1. Collection Development and Exploitation
In response to the Ordnance Survey's programme to digitise its basic scale map series and the consequent intention to phase out conventional publication of large scale mapping of Great Britain, BRICMICS successfully negotiated an agreement for continued deposit in copyright libraries of Ordnance Survey large-scale mapping in microform for five years from 1990. The historical archiving issue is the subject of a seminar on "The future history of our landscape" to be held at the Royal Society in October 1992.
BRICMICS has also been instrumental in initiating a project to compile a union list of the series mapping held in a core group of UK libraries – the range of libraries to be expanded once the initial listing has been completed. The aim is not to compile an exhaustive list of each library's holdings, but to provide a tool for locating probable alternative sources of map series. Possible co- operation is being considered with two North American projects, which list foreign topographic map series held in research libraries in the US and Canada.
Progress is also being made on a new edition of the Directory of UK Map Collections to be published by the Map Curators' Group of the British Cartographic Society, under the editorship of Joan Chibnall, later this year.
Sadly, two important libraries, those of the National Maritime Museum and of the Natural History Museum, have been affected by reorganisation during the past two years and neither now have full time map librarians in post. However, the British Library Map Library has been able to continue the planning process for its eventual move to the new BL building at St Pancras. Efforts have concentrated on agreeing the details of the Reading Room and preparing for the move to St Pancras of stock at present held at the Micawber Street outhouse in 1993.
The Map Room at the Public Record Office, Kew, will be closed for approximately 10-12 weeks for essential building work from April 1993. Intending visitors in the spring and summer of 1993 should obtain an updated timetable before planning their visit. It will not be possible to produce maps and plans during the closed period. It is not anticipated that other search rooms at Kew will have to close, although there may be periods from October 1992 when certain classes of documents, which may include maps in document format, become temporarily unavailable because of these building works, which are designed to upgrade and stabilise the conditions in which the documents are held in the interests of their long-term preservation.
During the years under review, the National Library of Scotland acquired important collections from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, including the Wade Collection of maps and plans of roads and forts built in the Highlands between 1724 and 1736 and from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, including nineteenth century mapping of Europe and India. Cambridge University Library have purchased the Hanson Collection of the Cruising Association including one hundred atlases and a large number of volumes on navigation and maritime matters.
2. Cataloguing and Automation
The British Library Map Library has begun a major retrospective conversion project which will provide for the first time comprehensive access to the British Library's map collections in a single file. A contract signed in April 1992 awarded publishing rights to Research Publications International, the earliest result of which is likely to be a CD-ROM publication of the converted files in 1994. The CD-ROM version will also include the contents of the post-1974 Cartographic Materials file, already available on BLAISE. The first phase, the conversion of the printed maps catalogue, is due for completion in 1994. The later stages of the project will involve the addition of records for maps held in BL collections outside the Map Library. Records will also be created for various special collections and manuscript maps acquired since the 1840s which have never before been accessible to the public. The eventual result will be a database of some 300,000 records representing the totality of British Library cartographic holdings and available on the Library's OPAC in the new building at St Pancras in 1996.
The British Geological Survey Library is starting a map cataloguing project for the conversion of its existing map records into the LIBERTAS library management system. Maps will be catalogued at both series and sheet level. In addition the Survey has developed a graphical retrieval system built around SUN workstations enabling a user to call up a topographic display and show the sheetlines of a map or the location of a borehole. Searches can be made by various means including are search, point search and gazetteer. Bibliographic data on the retrieved maps can be shown in a text window. When operational, the Library's sheet level map data in LIBERTAS will be downloaded into the SUN workstations to enable graphical retrieval of all BGS held maps.
For the past eighteen months the Public Record Office has been evolving a project called "Bluecard" to capture basic information on line about maps found in document files. This is now bearing fruit, and summary details of about 30,000 previously unrecorded maps is being made publicly available in the form both topographically ordered and subject indexed lists. A single record entry in this summary catalogue may refer to one or up to about fifty maps, although as far as possible descriptions are separated out and made accessible by single place-name and subject.
In the Scottish Record Office, it is intended to have the index for maps and plans scanned from the master pages of the catalogue volumes by OCR (optical character recognition) and converted to a STATUS textbase on PCs, thus rendering the information available for retrieval by staff and public on terminals. Preliminary work has been done on this to suggest that it is all feasible.
