(by Tony Campbell, Chairman Imago Mundi Ltd, September 1998)
The changes introduced in the last edition, D8, met with general approval, and there has been no reason to alter them. The vade mecum, the `What's What in the History of Cartography', has been updated but keeps broadly to the same formula. The directory of current research in the subject, the `Who's Who' section, remains the work's main purpose. You can see at a glance who else is working in your own country, or you can find out -- by using the indexes -- with whom you could profitably collaborate or consult over a specialist query.
While it is the quality of the `Who's Who' we would wish readers to dwell on, we are delighted at the continued increase in its size. What started off quarter of a century ago under the joint editorship of Eila Campbell and Peter Clark as a listing of some 200 researchers from 25 countries, now encompasses 630 individuals from 45 countries. For the statistically minded, the progressive increase in researchers has been as follows:
Does this reflect an expansion in the number of those active in our subject, a wider definition of `the history of cartography', or greater success at identifying and ersuading relevant individuals to contribute? No doubt, all these reasons form part of the answer. The original editors acknowledged in their D3 preface (1981) that `there must be at least four times as many scholars pursuing research and publishing in this field as they have been able to list'. One of the D8 reviewers, Douglas Sims, concluded that `for the first time the number of major researchers omitted is small enough that D8 can claim to be a fair overall directory of scholars'. We -- Imago Mundi Ltd, the editor, and the publisher -- would like to think he is right. The steady stream of people of whose work on early maps we hear of only by accident, however, or who, in their turn, stumble on Who's Who... equally by chance, cautions us against any complacency.
We are also very much aware of the disappointingly high number of italicized entries, indicating that we have failed to elicit an update this time for an individual who submitted an entry for D8. Recent publications by these researchers can often be found instead in the annual bibliography included in Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography.
The overall issue is communication. Whatever else may stay the same, the speed and ease of international communication is changing radically and irrevocably. D8's introduction of email addresses made it the first Internet edition, although this was relevant only to a minority of those listed, and then mainly in the English-speaking world. The present edition, D9, documents the welcome spread of electronic mail that has now become a truly global network. We can safely predict that by the time of the next edition the great majority of researchers will be reachable by that route.
Although no more than three years have intervened since the last edition, D9 clearly signals the next major impact, that of the World Wide Web. The present trickle of Web publications will no doubt become a steady stream in future editions. We should not disguise the many frustrations that accompany Web use, but it does offer undreamed of possibilities for sharing (or hiding) information. Much of the updating to the `What's What...' section for this edition has involved the addition of URLs (Web addresses). Some of these may change over the life of this edition, and numerous new web pages will certainly be launched. However, one site offers itself as a single, dynamic gateway to this potentially confusing electronic babel: the Map History homepage. Researchers based in other disciplines -- and a gratifyingly large number are listed within the following pages -- are urged to follow this simple route to obtain current and comprehensive information about the initiatives, activities and resources that make up the history of cartography.
One question will certainly be raised. If Who's Who in the History of Cartography is so tied up with the World Wide Web, why is the entire text not made available on the Internet? The answer is that, in time, it may well be. Two factors need to be understood though. In the first place, each edition is the result of a laborious effort, by volunteers, to coax entries from a growing body of researchers, many of whom apparently suffer from inappropriate modesty. All original entries are edited and given shape through the indexes. Such a painstaking and time-consuming operation cannot be contemplated at less than three-yearly intervals. A Web version of D9 could thus be no more up to date than the printed format. [Afternote: see updates for corrections to researchers' addresses, etc.]
The second consideration is one of economics. Each enlarged edition depends on sufficient sales to defray its costs. Were D9 to be accessed via the Web, especially by those who in the past would have been purchasers, there would, quite simply, be no D10. It is possible -- and there are some indications in that direction -- that Web access might actually increase sales, by alerting people to the existence of a work hitherto unsuspected and, crucially, to the far greater convenience of an easily manageable volume on a nearby shelf rather than the cumbersome and often frustrating processes of the Web. We hold an open mind on this point and will seek to balance our aim of greater accessibility with the need to guarantee continuation of a work many researchers have for long found indispensable.
D9 sees itself as part of a nexus, embracing individuals, institutions, publications, activities and events. The history of cartography's relatively intimate scale -- our international conferences are attended by around 200 people -- has enabled the subject to achieve an unusual degree of organisation. It also has a reputation for carrying on discussions with a surprising lack of rancour! We hope that some of those we are welcoming into `Who's Who...' for the first time (and, in all, you number 168) will become better acquainted with us and our subject over the next years.
It may be helpful to repeat the intentionally tolerant definition of our subject, set out in D8 as follows: `Research should concern (even if indirectly) some aspect of the history of non-current maps, that it should be original, and that it should be destined for publication. Empirical studies (such as detailed biography or cartobibliography) and theoretical debate (on the application of aspects of mainstream thinking to the history of maps, for instance) are equally welcomed'.
As in past years, we acknowledge with thanks the assistance of the Imago Mundi National Representatives (listed inside that journal's front cover) for helping to ensure that their country's contribution to the subject is properly recognized. Others -- and it would be invidious to name names -- responded with helpful leads via the Internet MapHist list.
Finally, we have the sad duty to record the deaths of the following who had been listed in D8: Aoki Chieko (Japan); Cao Wan-Ru (China); Joshua Hane (USA); Derek Howse (UK); Josef Hursky (Czech Republic); William L D Ravenhill (UK); Gordon Scurfield (Australia); Dusan Trávnícek (Czech Republic); Peter George Vasey (UK); Erik Wihtol (Finland).