The History of Cartography Project

By Freundlich, Beth | Cartography and Geographic Information Science, July 2011 | Go to article overview

The History of Cartography Project


Freundlich, Beth, Cartography and Geographic Information Science


The History of Cartography Project is moving ever closer to meeting the ambitious goal set by founders J. B. Harley and David Woodward in 1977. They envisioned a unique multi-volume reference work that would examine maps as tools and as records of societal worldviews and perceptions of space from prehistory through the twentieth century. The project has developed into a comprehensive six-volume reference work of international repute. Three volumes have been published to date: Volume 1, Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean (1987), ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward; Volume 2.1, Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies (1992), ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward; Volume 2.2, Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies (1995), ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward; Volume 2.3, Cartography in the Traditional African, American, Arctic, Australian, and Pacific Societies (1998), ed. David Woodward and G. Malcolm Lewis; and Volume 3, Cartography in the European Renaissance, ed. David Woodward (2007).

Over the past several years, The History of Cartography series has seen many noteworthy developments. A significant change is in the structure of the presentation of information in the final three volumes of the series. Volumes Four, Five, and Six, which cover the Enlightenment, the Nineteenth, and the Twentieth Century, respectively, are structured as interpretive encyclopedias. The encyclopedic format offers a number of advantages over the lengthy narrative chapters written by a relatively small number of experts for Volumes One, Two, and Three. By integrating contributions from a large number of wide-ranging scholars--approximately 275 for each of the last three volumes--the new format makes the project a more broadly cross-disciplinary effort and helps the editors evaluate relative topical coverage. Readers can access information through the alphabetically organized entry terms, by consulting the comprehensive index, and by using the cross-referencing provided both within and between entries. The carefully selected reference list at the end of each entry will provide valuable signposts for scholars who consult the History as a reference tool. Obscure but important technical and biographical facts will be made more accessible in self-contained entries rather than being embedded in longer essays. The encyclopedic format also allows the editors to keep tight control on the size of the volume. The relatively brief format of individual encyclopedic entries will balance breadth with depth of coverage.

The final three volumes are being prepared concurrently under the editorial direction of Matthew Edney and Mary Pedley (Volume Four), Roger Kain (Volume Five), and Mark Monmonier (Volume Six). Stages of preparation include volume design; commissioning authors and monitoring their progress; receipt, translation, and editing of manuscripts; fact and reference checking, illustration acquisition, and quality control; assembly of the final volume; and print and digital publication. In order to move manuscripts more quickly from author submission to fact and reference checking, Edney, Pedley, and Monmonier have recruited editorial assistants Dennis Reinhartz and Sarah Tyacke for Volume Four and Peter Collier, Karen Cook, Jon Kimerling, and Joel Morrison for Volume Six. Kain has enlisted help from Imre Demhardt and Caria Lois for Volume Five.

Between 2006 and 2011, Volumes Four and Six moved from recruitment of the first contributors to editing, fact checking, and procurement of illustrations. Indeed, by the end of March 2011, authors had submitted 90% of the entries for Volume Six. Monmonier aims for publication in 2014. By the same date, contributors had submitted about 66% of the Volume Four entries. Kain was appointed editor of Volume Five in 2008, and he set the nineteenth century volume in motion with a draft list of entry terms and establishment of an advisory board. …

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