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See here for information on searching iDiscover for Maps and Atlases.

Note that only a small proportion of the Map Department's holdings have online catalogue records. To make a comprehensive search of our holdings you will also need to visit the Map Department to search our card catalogue. Remember also to search ArchiveSearch

Searching for books on cartography and gazetteers

  • Use Advanced search
  • Select Cambridge Libraries Collections
  • Select Subject from the drop down menu on the left hand side
  • Make sure that the central column is set to contains (unless otherwise stated below)
  • Type your search terms - see list below of the more commonly used terms - in the corresponding search box on the right
  • The search terms can be combined with a place name, e.g. Great Britain cartography
  • You might want to refine your search by clicking on the 'Resource Type' books
atlases history For texts about atlases
bibliography maps For lists of maps (see also: catalogs)
cartography For texts on how maps are made
cartography history For texts on the history of cartography
cartographers For biographies and other works about cartographers
catalogs maps For lists of maps - sometimes lists of maps in a particular institution (see also: bibliography)
discovery and exploration Select 'is (exact)' in the central column. Also Scientific expeditions
early maps Select 'is (exact)' in the central column for books, periodicals, etc. on early maps
gazetteers For gazetteers
globes For books about globes
map collections For books about map collections in general or about those in specific institutions. Can be combined with, for example, directories or catalogs
map reading  
map drawing For books on how maps are drawn and made
maps terminology For dictionaries, etc, of cartographic terms
maps in literature Select 'is (exact)' in the central column. Also, for example, maps in artmaps in journalismmaps in motion pictures …
surveyors Combine, for example, with dictionaries or history
surveying Note that books on surveying are usually not kept in the Map Department
tithes maps For books about tithe maps

These search terms are Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) - hence the American spelling of words like harbor. A searchable list of LCSHs is available here.

See below for some Examples of subject headings used for a selection of cartographic books.


Subject Heading Examples

The history of cartography. University of Chicago Press. 1987-  [S696.b.079] Cartography –History
Cartographical innovations: an international handbook of mapping terms to 1900. Edited by Helen M. Wallis and Arthur H. Robinson. 1987. [S696.c.98.71] Maps --Terminology
Dictionary of land surveyors and local mapmakers of Great Britain and Ireland 1530-1850.Sarah Bendall.  1997. [S696.c.99.120-121] Cartographers --Great Britain –Dictionaries 

Cartographers --Great Britain –History 

Surveyors --Great Britain –Dictionaries 

Surveyors --Great Britain –History


English maps: a history. Catherine Delano-Smith and Roger J. P. Kain. 1999. [S696.c.062.2] Geography, Medieval --England –Maps

Cartography --England –History
Tooley’s dictionary of mapmakers. Revised ed. 1999-2004. [S696.b.99.289-292] Cartographers –Dictionaries
Who’s who in the history of cartography: the international directory of current research in the history of cartography (D9). 1998. [S696.b.036.9] Cartographers –Directories

Cartography --Research –Directories

Cartography –Bibliography
Maps in the atlases of the British Library: a descriptive catalogue c. AD 850-1800. Rodney Shirley. 2004. [S696.b.200.118-119] British Library --Map collections –Catalogs
The Mapping of the World: early printed world maps 1472-1700. 4th ed. Rodney W. Shirley. 2001.  [S696.a.200.4] Early maps --Bibliography 

Cartography --History
Early printed maps of the British Isles: a bibliography 1477-1650. Rev. and updated ed. Rodney W. Shirley. 1991. [S696.b.99.23] Cartography --Great Britain –History 

Great Britain --Maps –Early works to 1800 --Bibliography.
Printed maps of the British Isles 1650-1750. Rodney W. Shirley. 1988. [S696.b.060.6] Cartography --Great Britain –History 

Great Britain --Maps –To 1800 --Bibliography.


The Mapping of North America: a list of printed maps, [vol. 1] 1511-1670vol. II 1671-1700.  Philip D. Burden. 1996-2007. [S696.a.026.1-2]


Cartography --North America --History --Sources –Bibliography 

North America --Maps --Early works to 1800 --Bibliography –Catalogs 

North America --Historical geography --Maps
Ordnance Survey maps: a concise guide for historians. 2nd ed. Richard Oliver.  2005. [S696.b.200.130] Great Britain. Ordnance Survey –History 

Cartography --Great Britain –History 

Great Britain –Maps
Ordnance Survey maps: a descriptive manual. J. B. Harley.  1975. [S696.b.97.107] Great Britain. Ordnance Survey 

Cartography --Great Britain 

Great Britain --Maps, Topographic
A History of the Ordnance Survey. Edited by W. A. Seymour.  1980. [S696.b.98.3] Great Britain. Ordnance Survey –History
Mapping the UK. C. R. Perkins and R. B. Parry. 1996. [S696.b.99.153] Cartography--Great Britain

Great Britain--Surveys


World mapping today. 2nd edition. R. B. Parry and C. R. Perkins.  2000.  [ S696.b.200.3] Acquisition of maps



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
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