Core/ MAGIRT Cartographic Resources Cataloging Interest Group

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Discusses the basic issues relating to bibliographic control of maps and related materials. Discusses rules and standards covering such cataloging, as well as application of the rules and principles both in general and in response to specific problems, and various practicing options.

This group is part of Core's Metadata & Collections Section.

  • 1.  Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Mar 14, 2019 12:36 PM



    Following up on a discussion at the January meeting of the MAGIRT/CaMMS Cartographic Resources Cataloging Interest Group (prompted by Louise Ratliff at UCLA), I am writing in search of:


    • Formal documentation of local cataloging/description practices for geospatial data.
    • Informal summaries of your local cataloging/description practices for geospatial data.
    • Example descriptions (MARC records or other formats) of geospatial data. (For MARC records, an OCLC number or local catalog link is fine.)


    At our discussion in January, we agreed that being able to compare existing local documentation, and existing records, would be a great place to start for the purpose of beginning a process whereby, in Louise's words, our community can develop "best practices for metadata for geospatial data, no matter where it is described, …[and] come up with some standards for what is 'core' when describing these things," and that ALA Connect would be a good place to pull it all together. Accordingly, I would like to gather and share your contributions in the library of the interest group's ALA Connect space (unless you instruct me otherwise! If you prefer, I would also be happy to condense and summarize formal documentation for public display in ALA Connect).


    Many thanks for your assistance!


    Tim Kiser

    Coordinator, Cartographic Resources Cataloging Interest Group

    Tim Kiser
    Catalog Librarian for Maps
    Michigan State University Libraries

  • 2.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 12:15 PM
    Edited by Tim Kiser Apr 04, 2019 12:30 PM
      |   view attached
    Elizabeth Miragli at University of California San Diego posted last month at the MAGIRT Connect page. I have attached a PDF of the OCLC record she references. The record is for the SanGIS data warehouse, and is coded as an integrating resource.

    Elizabeth wrote:
    "I would love some feedback/input on OCLC 1084668003. For some background: we get updated files from the publisher that more or less act like an integrating resource. We also download the files and store them on a limited access computer, but that information lives in our local version of the record (viewable here if anyone is interested: We're using the OPAC as a way to get people to the GIS lab, not necessarily to give them a full accounting of everything that's in the dataset. The goal is to let people know that we have GIS data and to ideally get users beyond the 'typical' audience for this kind of data into the lab and working with it."


  • 3.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 12:19 PM
      |   view attached
    Attached is an OCLC master record I created for Michigan State University, for Tehran vector data. The record was based on a finding aid for the data, prepared by the MSU Map Library. In our catalog, the record links to that finding aid:

    In making the record I was just trying to muddle through as best I could. What could I improve?

    Tim Kiser
    Catalog Librarian for Maps
    Michigan State University Libraries


    Tehran_vector_OCLC_MSU.pdf   283 KB 1 version

  • 4.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 12:30 PM
    Amanda Henley at the University of North Carolina writes:

    "Our goal is to catalog all data sets that we purchase (or receive from purchased software). We are a little behind with some of our holdings, but we have cataloged many of our spatial data sets in our online catalog.

    "You can search them here:

    "Or just click search to get a list of everything.
    If you click on individual results you can look at the MARC."

  • 5.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 12:36 PM
    Edited by Tim Kiser Apr 04, 2019 12:39 PM

  • 6.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 12:45 PM

    Dr Gethin Rees of the British Library writes:

    We are using this python script to create the bounding box info.

    We are creating a spreadsheet like the attached 2018_05 NPLD_Map_Template_update.

    Our developers then use the sheet alongside further data to create something like the attached Marc XML sample records for some raster and vector data. The XML records are then added to the maps viewer and ingested into our catalogue.

    I'm happy to go into this further if it will be useful.

  • 7.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 12:58 PM
    Tom Brittnacher of University of California Santa Barbara writes:

    Attached are my local instructions for digital data cataloging in MARC (both CDs/DVDs and GIS data without carrier).  It's a PDF created from our wiki, so the formatting is kind of wonky.  I've also attached my documentation for creating ISO metadata in ArcCatalog.

    As always, I'm open to suggestions and corrections.

  • 8.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 01:18 PM

    Hello all,

       Using Tom Brittnacher's MARC documentation as a guide, I cataloged a dataset for Colombia 1:100,000 national topographical maps that we purchased from LandInfo.  Here's the link to the record in our catalog:

       The OCLC record number is 1055421053.

       Because I was given practically no information at all by our selector, I had to ask LandInfo just exactly what we bought from them. They were super helpful and answered all of my questions! I pieced together all the information I could find, and made up a title for this particular online resource.  Hopefully there is enough information in the bib record for people to understand what it is!


    Louise Ratliff

    Social Sciences and Map Catalog Librarian


  • 9.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Apr 04, 2019 01:28 PM
      |   view attached
    Thank you, Louise! I have gotten speedy at making PDFs of OCLC records, so I made one for yours (attached).


  • 10.  RE: Cataloging geospatial data

    Posted Jun 23, 2019 04:53 AM
    From Princeton University:

    Hi Tim Kiser,

    Here is an example of how Princeton University Library catalog vector data in the MARC format ( Each layer is linked to our Portal ( which has full metadata record.


    Tsering Wangyal Shawa
    GIS and Map Librarian
    Head, Map and Geospatial Information Center
    Peter B. Lewis Library, Fine Hall Wing
    Room A17, Washington Road & Ivy Lane
    Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544
    Telephone: 609-258-6804