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Finding Map Resources

How to find maps, atlases and other spatial resources in the catalog and Mirlyn Classic.

About the Card Catalog

Many of the collection's older items are organized by accession number rather than call number. It may be necessary to consult the (paper) card catalog or the shelf list for an exhaustive search. Ask a Clark Library staff member for assistance.

3 Ways to Find Historic Maps

Here are three approaches to finding historical maps, roughly defined as pre-20th century.

1. Limit by publication year

You can limit your search by publication year in the sidebar in the library catalog. You could also use the Advanced Search to search 'all fields' for keywords e.g. 'italy maps' and then use another row to search by 'year of publication'. 

2. Identify appropriate subject headings

Library of Congress Subject Headings may help in identifying older maps. You can browse subject headings in Mirlyn by typing a keyword and selecting the 'subject' button. The LCSH volumes may also be consulted.

Some useful LCSH headings for historic maps:

  • Cities and towns, Ancient
  • Cities and towns, Medieval
  • Cities and towns, Renaissance
  • Classical Geography--Maps
  • Early Maps
  • Geography, Ancient--Maps
  • Geography, Medieval--Maps
  • Historical Geography--Maps
  • Maps--Early Works to 1800
  • Maps--Facsimiles
  • [Place]--History--Maps

3. Historical Atlases

Historical Atlases include maps and are important supplements in answering research questions. Depending on the location and the time period, it might be the only item that fits your particular query. Search for historical atlases by keyword, or using the subject headings listed above.

Michigan County Histories and Atlases

The Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project is comprised of 428 digitized titles (many composed of multiple volumes) published before 1923. The collection offers all members of the community free keyword searching and page-by-page access to digitized reproductions of Michigan county histories and atlases as a resource for historical and genealogical research. The interface is a little dated and the searching function does not always work well. If you cannot find something, please feel free to contact Clark Library.