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News & Notes

Current Issue: November - December 2009   |    Previous Issues    |   Submit a Tidbit

Benchmarks: People & Jobs

  • Jon Jablonski, currently at the University of Oregon, has been named the Head of The Map  and Imagery Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and will begin April 1st. Congratulations, Jon.


New Maps of the WAML Region


Publications about Mapping

  • Please note new link below to the Journal of Map & Geography Libraries.
  • To mark the 20th anniversary of Cartographica Helvetica, the leading German-speaking journal on the history of cartography, the journal is now available online. The journal has been scanned and converted into searchable full text.


Other Map Organization Journals

  News | Conferences | Cataloging | Canadiana | New Maps & Web Sites



  • The next WAML meeting will be held in Eugene, Oregon, on March 17-20, hosted by Jon Jablonski. Please see the WAML Spring Meeting 2010 site for updated info, including a daily schedule, accommodations, and field trip details.
  • Due to the inability to find a meeting host, the Executive Board has decided there will be no meeting in fall 2010. The next meeting will be in Vancouver in spring 2011. If you are considering hosting a future meeting, such as fall 2011, please contact me.

Other News

  • This may have been reported previously, but it bears repeating that ALA MAGERT’s Map, GIS and Cataloging/Metadata Librarian Core Competencies is available online [PDF file].
  • The David Rumsey Map Collection website has been recently redesigned.
  • 2010 cartographic calendar available until January 31st.
  • It seems some us in the map community were taken by surprise, but the USGS is no longer distributing maps through the Federal Depository Library Program via the GPO. See messages below posted to Maps-L regarding this and a new digital initiative from the USGS.
    • Statements from the U.S.G.S.
USGS has announced a new series of digital topographic maps, called US TOPO that will be produced on a 3-year cycle for the entire conterminous United States. For more information, see the press release at: http://www.doi.gov/news/09_News_Releases/120309.html
The USGS also released a new National Map viewer for viewing and access to the data layers and US Topo products produced by the USGS.
You can see the National Map viewer at:  
USGS has also published a new publication, Circular 1341, History of the Topographic Branch (Division). The publication is available for download at: http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1341/
The new US Topo product will be available as a digital product only. 
Any printed product will be purchased and produced in a print-on demand fashion. The USGS Geography Program is not printing any copies of US Topos for distribution of any kind.
If GPO wanted to purchase printed copies for Depository  Distribution, I'm sure that USGS would assist them in that effort but USGS is not printing these maps at all otherwise. The Depository Program relies on riding existing print orders for the production of copies for FDLP distribution and the USGS is not producing printed products for these maps by default.
          Richard Huffine
          National Library Coordinator
           U.S. Geological Survey (MS 159)
          12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20192
          Tel 703-648-7182
          Email: rhuffine@usgs.gov
It’s come to my attention recently that there have been some questions regarding the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) printing topographic maps.  Please note that there has been no change in the reprint policy of USGS.  The USGS will continue to reprint topographic maps into the foreseeable future.
With that said, the digital age has had its impact on the USGS as it has had on many other map publishers. On a continual basis, we are looking at the balance between the analog and digital worlds recognizing the heritage we have in one and the future we all have in the other. While there is the reprinted paper, or analog, topographic map, a recent digital-base product announced by the USGS is the US Topo. While designed to look, feel, and perform like the traditional paper topographic map, the US Topo is a digital product. For additional information about this new and exciting product please see http://www.doi.gov/news/09_News_Releases/120309.html
With the reprinted paper topographic maps and the digital US Topo, we continue to work towards maintaining a balance between these two formats. If you have other questions regarding reprints, feel free to email me Mike McDermott at mmcdermo@usgs.gov.
Mike McDermott, PMP
Acting Chief, Science Information & Education Office (SIEO) and National Coordinator, Natural Science Network Geospatial Information Office (GIO) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Center MS 159
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192
Tel 703-648-5771
Fax 703-648-6821
Rm 2C-120
Email mmcdermo@usgs.gov

    • Statement from the G.P.O

According to our contacts as USGS, the USGS and Forest Service had a cooperative agreement and that agreement has now lapsed.   For that reason, USGS is not issuing the 24K maps, and they haven't distributed any since May 2008.  So we have distributed all that have been issued to date.  Talks are underway between USGS and Forest Service.  USGS can print existing maps on demand, but that would be considered a revision and USGS would have to distribute those maps, and would have to bear the cost of the distribution.  The 7.5 maps are produced by BLM. We will contact USGS and see if this situation applies to BLM maps as well. Our Acquisitions specialists are making contact with Forest Service as well to see if we can determine if the 7.5 will be printed in the future; if talks with USGS show that the BLM maps are affected also we will be contacting BLM.

If you can find BLM maps online that we have not cataloged, please contact us via AskGPO and we will catalog the electronic versions immediately. We are currently cataloging all the electronic maps that we find.

