Maps & Direction Guides

“A good map is both a useful tool and a magic carpet to a far away place.”                                                                                                         ~Anonymous


Use and Users:

Students traveling to a foreign country to continue their studies do not want to get lost. Therefore, this collection will acquire a variety of maps and related materials  to help students navigate foreign countries, cities, train systems, etc. To determine the need of our users, we will be looking closely at study abroad programs to decide which countries students visit most frequently. After consulting faculty members about these countries and asking them for recommendations, maps will be purchased.  Ultimately, this collection should enable users to find, identify, select and use library materials for their needs. Although the maps for this collection will be primarily for students studying abroad, this collection will benefit users from many disciplines.

Collection Development:


Maps are essential in contributing to the knowledge of users. Yet, what exactly is a map? In a very broad sense, a map is a representations of places on earth showing features in their relative sizes and positions. Maps can be found in many formats.


Current maps will serve as an essential attribute of this collection. Maps will be maintained in the collection alongside cultural, language and travel guides. Together, these materials will help lessen culture shock abroad by providing students with multiple perspectives. This collection also seeks to familiarize students about a foreign country or city.  A good example of a collection policy for maps is the Duke University Library’s Map policy.


The need of the study abroad community will largely drive the selection process. Map categories such as topographic, political, administrative and socio-economic patterns will be acquired. World, national, regional, state and city maps are also collected with particular emphasis on the most traveled countries and cities. In addition, many important transportation maps such as train and bus systems will be available. Supplemental geographic and cartographic materials such as gazetteers and atlases will be selected to strengthen the collection.

English will be the preferred language of acquired maps. Only one copy will be available. However, if the library discovers that a certain map, atlas or gazetteer is heavily used, another copy will be acquired in accordance to user demand. The geographic coverage being provided by these maps will largely only represent the countries that students study abroad in. Therefore, the collection may not be as world-wide as other map collections, yet it will focus on providing students the most recent or current editions of maps and atlases.

Maintenance and weeding:

The staff will regularly review the collection to guarantee it is responsive to the needs of the patrons. In addition, this collection will be assessed for gaps to ensure that it is useful for students.

After consulting with students through surveys and carefully examining the collection, materials will be weeded from the collection on a regular basis. Cartographic materials and maps will be considered for weeding in regards to physical condition, frequency of circulation, currency of information, discontinued information and space. When withdrawing materials, bibliographic records will be updated to reflect the removal of the items.

Withdrawn items will be sent to the Oak Street facility for storage. Reference materials which retain informational value will be transferred to the circulation department. In addition, withdrawn materials will be offered to other libraries and organizations in the community.


Maps and the other items in our collection are important research tools and sources of information. None of the items in our collection should be placed in direct sunlight since excessive heat and harmful light rays will accelerate the natural wear and tear process. Materials in the collection are subject to wear and damage when they are pulled, copied and handled. Once maps becomes too fragile to be handled by patrons, they will be removed to the Oak Street facility for preservation. There, the maps will be stored in an environment where the optimal temperature will be less than 70 °F, since mold grows at higher temperatures. In addition, to avoid mold, a baseline humidity around 40-50% will be advised.

Useful resources :


Today, many students consult online resources to become informed, find directions and more. Here are some interesting and helpful online resources:

Altapedia Online

Besides providing physical and political maps, this website also provides facts, figures and statistics on geography, climate, people, religions, language, history, economy and other relevant topics.

Cartographic glossary

The University of Texas at Austin provides this glossary page with cartographic terms.

Google Maps

This simple search interface provides maps, satellite images and directions.


Create maps and direction guides to get you to and from cities worldwide.

Map History/History of Cartography

This site provides a global overview of the history of maps and cartography.

Mapping the World – The New York Public Library

Want to learn more about the New York Public Library’s map collection? Check out this Youtube clip.

Subject Authority Control

Maps are frequently cataloged according to the Library of Congress G-class, and these subject headings are commonly used at the Texas State Library.

Here you will find printable maps and important information on continents, countries, islands, territories, lakes, rivers, seas, oceans and mountains.


Duke University Libraries. (2007, July 20). Maps: collection policy statement. Retrieved December 10, 2008 from

Library of Congress. (2008, September 18). Geography and Map Division. Retrieved December 10, 2008 from

Mitchell, Susan. 2003. “Where in the world? An online guide to gazetteers, atlases and other map resources.” Internet Reference Services Quarterly 8, 1/2: 183-194.

Morton Grove Public Library. (2006, October 17). Collection development and materials selection policy: Geography and history (900-999). Retrieved December 10, 2008 from


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