Collection Development Policy
Map Collection
University of Iowa Libraries
August 2007

The University of Iowa Map Collection, which houses over 197,000 maps and charts on the third floor of the Main Library, is the largest map collection in the state.  The Map Collection is international in scope and subject coverage is broad, excluding geologic maps, which are collected at the Geology Library.  The Map Collection also includes approximately 150,000 aerial photographs of Iowa counties, as well as Iowa county atlases and plat books, foreign and other atlases, and various geographic reference books.  Some historical items have been digitized and put on the web.  Selected electronic map resources are purchased, either entirely with Map Collection funds, or via agreements with other library selectors (and occasionally non-library entities).

The Map Collection’s primary purpose is to serve the curriculum and research needs of the faculty, students, and staff of the University of Iowa.  In addition, as part of a federal regional depository and Iowa state document depository, the collection serves the general public, both within and from outside the state.

Main geographic area of emphasis:  Collecting is done at the comprehensive level for Johnson County and cities within Johnson County.  The Map Collection collects extensively for eastern Iowa, and—according to patron and/or curriculum needs—the state of Iowa in general.  These items are systematically, and frequently, updated.

North America:  Collecting is done with decreasing comprehensiveness as the distance from Iowa increases, i.e., contiguous states, Midwest region, United States, North American continent.  Special collections of state highway and city maps from the United States are collected and periodically updated.

Other world areas:  Basic topographic map coverage, as well as selected thematic maps, are purchased and/or updated periodically for areas and countries, according to patron demand and/or curriculum needs, or in response to world events.

Chronology:  Emphasis is on obtaining materials produced currently, but some older items of historical interest may be obtained and possibly digitized.

Other formats, types of materials:

  • Digital information:  The Map Collection obtains digital spatial data, both via purchase and through the federal depository program, as well as numeric data in electronic format.
  • Atlases:  The Map Collection collects national, thematic, and road atlases for the United States, other countries, and the world.
  • Reference resources:  Geographic and cartographic dictionaries, gazetteers, books on historical mapping, and other appropriate reference works are collected for use of the Map Collection staff and its patrons.