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Maps at the University Library: Classification system for maps

Boggs and Lewis classification system

At the University Library, we use the Boggs and Lewis Area Classification Schedule to organize our maps. Unlike the Library of Congress Classification System that we use for books or journals, in Boggs and Lewis the subject matter of a map is secondary in importance to the geographical area it covers. This means that when you go to find maps in the map cabinets, they are organized first by area, and then by subject (e.g. topographic, geological, political, etc.)

Different areas of the world are represented by numbers:

000 The Universe (astronomic charts, planets, etc.)
100 World (and larger parts)
200 Europe
300 Europe
400 Asia
500 Africa
600 North America
700 Latin America
800 Australia and New Zealand
900 Oceans

So you can see that the maps of Canada will be within the 600 range (610 to 629, to be exact).

Following the number for geographical area, call numbers are further subdivided by subject, which is represented by letters:

a General Maps
b Mathematical Geography, Cartography, Surveying
c Physical Geography
d Biogeography
e Human Geography
f Political Geography
g Economic Geography
h Military and Naval Geography
n History of Geography

The Canada National Topographic Series 1:50,000 has the call number of MAP 610 CBA 50. This is because the number 610 is used for Canada as a whole, the letters cba represent the subject "topographic maps" and then the number 50 further distinguishes the map scale (1:50,000 rather than 1:25,000 or 1:250,000, for example, which are other similar maps series in our collection).

Search by call number

If you know the call number of the map you're looking for, you can search for it in the library catalogue using the "Local Call Number" option in the first drop-down menu.