Guidelines for Distinguishing Cartographic Electronic Resources from other Electronic Resources

January 1998 (Revised December 2001)

Cataloging Policy and Support Office
Network Development and MARC Standards Office
Geography and Map Division, and Special Materials Cataloging Division
Library of Congress

The following guidelines developed by the Library of Congress are intended to assist catalogers working with cartographic electronic resources to distinguish them from other types of electronic resources and to ensure consistent selection of the correct MARC Type of Record code based on that distinction. The Leader/06 (Type of Record) character position contains a one-character alphabetic code that differentiates MARC records created for various forms of material. The code is primarily used to identify the type of field 008 (Fixed Length Data Element) contained in the record. In the past, code "m" (Computer file) was used to indicate that the content of the record was for a body of information encoded in a manner that allows it to be processed by a computer, that is, an electronic resource carrier (e.g., floppy disk, CD-ROM, computer disk/c, computer cartridge, remote access file). MARBI Proposal No. 95-9 (Encoding of Digital Maps in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format) redefined the Leader/06 code "e" from "printed map" to "cartographic material," thus making it possible to emphasize the content of the item by encoding records for electronic cartographic materials using the Leader/06 value "e" (Cartographic material), instead of "m" (Computer file).

These guidelines are only intended to address issues related to the change in definition of code "e" in Leader/06 noted above-- they do not address the coding of non-cartographic electronic resources. Additional guidelines addressing the redefinition of code "m" in Leader/06 approved as part of MARBI Proposal No. 97-3R (Redefinition of code "m" (Computer file) in Leader/06 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format) may be found at:

Comments on the guidelines should be addressed to:

Assigning code "e" for Cartographic material:

MARC 21 definition:

e - Cartographic material
Code e indicates that the content of the record is for non-manuscript cartographic material or a microform of non-manuscript cartographic material. This code is used for maps, atlases, globes, digital maps, and other cartographic items.
AACR2 definition:

Cartographic material. Any material representing the whole or part of the earth or any celestial body at any scale. Cartographic materials include two- and three-dimensional maps and plans (including maps of imaginary places); aeronautical, navigational, and celestial charts; atlases; globes; block diagrams; sections; aerial photographs with a cartographic purpose; bird's-eye views (map views), etc.

In addition to the types of materials identified in the definitions above, use code "e" (cartographic material) for the following electronic resources (either direct access or remote access):

- Images of cartographic material, whether scanned or constructed from digital files with file formats such as: GIFs, TIFFs, BMPs, JPEGs, etc. Treat images of geographic features as cartographic when they are combined with spatial or geo-referencing tools (such as the geographic coordinates longitude and latitude, or grids).


The Marsface CD [electronic resource] : photo enhanced images of the Cidonian Region.

Maps! maps! maps! [electronic resource] : clip art images for Macintosh and PC.
A complete collection of world maps for graphic design, multimedia, and business presentations in PCX format.

But not:

Volcanoes of the Wrangell Mountains and Cook Inlet Region, Alaska [electronic resource] : selected photographs.
Contains 97 digital images of volcanoes in south-central Alaska taken by scientists, researchers, and private citizens that illustrate and document recent eruptive activity and the range of volcanic phenomena observed in Alaska. Each photograph is stored as a Kodak Photo CD (.PCD) image pac in five resolutions.

- Data, primarily vector data, that produce cartographic images when processed by software products such as geographic information systems (GIS)


TIGER/Line 1994 [electronic resource].
Extracts of selected geographic and cartographic information from the Census Bureau's Census TIGER system, containing data describing points, lines, and areas on Census Bureau maps and providing information on streets, rivers, railroads, and other line features, where they intersect, and areas they enclose.

Great Basin geoscience data base [electronic resource].
Seventy-three digital GIS (Geographic Information System) data sets for the Great Basin, presented in Federal Data Exchange, ESRI PC ArcVIEW1, and ESRI Arc/INFO formats. Covers Nevada, eastern California, southeastern Oregon, southern Idaho, and western Utah. Includes topographical, geochemical, geophysical, and thematic data sets.

ArcUSA 1:2M [electronic resource] : coterminus US.
Comprehensive vector base map of the United States at the scale of 1:2 million. Contains attribute data suitable for performing a wide range of analysis and for generating thematic maps for counties and states. Consists of cartographic, attribute, and textual data for use with ArcView, Arc/INFO, or other GIS software.

