The Catalogue is an instrument of reference of the Map Library that will help you to choose the documents you want to consult in relation to your territorial studies. Using this catalogue is very easy. You just have to have elementary knowledge of geography, because the Catalogue only offers you a classification of the documents by geographical areas. Therefore, you will have to search for the document in the catalogue through the total or partial area matched to your study zone. You will always have to direct your search on the basis of a specific geographical area.
The areas of the Catalogue that classify the documents and their hierarchical structurel, are a result of the division of the emerged lands of the globe in continents, countries and territories as they appear in the last version of the popular Atlante Calendario de Agostini (Novara, Istituto Geografico de Agostini, 1905-...). In the case of the Map Library, we have just applied some slight changes. We have added a couple of levels to the hierarchy: Earth-Continent-Country/Territory. Regarding our country, the levels have been extended until Autonomous Communities for Spain and Regions for Catalonia. On the other hand, we have created subcontinental areas for Africa and Asia.
On this page you also have also a complete list with the areas of reference of the Catalogue. You can access it pressing the area you want to consult. We also advise you to use the navigation charts.
Through the navigator chart, which appears at the top of every page, you can go to the lower hierarchical level from the invariable planisphere that will be showed every time you access the Catalogue. Furthermore, in the hierarchy of the Catalogue, you can ascend from any area pressing the icons at the left side or top of the map. In the navigator of the world area, we have also put two of the most requested areas: Spain and Catalonia. Finally, when you are definitely on an area, you can move to the neighbouring areas pressing their names from the same navigator chart.
Seeing the enclosed list, you can check that the number of areas of reference of the Catalogue is fixed and finite. However, on the Earth, we can define infinite geographical areas to study. You will see that the defined geographical area of your study wont match up with what this Catalogue offers you: Montserrat, Rome, the Danube... In a case like this you will have to use your elementary geographical knowledge to develop the geographic strategy imposed by this Catalogue.
Firstly, it is necessary to identify the area or areas of the Catalogue according to your study. If your area belongs to two or more areas of the Catalogue, you will have to examine the list offered by every area. For example, if you want maps of The Alps you will have to consult the lists of France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. If your area of interest is included in one of the areas of the Catalogue, you will also have to identify the most suitable area for them. For example, if you want a plane of Rome you will have to see the list of Italy,understanding the documents that cover that city are more than the documents title Rome, that is to say, Rome will be represented in different scales in the Italy area.Sometimes, the title of a document hasnt got enough information to choose it. For example, its very usual to find maps whose title is Spain and they represent all the Iberian Peninsula, Canary Islands and a part of France. If its scale is 1:500 000, this map will appear at the geographical area of Spain in the Catalogue, but the same map will also have to appear in the area of Portugal because its bibliographic information is as important for Spain as for Portugal. Moreover, this map will appear in the list of documents of the biggest Autonomous Communities of Spain. This map and, on that scale, enables territorial studies of Aragón, Andalucía, Galicia, etc. However, it only lets locate precise small places like Ceuta, Melilla or Andorra. In conclusion, the search of maps through their title could not be completed. The areas of classification of this catalogue help to make maximum use of the geographical areas represented in every map.
Sometimes, the title of a document hasnt got enough information to choose it. For example, its very usual to find maps whose title is Spain and they represent all the Iberian Peninsula, Canary Islands and a part of France. If its scale is 1:500 000, this map will appear at the geographical area of Spain in the Catalogue, but the same map will also have to appear in the area of Portugal because its bibliographic information is as important for Spain as for Portugal. Moreover, this map will appear in the list of documents of the biggest Autonomous Communities of Spain. This map and, on that scale, enables territorial studies of Aragón, Andalucía, Galicia, etc. However, it only lets locate precise small places like Ceuta, Melilla or Andorra. In conclusion, the search of maps through their title could not be completed. The areas of classification of this catalogue help to make maximum use of the geographical areas represented in every map.
Occasionally, you will have to consider the title. This case is presented when you need smaller areas than the areas offered by the Catalogue. For example, if you search for a general plan of Paris (we have got several of them) you will see quickly that a specific area doesn't exist in the Catalogue. You should examine the corresponding list of the area of France.
On the other hand, you have to use your geographical elements of analysis for choosing the suitable level from the hierarchy areas among the areas of the Catalogue. If you want to consult cartography of The Danube Basin, we advise you to check the list of documents offered by the area of Europe as a whole, before opening every one of the countries that cover the basin: Germany, Austria, ..., Rumania. Almost certainly you will have enough with what you find in "Europe".
Also, the scale of the map suggests the level of detail that the map has, therefore, the utilities that it will offer you for making your study. It is because of this reason we have used the scale as the main element for classifying documents. In the Map Library there are not documents which we can't assign a scale to. We would like to place on record that in the Map Library we don't collect all the graphic documents that are represented through a scale. The biggest scale is 1:500 and the smallest one is 1:200 000 000. Other scales bigger than 1:500 are considered graphic designs of architecture and engineering. Neither do we collect planispheres whose size is smaller than DIN A4.
Finally, we have to talk about the treatment of maritime areas in the Catalogue. The navigation charts have been referred to the areas of the Catalogue which they touch in accordance with their scale.
On every page of the Catalogue you will find the type of the available documents (atlases and/or maps) for every area of reference. If we considered the subject expressed by every title, the thematic list would be never-ending. Due to this reason, in the Map Library we have established a fixed and closed thematic classification. There are eight thematic categories and every document must be assigned to one and only one of them:
The available cartographic documents of every chosen area are grouped according to this classification. Next, their list appears on the navigator chart. In every thematic category the documents are sorted in relation to their scale and you will have to choose your wanted document among this list. Before deciding, it is necessary, too, that you examine carefully the features of every document of the list through its description.
While we are attending enquires it's very common that confusion can arise between the meaning of a map which belongs to a collection and a map divided into different sheets. We will try to clarify this.
Regarding a collection of maps, we are talking about a group of maps with the same characteristics: dimensions, coloration, editor, etc.; but, a collection can contain maps on different scales and they will be catalogued separately. These collections don't cover the territory in a continual way through the annexation of the sheets. A typical collection has a variety of sheets covering uniform geographical areas but representing different subjects. However, when an only map is divided in sheets, the scale is common for all of them and the cartographied territory is covered in a continual way. However, sometimes a map can be divided into thousands of sheets but it will be catalogued as an only document.
In this version of the Catalogue the information relating to the division of maps into sheets or the representation of the documents on just one sheet, has been specified by a symbol. Before the description of the documents you can see:
We have also expanded considerably the description of every document for making your search easier. Next, through an example, we will show you the elements of description used in a cartographic reference. These elements have been extracted from the ISBD (CM) rules according to the data bases of the Map Library.
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