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References Evaluation – Group work

Geographic resources

Submitted by

Group (1)
Francie Berger
Hanem Ibrahim
Heather Tebbs

ILS 504- Reference Materials and Services

Dr. Elsie Okobi

Fall 2009

Evaluation Set 5 – Geographic sources

This paper evaluates 15 geographical sources as reference resources.
Documentation of each group member’s contributions follows the body of
the work.
1- Atlas of the World
Atlas of the World (10th ed.). (2002). New York: Oxford University Press.
Currency and Accuracy
The maps in this atlas are current and accurate to the date of publication
The Oxford University Press is the oldest continuously operating university
press in the world. They began publishing scholarly, educational and
research materials in the late 1400s and are one of the most highly regarded
publishers of academic resources in the world.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
The scale of the maps is sufficient for all text to be large and the fonts used
make all text easily readable. The color usage, although highly detailed,
using hill shading and relief coloring to indicate topographical features, never
distracts the user from accessing the information provided. There is a
legend to all symbols used throughout the book on the first page
Scale and Projection
The scale of each map is indicated in the table of contents. The scale varies
according to whether the map is of a continent, a country, or a city. Within
each geographic category, the scale used is consistent as possible. The
maps are drawn to as large a scale as possible to compensate for distortions
caused by projecting a curved surface onto a flat presentation. The
projection type used- conic, azimuthal, or cylindrical- is noted on each map.
The Oxford Atlas of the World is a gorgeous hardcover print publication.
Each map whether it fits completely on one page or is part of a two-page
spread, is framed on the page so that no information is lost in the gutter of
the book. The volume is over-sized and therefore resides on a shelf in a
small dictionary podium at my local library.
The atlas has two tables at beginning of the book. The first, a Country list,
includes area and population figures for each listing. The second, a Physical
Dimensions list is organized by category (continents, mountains, rivers, etc.).
The alphabetical index at the back of the book lists principal place names
and features. Each listing includes information on whether it is a country or
region, the page number, grid square reference, a notation if it is an inset
map, and latitude and longitude coordinates. Each place name also includes
symbols indicating whether it is a country, river, overseas territory or
dependency, first order administrative area, national park, other park, or
principal airport.
The 2005 hardcover deluxe edition of the Atlas of the World is listed at
$175.00 U.S.
2- Chambers World Gazetteer
Munro, David (1990) Chambers world gazetteer : A Geographical Dictionary
Cambridge(England); N.Y: Cambridge University Press.

Currency and Accuracy

First published in 1988 under the title Chambers world gazetteer: an A-Z of
geographical information" Its information is trustable and accurate, but not
up- to- date, and each edition includes extensive cumulations, and not
updated currently.
Edited by Dr. David Munro From The Famous Cambridge University, and
published by The
University press in Both Cambridge( England) and New York, its information
is collected from statistical yearbooks, local Chamber of Commerce, and
Government tourist boards , which make it more to be trusted as accurate
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
It is book size, but small print, has multiple color maps, and multiple though
rather generic symbols. Entries overall are rather short , except when central
political/ administrative place , then can be a few pages long, cross reference
, pronunciation tools, measurements.
Scale and Projection
Multiple scales.
Hard cover book size single volume (print Gazetteer).
No index, arranged alphabetically by location
$35.96 at Barnes & Noble
3- The Columbia Gazetteer of the World
The Columbia gazetteer of the world (1998) edited by Saul B. Cohen.- New
York : Columbia University Press.
Currency and Accuracy
The 1998 Gazetteer had 165,000 entries. 25,000 of them new to this
edition, It is revised in each print edition , but not occasionally published
in print, meanwhile the online version is up-to date, and revised
The information contained therein edited by Saul B. Cohen who is a specialist
in political geography and University Professor. This Gazetteer is supervised
by a board of 150 leading geographical scholars from all parts of the world,
and published by an authoritative publisher one of reputational universities
in USA. It was Selected for Choice's 35th annual Outstanding Academic
Books list. Winner, Best New Professional/Scholarly Book in Geography and
Earth Sciences, 1998 Association of American Publishers Annual Awards
Competition. Booklist Editors' Choice winner, 1998.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
The Columbia Gazetteer has short articles or entries on all types of places
throughout the world; both physical places and political entities. Most articles
have details on where the place is located, its dimensions and borders, and
information on economic activities, demographics, history, and former or
alternate names and different spellings and pronunciations, but no color
maps, no symbols.
Scale and Projection
No scales, and no projection.