Jennifer K. Davis
Manager, Bibliographic Control
Library Technical Information Services
United States Government Printing Office
732 North Capitol St, NW
Washington, DC 20401
Phone 202.512.2010 ext 30245
Fax 202.512.1432
Email jkdavis@gpo.gov

Future WAML Meetings:

  • Eugene, Oregon, March 17-20, 2010
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, May 17-20, 2011 (joint meeting with ACMLA)
  • Hawaii 2012
  • WAML Meetings Web Page

Conferences and Classes

  • COM.Geo 2010 is the 1st International Conference and Exhibition on Computing for Geospatial Research and Application, to be held in Washington, D.C. from June 8-11.
  • The Society for the History of Discoveries’ 51st annual meeting will be September 12-14, 2010 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Paper proposals are due by April 16th. See above link for further details.
  • Newberry Library Fellowships in the Humanities, 2010-2011

The Newberry's fellowships support humanities research in our collections.  Our collections are wide-ranging, rich, and sometimes a little eccentric.  If you study the humanities, chances are good we have something for you.  We promise you remarkable collections; a lively interdisciplinary community of researchers; individual consultations on your research with staff curators, librarians, and scholars; and an array of scholarly and public programs.


Long-term fellowships support research and writing by scholars with a doctorate.  Fellowship terms range from six to eleven months with stipends of up to $50,400.  Deadline: January 11, 2010.


Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral scholars are eligible for short-term travel-to-collections fellowships.  These are usually awarded for a period of one month. Most are restricted to scholars who live and work outside the Chicago area.  Stipends are $1600 per month.

NEW:  We invite short-term fellowship applications from teams of two or three scholars who plan to collaborate intensively on a single, substantive project.  The stipend is $1600 per fellow per month.  Teams should submit a single application, including cover sheets and CVs from each member.

Deadline: March 1, 2010.

For more information or to download application materials, visit our website at: http://www.newberry.org/research/felshp/fellowshome.html

Or contact:
Research and Education
The Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

  • The Third International Symposium of the ICA (International Cartographic Association) Commission on the History of Cartography will take place at the University of Texas in Arlington, USA, from 10-13 October 2010. The Symposium will be held in conjunction with the 7th Biennial Virginia Garrett Lectures on the History of Cartography (Friday, 8 October 2010); the Fall Meeting of the Texas Map Society (Saturday, 9 October 2010); a Special Map Exhibition in the gallery of Special Collections of the University of Texas at Arlington, and technical and social excursions.

The overall theme of all three conferences is "Charting the Cartography of Chartered Companies", and abstracts should be submitted by 14 March 2010.
Although the ICA Commission encourages paper submissions targeting the main theme, the conference organizers would also welcome submissions on any other cartographical activity of either a topographical or thematic nature undertaken since the mid-18th century.  Further information can be found on the Commission's website at www.icahistcarto.org

Elri Liebenberg                                                                                                                                                                            Chair:  ICA Commission on the History of Cartography

Cataloging News

  • RDA Delayed
RDA: Resource Description and Access will be published in June 2010.  While we regret this delay in release of RDA, the transition from publication of AACR2 as a printed manual to release of RDA as a web based toolkit is a complex process with many interdependencies.

The updated text of RDA incorporates recommendations from constituencies and other stakeholders approved at the JSC meeting earlier this year.  The revised text has been successfully loaded into the RDA database.  The product is currently undergoing thorough quality review and testing in preparation for release.

We recognize that customers and prospective users of RDA need reliable and timely information for planning and budgeting.  We are confident that this revised deadline is a realistic target for publication of RDA.

Pricing and purchasing information will be introduced at the time of the ALA Midwinter Meeting, 15-18 January 2010.

Mary Ghikas,  Chair Committee of Principals
Alan Danskin, Chair Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA
Don Chatham, Chair Co-publishers

  • From the Library of Congress:
On June 10, 2009 the Policy and Standards Division (PSD) of the Library of Congress requested input from the library community about its proposal to change the structure of LCSH subdivisions for many cartographic materials (http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/cartographic.pdf). In brief, the paper suggested simplifying form subdivisions used for cartographic materials by removing the adjective (e.g. -Maps, Comparative would be revised to -Maps). The new genre/form headings would then do the “heavy lifting” of identifying a particular genre or form of material.  After reviewing all of the comments it received, PSD has decided to implement its proposal to simplify the subdivisions.

The full text of the decision, which includes PSD’s responses to several concerns raised by the correspondents, is available on LC’s web site at http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/cartographic2.pdf.

Janis L. Young
Policy and Standards Division
Library of Congress

Canadian News

  • No report this month. Though Tim assures me it’s still cold up there.


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New Maps & Web Sites of Interest
  • An exciting new website, Natural Earth, “is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110m scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software.”
  • d-maps: A very useful free site which contains over 6,500 outline maps of countries and regions, in various versions (blank, with rivers, with towns, with administrative units etc.), each one in 6 graphic formats, vector and raster (GIF, PDF, CDR, SVG, AI, WMF).
  • This online merchant has many map related items for sale, including map magnets which someone gave me a California set for Christmas (purchased at our campus bookstore, but they look exactly the same).

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