainder of the library collections. Uncataloged sheet maps that had been stored in several locations were sorted, though not cataloged at that time, and brought together in closer proximity to the Map Room.

In the years since that article appeared -- some twenty-five -- the Map Room collections have grown, just as those of the rest of the Library have. Methods for coping with growth of the book collections have been implemented--the Storage Library is one--but as much as they help in alleviating bulging shelves in Baker, they also present their own problems. The ability to browse surely suffers and access is tempered by the degree of the indexing. Within Baker there are hundreds of volumes we do not want to send to storage, but simply to get them onto the shelves in their proper order is a problem. In many cases the shelves are so full that new books cannot be shelved where they belong without moving hundreds of other volumes and entire shelf ranges to make space. Out of that situation has risen the creation of so-called overflow shelves: for all floors except the ninth those shelves are currently on the first floor. For the ninth floor the overflow shelves are on that floor. Overflow shelving makes neither readers nor librarians happy. Additional room at the Storage Library will be available before many months have passed and the librarians have been selecting what might go there. We hope the shortage of space will then ease up, at least temporarily.

Another development--the use of microform--was intended not only to provide resources not otherwise available for purchase but also to save space as well. But miniature collections, too, grow in size, as the full Jones Microtext Center attests. After microform -- that non-book format -- another development, also non-book, occurred. The introduction and use of computers for library catalogs came first, followed by bibliographic data base searching. Since then there has come about the ability for full-text retrieval (complete journal articles, however long, full texts of court cases not otherwise available here; and newspaper articles from papers not in the Baker collections). Such capabilities are proceeding to be made possible at a rapidly accelerating pace. Additional data bases are being introduced constantly by an array of vendors. Systems and programs frequently demand more and new equipment. Equipment, plus the work and seating areas needed for library patrons as well as for library staff, present their own problems of space. What volumes do we reluctantly displace in order to place a terminal? Is the electrical wiring where we need it or do we need to do expensive rewiring (if it, in fact, is possible to do so in a now elderly building like Baker)? We have a very sharp sense that we are indeed, at this moment, in the real information explosion. Can we hold out until we have a new building designed for the remainder of the twentieth century and entrance into the twenty-first?

The Map Room is a small model of the problems of the larger library. It cannot expand physically. Each year, though a number of sheet maps are withdrawn, the overall number of them grows. Being generally large and demanding of room for spreading out, these maps require large areas of work space. Atlases generally in the G1000 to G-31OO classes have all been shelved in the Map Room and there has been no assigned area in the Baker stacks to which earlier editions could be transferred as they can, for example, from the Reference Room. This year, for the first time, such space has been allotted on the first level where the remainder of the Gs is shelved. During the past few years, the older atlases, some of them valuable and others in fragile condition, have been moved to Room 25 on the west side of Baker or to a locked section of stacks on the third level, Circ. (Locked). A number of years ago all of the Library's valuable old atlases were moved to Special Collections--at that time, a move to protect them, but, as seen now, an action which certainly removed the need for allotting a large amount of shelving space to them. Several years ago the filing cases containing the so- called envelope series issued by the United States Geological Survey, such as the Geophysical Investigations (GP series), the Geologic Quadrangle maps (GQ series), and the Mineral Investigations Field Studies (MF series), were moved to the Kresge Physical Sciences Library. The emptied space allowed us to add on needed map cases while the transfer placed these resources in the same building where the Earth Sciences Department, their chief user, is located. When Kresge has the room for them, a large collection of aerial photography will also be moved there.

The many changes that are likely to come in the not-too-distant future with a projected new building, plus changes involved with the move of Special Collections to Webster Hall, will affect not only the future location of the map collection but also departmental organization and relationships with other library departments. Until then the problems of growth will persist, not only for the Map Room but for the the library system as well.


1.'Baker Mapped,' Dartmouth College Library Bulletin, 7 (NS) (April 1964): 30-36.