Print ( 1-3 vol.) online at:
No index
Print : $595.00 at Barnes & Noble. Online : log in with username and
password. For subscriber , or university library card holders.
4- Guide to Places of the World
Guide to places of the world: a geographical dictionary of countries, cities,
natural and man-made wonders. (1987). London: Reader’s Digest
Currency and Accuracy
This is not a current reference book. Geographical boundaries and
information change greatly over a ten year period. This resource is over 20
years old.
Reader’s Digest is a reputable publisher.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
School Library Journal described this resource as having “a lively writing
style that resembles a weekly news magazine rather than an encyclopedia or
a dictionary” (Outlaw, 1987). The same review goes on to state, “Lavish
photographs and charts are above average and sure to capture the interest
of readers. The inclusion of man-made wonders such as skyscrapers and
tunnels along with geographical features is a useful and unusual feature”
(Outlaw, 1987).
This resource contains approximately 8,000 entries. 736 pages of entries
include diagrams, illustrations, photographs, charts, and vignettes about
local life.
No index is included in this work. The entries are arranged dictionary-style
from A to Z.
This resource was $29.95 at the time of publication.
5- Hammond Historical Atlas of the World
Hammond Historical Atlas of the World. (1984). Maplewood, New Jersey:
Hammond, Inc.
Currency and Accuracy
Although this is an historical atlas and as such should be current, the
publication appears outdated. This could be the reason it is housed in the
general adult section of the library, as opposed to the reference room.
Hammond, Inc. has been publishing maps for over 100 years and is a well-
respected leader in the field.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
As there are two or four maps on several pages the text used is quite small
and at times difficult to read. Some of the colors used for the countries are
so dark that they obscure the text. Several of the colors used give the maps
an almost cartoon-like quality, but borders are clearly delineated. No
symbols are used on any of the maps so no general legends are necessary.
The only keys that exist are the individual color legends on each map.

