What is a map?

map is, abstractly, a visualization of the relationship between objects in space. Maps are sources of information about the relationships between humans, the relationship between humans and their environment, and the relationships between environments. Maps can also be used to visualize a lot of statistical data. Maps, though, are constructions and are created from a certain perspective.

gazetteer is a directory which accompanies a map and helps interpret the visualization.

Resources at Harvard


Maps can be searched for in the library catalog.

How to find?

How to find maps in the library catalog:

  • Open HOLLIS, Harvard's library catalog.
  • Above the search bar, there are options for different types of searches. Select Advanced Search
  • An expanded search box will appear. At the top of the search box is the text Search for and options to search the entire system or to limit the search to only materials which Harvard holds. There are also the options to search for reserves or by barcode. Select Library Catalog. This will limit the search to only materials which Harvard holds.
  • In the expanded search box is the text Search Filters. On the right side of the expanded search box is the text Resource Type. This filter limits the search to a specific type of resource, such as books, articles, databases, or archival materials. Click the downward arrow in the box below the text Resource Type and select Maps
  • Enter a search term for what you are looking for into the search box with the text Enter a search term
  • Select the Search button in the bottom right corner of the expanded search box. 

This search will retrieve maps held at Harvard.

Harvard Map Collection Index

A list of maps at Harvard which cannot be found through the library catalog.

Harvard University Mapping Past Societies Project

A map project using ArcGIS to visualize ancient and medieval archaeological features across Europe.

Celtic Map Collections

British Library Maps

The British Library has one of the largest collections of maps, plans and topographical views in the world, numbering some 4.5 million, with a chronological spread of over 2,000 years.

National Library of Ireland Maps

The National Library of Ireland collection of maps has grown to approximately 150,000 items. The collection is predominantly Irish but there are maps which relate to Britain, Europe and the world at large.

National Library of Wales Maps

The map collection contains 1.5 million sheets of maps, charts and plans as well as thousands of atlases. It is the largest map collection in Wales, and one of the largest in the British Isles. The collection contains a wide range of materials from the latest electronic mapping to 16th century maps and charts on vellum. The collection specialises in Welsh material; but also has a large number of items covering the rest of the world.

National Library of Scotland Maps

With around two million cartographic items, the National Library of Scotland map collection is the largest in Scotland and one of the largest in the world. Its holdings cover all parts of the globe, and range from early atlases and manuscript maps to current digital mapping, and include over 1.5 million sheet maps, 15,000 atlases, 100,000 maps on microfilm, volumes of digital mapping, gazetteers, cartographic reference books and periodicals, and map ephemera.

Continental Celtic Place Names Map

A map developed to accompany the Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-Names: A Celtic Companion to the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World.

Celtic Personal Names of Roman Britain

A searchable database of personal names from Roman Britain thought to contain Celtic elements.

National Library of Wales Welsh Tithe Maps

A digitized collection of tithe maps and records of Wales.