The distinction between multisheet single maps and a map series/set affects the call number, physical description area, notes, and, in some instances, the added entries for an item.

Multisheet Single Map:

A single map printed on two or more sheets is often referred to as a multisheet single map. This type of item can often be identified and distinguished from a map series/set by:

the number of sheets generally does not exceed 12;

the individual sheets are usually published simultaneously, by the same body, are available as a unit;

each sheet has an incomplete border, often on only one or two sides of the sheet, although the item has a complete border when the sheets are joined together;

usually only one sheet has the main title or legend data, although each sheet may have its own sheet title or designation (e.g., northwest sheet, sheet no. 3, etc.).

The most important feature of a multisheet single map is that each individual sheet is not a complete map in itself. Only when considered together do the sheets constitute a complete map.

Map Series/Set:

A collection of maps is often referred to as a map set or more recently map series. Although there are some similarities, a map series/set is not the same as and should not be confused with a "monographic series". (1) The number of items in a map series/set cam be as few as two and as many as 10,000 or more. Regardless of the number, the sheets in a map series/set have common, unifying characteristics.

The sheets within a map series/set generally conform to a uniform size, format, scale, and projection. However, some map series/sets may have varying dimensions or scales.

A map series/set employs the same system of cartographic symbolization (e.g., the method used to depict relief, the color schemes used to show thematic information, etc.) on all sheets.

Resembling a multisheet single map, the sheets of a map series/set often form a large single map when assembled. However, the sheets of a map series/set are complete maps in themselves and can be used independently. Generally each sheet includes the collective series/set title, statement of responsibility, and publication information as well as legend data although, in some instanced, the title and/or legend are on a separate sheet(s).

A map series/set is identified by a collective, series designation, scale, or any combination of these elements. Example:

In addition to the collective title for the map series/set as a whole, each sheet also has its own sheet title or designation that may include the name of the geographic area covered, a map number, a sheet number, etc. Example:

A map series/set is usually produced and published by single government or commercial body. However, a series/set that is issued over a long period of time or international in scope, may involve several agencies or organizations (e.g., the International Map of the World 1 :1,000,000 is an international cooperative project that is produced by many government mapping agencies).

The sheets of a map series/set may be issued simultaneously or over a period of time, some large series/sets are issued over many years. Additionally, individual sheets within a map series/set may be revised and updated frequently, or occasionally, or not at all. Updates may be complete revisions or merely overprints with new or corrected information (e.g., topographic maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey are often "phototrevised" with the revision information overprinted on the previous version of the sheet in a distinctive color).

The primary intent of most map series/sets is to cover a contiguous geographic area (e.g., a city, state, country, the world, etc.) in a systematic arrangement with each sheet covering a specific area (e.g., a quadrangle, administrative unit, etc.). The sheets of a map series/set may be general in nature showing general geographic features (e.g., planimetric, topographic, etc.) or they may be thematic and emphasize a particular theme or subject (e.g., highways, geology, soils, vegetation, land use, etc.). Example:

In some instances, however, a map series/set may contain sheets covering the same geographic area with each sheet displaying a different or related theme or subject (e.g., each sheet covers the state of Alaska and shows a different mineral resource, each sheet covers the state of Colorado and shows a different topic relating to land use and regional planning). Example:

See also:

Collective Sets/Series/Serials