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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 catalogueiDiscover (the Library's online catalogue) and ArchiveSearch (the University's archive 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 (the Map Department's reading 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 older books (such items are no longer catalogued), 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. The catalogue cards are filed in one alphabetical sequence - there is no geographic hierarchy in the arrangement so you cannot go to one place and find all the cards describing maps of, for example, France and its parts. The suggested search strategy is to start with the smallest place of interest and then look at cards for the wider area - village, parish, county, country, continent, world, for example.

There is a separate sequence in the card catalogue for certain personal and corporate names. 

For additional tips see:

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).

Please Note:

  • 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 'Advanced Search' which is recommended for finding maps).
  • Cayalogue entries for some books, atlases and maps originally 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. ArchiveSearch 


  • Janus was the predecessor of ArchiveSearch and was decommissioned in early 2021
  • The National Archives Discovery catalogue An outdated copy of the Charles Close Society Archives catalogue can be searched via The National Archives Discovery catalogue (previously known as Access to Archives (A2A)). However, this catalogue is not current and has not been updated for some time so ArchiveSearch should be used in preference

Image credit: Cambridge University Library Map Room

Opening Times

Map Room Opening Times

Monday to Thursday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 5:10pm
Friday 9am to 12:45pm and 2pm to 4:50pm 

i.e., we are closed lunch time, in the evenings and on Saturdays. However, given sufficient notice, we may be able to transfer Map Department items to the Rare Books Reading Room for consultation during these closed periods. 

Remember: Pencils only in the Map Room and No food or drink!

Where to Find Us

Library Floorplan

The Map Room - the Map Department's Reading Room - is on the first floor of the Library at the far end of the North Gallery. At the top of the stairs from the Library's Entrance Hall, turn right and the Map Room is at the end of the corridor. 

We are very close to the Tea Room.

Contact us

Map Department 
Cambridge University Library 
West Road 
CB3 9DR 


+44 (0) 1223 333041
+44 (0) 1223 333042
Our LibGuide may help with some enquiries