- Atlases, including multimedia atlases whose significant aspect is cartographic, even those that may include large quantities of textual or alphanumeric data. Multimedia atlases often include non-cartographic data that facilitate a spatial understanding of things, concepts, conditions, processes, or events in the human world.

Quick reference atlas [electronic resource].
Detailed topographical maps, flags, facts, essays, and interactive visual glossary.

In cases of doubt, also consider the following factors to be an indication of when to use code "e." These factors should be used on a case-by-case basis, particularly in situations where the item is not mounted for examination:

- Publisher's intent, as evidenced by words in the title, descriptions on accompanying materials, containers, etc.


Virgin's one tribe [electronic resource] : the ultimate multimedia atlas.
Transports the user into one of 235 countries where they will find 600 maps, 60,000 facts, 55 minutes of video footage, 3,000 photographs, and 30 minutes of music.

(Although it may be difficult to determine the significant aspect from the summary, the item is clearly being marketed by the publisher as an atlas)

- Publisher history, for example a product developed by a publisher whose main activity is the production of cartographic materials (e.g., Rand McNally, DeLorme, Thomas Bros.)


Map'n'Go [electronic resource].
Comprehensive travel planner that combines detailed maps, photos, and local information such as lodging, campgrounds, restaurants, and attractions in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, all with AAA ratings.
(Published by DeLorme)

Assigning code "m" for Computer file

MARC 21 definition:

m - Computer file
Code m indicates that the content of the record is for the following classes of electronic resources: computer software (including programs, games, fonts), numeric data, computer-oriented multimedia, online systems or services. For these classes of materials, if there is a significant aspect that causes it to fall into another Leader/06 category, code for that significant aspect (e.g., vector data that is cartographic is not coded as numeric but as cartographic). Other classes of electronic resources are coded for their most significant aspect (e.g., language material, graphic, cartographic material, sound, music, moving image). In case of doubt or in cases where the most significant aspect cannot be determined, consider the item a computer file.

Use code "m" (Computer file) for the following items, even though they have a cartographic aspect or subject matter:

- Computer games, even those that may have cartographic or geographic content


Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego [electronic resource].
Multimedia game in which the player tracks Carmen Sandiego and her fellow thieves who are stealing precious landmarks and treasures as they travel around the world. Features music, photographs, maps, spoken dialogue, and animations.

Zip zap map! USA [electronic resource].
Geography game that tests the user's knowledge of American geography. Offers the ability to set speed and difficulty levels.

- Application software used to create, manipulate, or edit maps, and utilities used for viewing maps


AutoCAD map [electronic resource].
Provides map creation and maintenance for AutoCAD users who need to create, view, present, and distribute maps. Combines map creation and editing tools such as digitizing, rubber sheeting, and multi-user editing, with geographic analysis tools such as polygon overlay, buffering, and network analysis, utilizing GIS topology.

Business map [electronic resource] : sales and marketing software.
Database mapping software for creating maps using business data supplied by the user or imported from other programs (such as spreadsheets, contact management, and telephone directories).

- Geographic Information Systems, database management systems used for the capture, storage, retrieval, analysis, and display of spatial data


ArcView GIS [electronic resource].
Suite of GIS analysis tools. Includes software architecture that delivers a scalable platform for GIS computing, raster to vector spatial analysis, and geographic network analysis and routing.

- Multimedia works for which the significant aspect is not cartographic (or there is no significant aspect)


PVT Africa [electronic resource].
A collection of three-dimensional colored flags and maps of fifty-three African nations and the United States in Harvard Graphics chart format. Can be sorted and customized.

- Primarily textual materials (currently coded "m" but will be coded "a" (language material) in the future after the implementation of MARBI Proposal No. 97-3R)


Diccionario geográfico de Colombia [electronic resource].
CD-ROM version of Colombian gazetteer.

- Databases with a subject/topical focus that also have a geographic interface to the data


International station meteorological climate summary [electronic resource].
Contains a detailed climate database that includes data on surface air temperature, humidity, winds, and precipitation from meteorological stations worldwide. The data are accessible by geographically panning and zooming to give an area on a global display or by directly selecting a station from one of the seven identifiers.

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