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The Caucasus: Cartographic Resources in the Library of Congress

Contents and Background

Felix Oswald, cartographer. A Geological Map of the Caucasus Compiled from the Latest Sources by Felix Oswald. 1914. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

This research guide is not a comprehensive cartobibiliography of maps and atlases relating to the Caucasus. Rather, it attempts to identify mostly uncataloged original maps of the Caucasus held primarily by the Geography and Map Division. The resource guide also identifies several other categories of related materials, those being: 1) some informative original maps in the Library's collections that are cataloged, as well as a few kept elsewhere yet, nonetheless, available as digital images on the LC public website; 2) a number of atlases, all of which should be searchable on the Library of Congress online catalog; 3) general reference and bibliographic resources, including gazetteers, on the Caucasus; and 4) a few external websites and databases with cartographic information on the region.

Because the division's collection of maps and atlases of the Caucasus and its components are so large, this guide is necessarily selective but not definitive. It supplements those maps that are listed and described on the Library of Congress online catalog, and can serve a starting point for those who wish to explore the Library's cartographic materials on the region, as well as on the broader areas of the Near East and Russia, in the Geography and Map Division.

Map coverage in this resource guide ranges in date from 550 AD, represented by a seventeenth century map that attempts to reconstruct the nation of Armenia during the reign of Emperor Justinian, to 2018, the date of the most modern atlas included. Coverage ends generally in the mid 1970s, at which point maps published by that period are more than likely to have an entry in the Library of Congress online catalog. Researchers wishing to search for and identify maps and atlases acquired after, but not necessarily published by, 1972 are directed to the Library of Congress online catalog. By and large the bulk of the cartographic materials acquired prior to 1972 have not been adequately listed and described in the LC online catalog, and, therefore, must be requested for review and selection in the Geography and Map Reading Room.

In theory, the Library's collection of atlases has been cataloged in its entirety. Nevertheless, catalog descriptions of earlier atlas acquisitions can be deficient or inaccurate. Thus, atlas coverage in the guide includes those materials pertaining to the Caucasus published prior to 1972, but also includes modern atlases that illustrate the historical geography of the region and its component nations, from antiquity to the current era.

Because cataloging cartographic materials by way of a standard format was adopted relatively late by the Library, about half of the division's collections, including maps of the Caucasus, Russia, and Southwest Asia, remain uncataloged at the time of this resource guide's preparation. Those materials not listed in the online catalog are filed in what is known as the "single map file" or "title collection," where they are arranged by location, usually under name of a country or region, and thereunder by administrative subdivision, subject category, and date. This resource guide attempts to fill that gap by highlighting some of the potentially useful items in the division's collections related to the Caucasus, although it, too, includes some significant items already described in the online catalog. Both Library call numbers and title collection filing locations, by which maps are stored and filed, are included in each entry.