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For a comprehensive search of the Map Department's holdings it is necessary to search both the Map Department's card catalogue and iDiscover, the Library's online catalogue.

It should be noted that individual maps within a map series are not catalogued separately; indexes showing the disposition of sheets within these series are available in the Map Room. Note also that certain items are not catalogued.

1. The Card Catalogue

The Map Department card catalogue is located in the Map Room. No new cards for printed maps or atlases have been added since August 2000; no new cards for manuscript maps have been added since January 2006.

The card catalogue contains entries for separately published maps and atlases, for map series, for a large number of maps in books, for books on cartography and for gazetteers. It includes reference to material housed in the Map Department and to some cartographic items found elsewhere in the Library.

The principal heading in the card catalogue is the first geographic place-name mentioned in the title of the item being catalogued, but entries are also made for other place-names and certain personal and corporate names. The geographic and author names are filed in separate sequences.

Additional advice on using the Card Catalogue can be sought from Map Department staff or see Map Department Information Sheet 5A.

2.  The Online Catalogue - iDiscover

(Note that Newton, the old Online Catalogue, was discontinued in January 2018 when it was completely replaced by iDiscover which had been available since September 2016).

Catalogue entries for printed maps, atlases and books catalogued since August 2000, and for manuscript maps catalogued since January 2006 will only be found on the Library's online catalogue (this link is pre-set for a subject serach and for searching CUL collections only).

Entries for some books, atlases and maps catalogued before August 2000, will be found in both the card and online catalogues. Please note that there are very few records for pre-1850 maps in the online catalogue.

Selected records from the card catalogue are gradually being added to the online catalogue and these items will be findable through both the card and online catalogues. Many records were added as part of a specially funded project between 2000 and 2002.

When searching iDiscover for a map or atlas of a particular place we recommend the following search strategy:

Using the Advanced search option conduct a Subject search using the name of the place of which maps are required and the word ‘maps’, e.g. Cambridge maps. This will retrieve maps of Cambridge and parts of Cambridge. This is a much more reliable search strategy than doing a general keyword search and limiting the results by 'Resource Type' maps.

For additional tips see:

3. Janus

Janus is a catalogue of archives found throughout Cambridge University. The Map Department has several collections of material listed on Janus (for example, brief catalogue records for the items in the Charles Close Society (CCS) Archives were added in June 2011) and these items will not be found via our card catalogue or Newton.

There are two options for exploring this catalogue:

  • Browsing: From the 'Participating Institutions' screen on Janus select 'Cambridge University Library: Map Department' and then select a specific collection. You can then browse the different sub-collections.
  • Searching: Type search terms into the search box on the left hand side of the Janus screen to search the entire Janus catalogue. To restrict the search to Map Department collections, click on 'Advanced Search' and select 'Cambridge University Library: Map Department' from the repository list. Also use 'Advanced Search' to undertake more complex searches. Do not use punctuation (quotation marks, etc.) in any search box. In Advanced Search restrict yourself to one search term per box. If you unexpectedly retrieve no records 'Start a new search' and try again and, as a final resort, go to another web page and then try again with Janus.


Access to Archives (A2A)

Charles Close Society Archives catalogue - the current version of which is searchable via janus - can still be found on the Access to Archives (A2A) database at . However, this catalogue is not current and has not been updated for some time so Janus should be used in preference. However, should you wish to search A2A here are some guidelines:

  • To search only for items in the CCS Archives go to 'Advanced Search', click the 'search other archives' button, and type 'Cambridge University Library, Charles Close Society Archives'
  • Then type specific words, phrases etc. in the other boxes.
  • To browse lists of the whole of the Archives type "Charles Close Society" [inverted commas are not required] in the 'this exact wording or phrase' box


Image credit: Cambridge University Library Map Room

Opening hours


9:00-12:45 and 14:00-17:10 *


9:00-12:45 and 14:00-16:50 *


Closed **

* Monday to Friday 12:45-14:00: If you wish to continue working through the lunch period we can transfer items to the Munby Rare Books Reading Room.

** Items ordered before 12.45 on Friday can be consulted in the Manuscripts Reading Room. No fetching or transferring is possible on Saturdays. Please contact the Map Room to discuss your requirements.

Contact us

Map Department 
Cambridge University Library 
West Road 
CB3 9DR 


+44 (0) 1223 333041
+44 (0) 1223 333042