Scale and Projection

There are a variety of maps in this book; some maps are full size to a page,
some are two to a page and some are even four to a page. There does
appear to be an attempt to keep scales as consistent as possible on maps of
equivalent size. A grid system is utilized throughout the book.
The Hammond Historical Atlas of the World is a soft cover print publication.
No map in the book crosses pages so no information is lost in the gutter of
the book. This book would be more effective as an oversized publication as
opposed to the 9”x 12” format it uses.
The alphabetical index to this atlas index begins on the inside of the front
cover and continues onto the inside of the back cover. The index lists place
names and gives the index reference (grid location) and plate number (page)
where the map can be found. The table of contents is organized
chronologically from 3000 B.C. to Present Day Europe (1983).
The hardcover edition of the Hammond Historical Atlas of the World lists for
$16.95 U.S., the soft cover edition is $11.95 U.S.
6- Historical Atlas of the United States
Historical Atlas of the United States. (1988). Washington, D.C.: National
Geographic Society.
Currency and Accuracy
The information in this book is current to the date of publication.
The National Geographic Society has been publishing maps and articles of
historic interest since 1888 and is regarded as a leading authority in the
field. Scores of scholars and consultants were brought in as advisors for this
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
This book is so much more than just a collection of almost 500 maps.
Subject articles also include more than 450 photographs, 80 graphs, and
140,000 words of text to provide a complete overview of American history.
When maps are used they meet the publisher’s exacting cartographic
standards: text is highly readable, color is used to its best effect, and
symbols are fully explained.
Scale and Projection
Based on the format of the book, scale and projection vary for each of the
maps included.
The National Geographic Historical Atlas of the United States is a beautiful
hardcover print publication. The volume is over-sized and therefore resides
on a shelf in a small dictionary podium at my local library.
The table of contents at the front of the book is divided into five sections:
People; Boundaries; Economy; Networks; Communities. The alphabetical
index at the back of the book includes illustration references in bold type.
The National Geographic Historical Atlas of the United States lists for $40.00
7- MapQuest
MapQuest (n.d.) Accessed On November 11, 2009 from :
Currency and Accuracy
MapQuest was acquired in 2000 by America Online, Inc. It includes current
and up-to- date information, but it does not include complete coverage of
Europe. It was the first consumer focused interactive mapping application.
MapQuest is a map publisher and a free online Web mapping service owned
by AOL , an American global Internet services and media company operated
by Time Warner.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
It’s one of the popular site, which includes color maps, with some symbols.
they completely redone the entire road network to improve readability and
shape of the roads with the new colors and styling. A cleaner map style is
achieved by highlighting the major roads more clearly and the smaller
access roads with narrower lines and lighter colors
Scale and Projection
Multiple scales, no information available on the projection.
It is an online accessed web site at In October
2006, MapQuest sold off its publishing division (which published traditional
maps in paper format) to concentrate on its online and mobile services
No index , extensive search features.
8- Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary
Merriam-Webster’s geographical dictionary (3rd ed.). (2001). Springfield, MA:
Currency and Accuracy
The 3rd edition was completely revised and rewritten in 2001. The work is
eight years old. Due to the number of changes in geo-political boundaries
that can occur over the span of a decade the information contained within it
should be viewed with a critical eye due to its age. The work contains
population data and other statistical facts that quickly become out-of-date.
Merriam-Webster is a respected publisher of reference materials, especially
dictionaries. This work first appeared in 1949 under the name Webster’s
Geographical Dictionary. It was edited in 1972 and renamed Webster’s New
Geographical Dictionary.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
A key to abbreviations and symbols used is given in the beginning of the
work. Another section on map symbols is provided and denotes everything
from dams and historical sites to traditional map items such as mountains
and rivers. The list of symbols appears comprehensive.
Scale and Projection
Different projections are used depending upon the reference needs of the
map shown. A very detailed section is given in the work that explains scale
and projection so that the reader may understand, in context, why a
particular projection and scale method was used.
This is a desk-size guide intended “to provide, in text and maps, essential
information on spelling, pronunciation, type of feature, location, and
depending on the nature of the entry, population, size (as area, height,
depth, or length), economy, history, and other matters of importance.” The
focus is on United States and Canada as well as, to a lesser extent, other
English speaking countries.
Alphabetization is done without regard to spaces between words.
Entries are comprised of the following elements: entry word (in bold face),
pronunciation, name variations, identification, location, area and population,
geographical and physical features, economic information, general items
such as historical data and names of educational institutions.
For entries covering “natural features, besides the identifying description
and the location, the following kinds of information are included: size, such
as lengths of rivers, heights of mountains, lengths and areas of islands and
of lakes; economic data, such as navigability of rivers, mineral wealth of
mountains, agricultural and industrial products of islands; and historical
information, such as date of discovery, colonization, or acquisition.
For the maps themselves, cutaways are given that detail smaller areas of
large maps. Keys are provided that are specifically designed for each map
and also give scale information. A map is not given for every entry. There are
far fewer maps than entries, in fact. All maps are in black and white.
The Dictionary attempts to list as many place names and their variations as
A list of maps is given.
$32.95 was the sticker price for the copy I examined.
9- Atlas of the Universe
Moore, Patrick. (1970). The Atlas of the Universe. New York: Rand McNally.
Currency and Accuracy
While the information is current and accurate to the date of publication, this
is an outdated volume as much research and new findings have occurred in
this field.
Rand McNally has been publishing maps since the late 1800s and is one of
the best regarded names in the business. Patrick Moore is an internationally
acclaimed author of over 50 books on the subjects of astronomy and space
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
Much like the National Geographic Historical Atlas of the United States, maps
are but one part of this book. Each entry provides background information
on the subject, diagrams, charts, and photographs. When maps are used
they do not conform to standard atlas cartography formats. Text is readable,
but there is no use of color or symbols, so no keys or legends are utilized.
Scale and Projection
Based on the subject matter, scale and projection are impossible to achieve.
The Atlas of the Universe is a hardcover print publication. The volume is
over-sized and therefore resides on a shelf in a small dictionary podium at
my local library.
A Catalog of Stellar Objects at the back of the book provides basic
information on each subject as well as the corresponding map number.
There is also a Glossary. The alphabetical index lists nothing more than the
page number for the subject.
The copy I examined carried a list price of $35.00 U.S. The 2003 edition lists
for $40.00 U.S.
10-The National Atlas of the United States of America
The National Atlas of the United States of America (1970). Washington D.C.:
US Geological Survey. The new edition on line accessed on Nov 11, 2009
Currency and Accuracy
This edition (1970) is out of print, In 1997, work began on a new and
innovative National Atlas. The new edition includes both electronic and paper
map products and exploits information presentation, access, and delivery
technologies that did not exist in 1970.
The National Atlas is a showcase for the geospatial data collected by federal
agencies. It offers authoritative scientific, social, and historical information.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
Color is very effective in distributing between the map-types, there are
many symbols and legends used with each map, these maps are convenient
for readers wanting basic , or detailed information , they are clear and
readable. the online version added useful tools including the ability to
customize maps with the particular information you find most useful, print
and download maps, order large wall size maps for home and learn about
different areas with linked articles.
Scale and Projection
Until now, all fundamental map layers had been produced at 1:2,000,000 for
sectional map, and 1:500,000 scale for urban maps.
The print version is out of print, the online edition available at , it’s user friendly white background, introducing many
features to use.
The Atlas includes an index with place names, population, latitude and
longitude, page number, and map co- ordinates.
Out of print, the online version is free to public access .
11-Rand McNally Commercial Atlas & Marketing Guide
McNally Rand (December 15, 2008) Rand McNally 2009 Commercial Atlas
& Marketing Guide (140 th. ed.) Chicago: Rand McNally & Company.
Retrieved on Nov.11, 2009. From :'+atlas
Currency and Accuracy
Updated annually, each edition includes updated, detailed maps with the
latest geographic data for more than 120,000 places in the United States.
Most of its information from Governmental public resources.
Published by reputable authoritative publisher.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
Color is used to highlight the specific demographic information, each map is
meant to illuminate. Higher color- contrast would make the map more useful
and easy to use. A legend appears at the beginning the book defining of the
symbols, which are useful. But the print is small
Scale and Projection
The scale varies depending on the type of map, but it does seem appropriate
for each map-type . projection is not really an issue since the atlas does not
cover any of the northern or southern extremities of the globe.
Hardcover , 2 volume set: Vol. 1: 271 pages, Vol. 2: 322 pages , it includes
highway, airlines railroads and Amtrak maps telephone area codes, trading
areas, business ….
Many indexes are included in that atlas , the index include particular
information including cities and towns, transportation lines, counties
populations, business and manufactories by counties, metropolitan area,
principle cities, post offices , zip codes , banking facilities.
12-Rand McNally Road Atlas: United States, Canada, Mexico
Rand McNally Road Atlas: United States, Canada, Mexico. (2003). Chicago:
Rand McNally.
Currency and Accuracy
The maps in this atlas are current and accurate to the date of publication
Rand McNally has been publishing maps since the late 1800s and is one of
the best regarded names in the business.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
The scale of the maps is such that all information is very legible. Although
some of the text for the smallest town names is small the font used makes
everything very readable. The colors used are subtle enough not to interfere
with the text but differentiated enough to clearly delineate boundaries and
communicate other information. The atlas includes an outstanding legend to
all symbols used on page 1.
Scale and Projection
The atlas does its best to use the same scale as often as possible
The Rand McNally Road Atlas: United States, Canada, Mexico is a paperback
print publication. Due to the nature and use of the atlas, print is the most
appropriate format. It is a large scale, easy to read, easy to use paperbound
book that reads well across both pages when open.
The atlas has an extensive index in the back that indicates the location of
the map by page number and the location of the county, city or town by grid
system. The index also includes population figures from the most recent
The price for the 2010 Rand McNally Road Atlas: United States, Canada,
Mexico is $13.95 U.S.
13-The Times Atlas of the World
The Times atlas of the world. (2007). New York: Harper Collins.

