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Scope: Descriptions and links to working documents and resources related to the Linked Data for Libraries/Production Cartographic Materials domain project. See also the LD4P projects wiki for more on the Cartographic Extension

Creator: Marc McGee


LD4P Cartographic Materials Overview

This sub-project of the Linked Data for Libraries/Production will explore best practices for creating native Linked Data descriptions for library cartographic resources including printed maps, atlases, digital geospatial datasets, and other cartographic information resources.  The project will evaluate BIBFRAME’s effectiveness as a data model for describing cartographic materials for research needs and will compare BIBFRAME’s effectiveness versus other available Linked Data descriptive schemas.  In addition the group will evaluate the thesauri and controlled vocabularies associated with the description of cartographic resources to identify those vocabularies best suited to describe cartographic resources in a linked data environment.  The group’s deliverables will include: a BIBFRAME profile for cartographic resources; a set of published BIBFRAME descriptions for a variety of cartographic resource types; a written evaluation of the project and set of recommendations for future research and development; and presentation of project findings to appropriate library cartographic materials and linked data communities.

Use Cases

Use Cases (Working version)

Environmental Scan

Environmental Scan (Working document)

Geospatial and Cartographic Resources Ontology (GCRO)

Last updated: 4/27/2018

The Cartographic Materials Working Group has prioritized the following cartographic-related concept areas for ontology modeling recommendation papers & graphics:

Geospatial and Cartographic Resources Ontology (GCRO) project files 

Applications and tools


VitroLib for cartographic materials/geospatial metadata (under development) - Harvard as part of the LD4L Labs project will be building a cartographic materials/geospatial metadata editing tool based on the Cornell VitroLib tool.  The Harvard customization work will support the additional requirements for creating linked data descriptions in the domain extensions (i.e.. custom data input forms for Spatial Extent - Bounding Box, Projection Data, & Cartographic Relief).

Meetings and Communication

LD4P-CM Working Group

Bi-weekly meetings, Thursdays, 2-3p Eastern Time via WebEx

On-going communication of the LD4P-CM Working Group is through the googlegroup:!forum/ld4p-cartographic  

Community Outreach


Linked Open Data Modeling for Library Cartographic Resources (Kimberly Durante, Katherine Hart Weimer and Marc McGee; poster for American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, April 2016)

Geoinformation in Digital Libraries and Linked Data (Katherine Hart Weimer; presentation for Aplace4places, DH2016 pre-conference workshop, July 2016)

ALCTS Webinar Linked Data Description of Cartographic Resources, May 2, 2018

Community updates

ALCTS-CaMMS MAGIRT Cartographic Resources Cataloging Interest Group meeting

Project updates ALA Annual 2016, 2017
Project updates ALA Midwinter 2017, 2018


Toward a Linked Data Model for Describing Cartographic Resources [article] (Marc McGee, Harvard Library, Kim Durante, Stanford University, and Katherine Hart Weimer, Rice University, Journal of Map and Geography Libraries, May 11, 2017) 

Linked Data Resource Descriptions

 Forthcoming 2018

Project timeline 

Project Timeline (April 2016 to March 2018)  (Extended to June 30, 2018, see also Current Activities)

Contact Information

Marc McGee, Geospatial Metadata Librarian, mmcgee (at) fas (dot) harvard (dot) edu


Archived Project Updates 



April 2017

The first year of the LD4P Cartographic Materials Extension project focused on performing an environmental scan of library and geospatial linked data-related projects, drafting target use cases, identifying and prioritizing areas of need for ontology development, writing cartographic materials ontology modeling recommendations, and performing community outreach.


The Cartographic Materials Extension will build on the LD4P/LD4L Labs BIBFRAME extension ontology in order to support the description of cartographic resources. The LD4P Cartographic Materials Working Group has prioritized ontology development around 6 concept areas (projection, spatial extent-bounding box, scale, relief, types of cartographic resources, and prime meridians) that support being able to fulfill the 11 researcher, student, and librarian use cases. The ontology recommendations are currently considered to be in draft and next steps for the project group will be to focus on finalizing the ontology modeling recommendations for the priority concept areas, writing the supporting ontology files, informing the development of the VitroLib editor to support the description of cartographic materials, and having a group of library catalogers test the ontology model and cataloging tools by describing a selection of cartographic resources.

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