In Manchester, the research project "Operationalising an automatic carto-bibliographic retrieval system" based at John Rylands University Library under Chris Perkins and Phil Guest is carrying out an inventory of existing machine-readable records, and evaluating their compatibility to MARC/AACR2 formats. Methods of record sharing and of improvements to the ease of creation and the quality of description of carto-bibliographic records are being investigated.
The news of EUROCART is less good. An application involving the British Library and five other national libraries for European Commission funds to support the creation of a multilingual, historical geographic name authority file was turned down in April 1992. Consideration is being given as to whether a re-application would be justified.
3. Carto-bibliographic Research
Dr Sarah Bendall, of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, is preparing a second edition of Eden's Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Cartographers of Great Britain and Ireland 1550-1850. The PRO has made available in the public search rooms the draft catalogues of Maps and Plans of Europe (c 10,000 maps) and Maps and Plans of Japan (c 800 maps to date). Also concerning Japanese mapping, in October-December 1990 the British Library played host to Junko Suzuki, map librarian of the National Diet Library, who created preliminary catalogue records for all the identified Japanese-produced maps of the Tokugawa Era (1615-1867), with a view to eventual publication. In February 1992 Professor Xiacong Li from the Department of History, Beijing University, joined the British Library for nine months to compile a listing for eventual publication of pre-1910 Chinese maps in the BL.
Dr Jeffrey Stone of Aberdeen University has published Illustrated Maps of Scotland from Black's Atlas Novus of the 17th Century. Not surprisingly, the Ordnance Survey Bicentenary produced a flurry of publications, including Ordnance Survey: Map Makers to Britain Since 1791 by T & E Owen and Map Cover Art by J P Brown. In Ireland, An Illustrated Record of the Ordnance Survey in Ireland has been jointly published by the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland and the Ordnance Survey of Ireland to mark the bicentenary.
In March 1992 a celebration of the life and work of J B Harley held at the Royal Geographical Society was the occasion for the launch of an appeal fund for the 'J B Harley Research Fellowships in the History of Cartography'. The target for the fund is 40,000 English pounds, to finance up to three month-long fellowships per year. These will be open to those pursuing advanced research in the field, whatever their nationality, discipline or profession.
Two other Map Curators were honoured for their contribution to the profession during the year, Margaret Wilkes receiving the IMCOS/Tooley Award, and Peter Clark the Royal Geographical Society's Murchison Award.
5. Conferences, Meetings and Symposia
The University of London Warburg Institute's first series of eight lectures on "Maps and Society" ran from November 1991 to May 1992 and was very well attended. The lectures, which were organised by Tony Campbell and Catherine Delano Smith, formed part of a common strategy with the afore-mentioned J B Harley Research fellowships to establish London as a pre-eminent centre for study of the history of cartography. The second series has been planned.
In May 1991 a symposium "Ordnance Survey: Past, Present and Future" was held at the Royal Geographical Society, while in June, the National Library of Scotland hosted the annual meeting of ICOS. NLS and Edinburgh University Library had, in November 1990, welcomed participants in the tenth '3-day event' and after drawing breath in 1991, returned with the eleventh 'event' in May 1992, concentrating on 'Provenance in Map Libraries'.
The Map Curators' Group held meetings at Newcastle in 1990 and Southampton in 1991, and also held a day workshop with the Library Association in London in 1990 when the topic was automated cartographic databases.
The 15th Conference of the International Cartographic Association at Bournemouth in September 1991 saw the mounting of an exhibition which had been planned over several years by a committee chaired by Tony Campbell. Described as the finest and most comprehensive display of contemporary mapping ever assembled in the UK, it was accompanied by the most professional catalogue ever seen at an ICA meeting, edited by Mary Alice Lowenthal, a voluntary worker attached to the BL Map Library.
Several exhibitions featured the Ordnance Survey, notably at the Tower of London, the Survey's first headquarters, which focussed on the early years of the national mapping agency, and at the Royal Geographical Society, where the exhibition "The Ordnance Survey One-Inch Map, 1805-1974" was mounted by the Charles Close Society. Both of these, and that at the Bodleian Library, were accompanied by published catalogues.
The National Library of Scotland's exhibition "The Hebrides Surveyed" was the most popular exhibition ever mounted by the Library, with over 20,000 visitors. The British Library Map Library's long-running and very successful exhibition "What use is a map?" was extended for a year, finally closing at the end of 1991.
I should like to close this report by thanking all who have contributed to it, and to a flourishing map library community in the United Kingdom.
A.G.Tatham, The Royal Geographical Society, London