Maps: citations, part 2

I finally managed to look through a copy of Cartographic Materials: A Manual of Interpretation for AACR2, mentioned in my last post. I could only find it through the UBC library’s Rare Books and Special Collections; I’d never had to access a library’s special collections before, and it was an experience. To protect the collection, the library imposes strict restrictions on what can be brought into the room. I had to check my bag and jacket, clean my hands, and take notes with pencil on paper they provided—no pens or outside papers were allowed.

When I began flipping through the binder of material, I confirmed my suspicion that it would be overkill for most authors and editors. AACR stands for the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, which is primarily a resource for librarians, and Cartographic Materials is an AACR publication with a particular focus on maps, so it’s even more esoteric. Still, looking through the book provided an interesting glimpse into the complex and disciplined world of the map librarian—especially one who works with what the AACR calls “early cartographic material” and has to figure out a way to meaningfully catalogue copies of old maps that may be disintegrating or missing pieces.

What’s more, it did effectively answer my own questions regarding punctuation and titles in the citations of early maps. Here are some relevant excerpts:

Punctuation and spelling

Rule 1B1: Transcribe the title proper exactly as to wording, order, and spelling, but not necessarily as to punctuation and capitalization. Give accentuation and other diacritical marks that are present in the chief source of information. Capitalize according to AACR2 Appendix A. (Page 1-2)

In general, base the description on the copy in hand… If missing or obscured letters or words can be reconstructed with some certainty, include these in the transcription, enclosing them in square brackets. (Page 0-2)

Generally follow conventions of modern punctuation in transcribing information according to these rules. Common sense may be used in transcribing or omitting punctuation found in the source of information. (Page 0-10)

For early cartographic materials, do not correct words spelled according to older nonstandard orthographic conventions. (Page 0-12)

For works published before 1801, in general do not add accents and other diacritical markets that are not present in the source… In general, transcribe letters as they appear. Convert earlier forms of their letters and diacritical marks, however, to their modern form. [So this would include ligatures and characters like the eth, which was an alteration of the d, or the long s, which looks like an f without the crossbar.] (Page 0-13)

Identifying and truncating a title

Rule 0C2: Items lacking a chief source of information: If no part of the item supplies data that can be used as the basis of the description, take the necessary information from any available source, whether this be a reference work or the content of the item itself. (Page 0-2)

On cartographic items where the title information in the cartouche or title block is arranged decoratively and/or other elements of the description are interspersed with the title information, transcribe the title as it would logically be read. (Page 1-2)

Rule 1B4: Abridge a long title proper only if this can be done without the loss of essential information. Never omit any of the first five words of the title proper (excluding the alternative title). Indicate omissions by the mark of omission. (Page 1-5)

Rule 1D1: Transcribe parallel titles in the order indicated by their sequence on, or by the layout of, the chief source of information. (Page 1-17)

The capitalization rules in AACR2 Appendix A referred to in Rule 1B1 above don’t really apply to authors or editors (if you look at CiP data in a book, you’ll notice that cataloguers don’t use title case), so for citation styles in a book, using title case consistently, according to Cartographic Citations: A Style Guide (Kollen et al.), is likely the best bet.

Many of these “rules” may seem like common sense—but I’ve found it an enormously helpful exercise to pin down an authoritative source that confirms what I’ve been doing and telling my authors.

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