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Facet-based development for concise map classification – ten-country study

Maps belong to a specific community of documents present in most National or University Library collections that involve substantial amount of resources to acquire, process and to store, consult and display - called cartographic material. This, in the catalogue hardly visible material is uneasy to obtain, and equally uneasy to index. Very often these documents bear neither name, nor description, and if so, then just a name of the largest village or city present on the map, which gives the maps their identity in the framework of that specific map collection, correctly called “official map series” in technical terminology.

This study shows how differentiated are the classifications of maps in various countries and how much accent is put on exact expression of map contents. A thematic survey in six National Library catalogues, including Spain, Portugal, France, Britain, Switzerland and Russia has been conducted. Their map metadata were collected in Karlsruher Virtual Katalog using descriptors as a search words strategy: “geological map“ OR “mining geology” in ten countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, India, Japan, Lebanon, Nepal, Oman, Russia and Switzerland.

The results were compared, focusing on the subjects, adopted by each library to represent the content of maps. It was observed that a distinctive subjects or concepts were used, mostly UDC (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) and keywords, arranged as compound facets in chain to characterize the time, geographical, natural phenomena or material properties of the map.   

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