WWW-Virtual Library: History
Map History / History of Cartography: THE Gateway to the Subject

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Map History


Quick guide to what you will find on these pages


The 'Map History' site forms part of the WWW-Virtual Library. It offers a non-commercial mixture of comment and tips (spread over about 100 'pages') and many thousands of links to free sites. It is the work of one individual, who (as both author and webmaster) can make and implement decisions immediately.

Twelve brief introductory notes follow, intended to give you the flavour of the site. You can follow up the links below or go back to the Homepage, where you will see the site's structure. Alternatively, use the Index, or the Sitemap.

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Finding Map Images is not easy, but start with the listing of well over 1,200 Image sites, for leads to digitised images of early maps. The section is arranged by geographical region, with listings of the larger sites and a page on themes. The Explanatory page discusses technical and policy issues surrounding digitisation, and includes a note on Innovative sites.

Family historians and those doing genealogical research will want to consult Family history: maps and place-names.

Map Collecting. There are over 45 Map societies around the world, half of them in the USA, as listed by Bill Barrow, Peter van der Krogt, and now James Speed Hensinger. The UK-based International Map Collectors' Society is the leader among the map interest societies. It runs meetings in Britain and symposia around the world. IMCoS and the Washington Map Society produce their own journals; several other societies issue a newsletter. For information about map dealers, auctions, and international antiquarian map fairs - held annually in Breda, Denver, London, Miami and Paris - see Marketplace. The uncomfortable topic of Cartographic Fakes, Forgeries and Facsimiles likely to deceive is treated in a separate section.

For the Written word see Web articles and commentaries on specific topics in the History of Cartography with its listing of over 1000 links. This is the only comprehensive bibliography on the web for free online material in the subject. The links are arranged by geographical area, with other pages listing People, Themes, etc. Athough the number of web-based texts is growing fast, most in-depth studies remain available only in print. Under Reading Suggestions you will find Matthew Edney's annotated bibliography and Evelyn Edson's bibliographic guide, as well as some basic listings: 'books to get you into the subject', bibliographies, and biographical dictionaries. Check out online book reviews. The defining text, a multi-volume work entitled The History of Cartography, is emerging from the University of Chicago Press. This has so far covered the period up to the 17th century and the indigenous cartography of the various regions of the world.

Journals. The premier journal is Imago Mundi: the International Journal for the History of Cartography. Other academic journals in the subject include Mapline, Caert-Thresoor (Dutch) and Cartographica Helvetica (German). Newsletters are an important source of information and a number are now online.

Conferences and talks. Every two years there is an International Conference on the History of Cartography. Links are provided to current or previous programmes, so that you can see what to expect. Other international conferences are briefly described. John Docktor's Calendar of future events lists talks and map society meetings worldwide.

See Map collections for directories of libraries and archives, and information about particular institutions (including catalogues). For details of current and forthcoming map exhibitions around the world see Exhibitions. Stolen maps are discussed in Thefts of early maps and books.

Researchers. The last printed edition of Who's Who in the History of Cartography: The International Guide to the Subject (D9) appeared in 1998. In July 2013 it was replaced by the online International Directory of Researchers in Map History (an open source for contact information, current interests, research projects, and publications related to map history). If you are working with early maps you should be included. There are also two listings of relevant doctoral dissertations: those awarded since 1995, and those in progress.

The Teaching section offers suggestions to parents and teachers. There is also a listing of College-level courses. Taken with the doctoral dissertations (above), these listings are intended as a step towards the creation of a 'virtual' community of those researching and teaching the subject.

Fellowships. The J.B. Harley Research Fellowships in the History of Cartography, based in the UK, are the only European fellowships specifically devoted to the history of cartography. See the Fellowships menu for opportunities in the U.S.A. and elsewhere There are also a number of Prizes and awards on offer.

The Internet and the web. The ISHMap-list, the discussion list of the International Society for the History of the Map, was launched as a public platform in January 2014. It is effectively the successor, as a discussion list, to the MapHist list (1994-2012), which was replaced in turn by the MapHist Forum. Details are also given for other map lists. For help with finding relevant web resources, see the Lists of links and gateway sites. You can also find other general sections on Web projects, Globes, and News (sources).

Around the Subject. Check out Special Topics for various detailed sources of information that may have relevance for early maps, and take a look also at Related Subjects.


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