Currency and Accuracy

This resource is current. This is a new edition that has been completely
revised and updated, including the maps and city plans.
Harper Collins is a reputable publisher.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
The color maps make the maps more interesting. The maps are legible and
easy to read. Interesting maps of the solar system are included. The
inclusion of satellite images is a great touch.
An index of place names is included.
The price is $50.00 on
14-The Times Atlas of World History
Barraclough, G. & Parker, G. (Eds.). (1993). The Times atlas of world history.
London: Times Books.
Currency and Accuracy
This resource is 16 years old and is not current. In 1993 when it was
published there were complaints by reviewers that the atlas does not contain
a map of the breakup of the Soviet Union or of the Persian Gulf War.
However, editor George Parker is a Yale history professor of some acclaim.
His name lends authority to the resource as well.
Times Books are reputable publishers.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
Color maps and photographs are used.
This is a large resource with maps printed on glossy thick paper. It is 360
An index of historical place names is included.
This resource may be found used for $2.75.
15-The Weather Almanac
The weather almanac. (1974). Detroit: Gale.
Currency and Accuracy
This reference resource is over 35 years old and is no longer current.
Gale is a reputable publisher of reference resources.
Legibility, Readability, Color, Symbols
Each map has a key/legend. The maps show weather patterns rather than
focusing on topographical features. Focus is on the United States and its
There is no index included in this resource.
This item is out of print.