UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cartographic records in archives : a shared resource Hutchison, Margaret Mary


Cartography is often viewed as such an esoteric discipline employing art and science in the creation of records that little is known outside cartographic agencies about the evolution of the maps. Archives concerned with acquiring cartographic records have tended to concentrate on collecting the published maps. Maps are most often consulted for their illustrative value or reference quality. However, this illustrative value often obscures the character and evidential value of maps. This thesis attempts to show that cartographic materials have important evidential value and that archives have a responsibility to help ensure this value is recognized both in the acquisition of records and in their eventual use. The first problem for archives is to identify the full range of the cartographic record both in terms of agencies which produce cartographica and the records generated within each agency. Therefore, this study examines the range of cartographic records which have been produced in British Columbia over time, and the types of cartographic records three British Columbia repositories acquire. The second problem is that archivists need to gain an awareness of the cartographic communication process itself. To this end, this study outlines some aspects of cartographic communication which bear on matters of archival administration. Each of these in turn affects the appraisal of the evidential values of cartographic records. These indications of the complexity, together with the increasing sophistication, of the cartographic records argue strongly for the archivist's knowledgeability about their production as an aid in their use or interpretation. Cartographic materials have a valid place in archives but the archivist must take an active part in acquiring and understanding the records documenting the intervening procedures between data collection and map publication. Maps can serve a wider public and archives can be an important milieu for the more comprehensive use of the medium by acquiring the full range of cartographic records as well as helping researchers towards a better understanding of the motivating ideas behind the records they are using.

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