Alice Hudson

H-65. Introduction to the History, Collection, Description and Use of Maps

22-26 June 2009


1) How useful were the pre-course readings?


1: Useful. I had read all or some of most of them before receiving the list. 2: What a great bibliographic list for research and reference long after the course is completed. It also offered an extensive overview prior to class. 3: The pre-course reading list was extremely helpful in its breadth. I purchased and read several of the books prior to the course and found that they gave me a useful base from which to start while actually at RBS. 4: I found most of the pre-course readings to be very valuable. Two exceptions were Denis Wood (Power of Maps) and Southworth (Maps), both of which I considered to be a waste of time and downright annoying. I really liked the Norman Thrower book and the Akerman and Karrow. 5: In general, they were useful in getting an overview of the subject. It was not necessary to read them all, since some were repetitious. 6: The pre-course readings were very useful, though a bit hard to do as reading at home since I could locate most of the sources at university libraries only and could not check them out. 7: A student didn't have to read the pre-course readings prior to taking the course, but the reading I did finish certainly helped me follow the instructor as she taught. The pre-course reading is a fantastic reference list for any library. 8: Very useful but rather overwhelming in quantity. 9: Very. Excellent suggested reading list. 10: Our pre-course readings were great. I learned a great deal about them. 11: Helpful in providing a background. The authors on the reading list were major scholars in this field. 12: Excellent pre-course readings.13: Useful. I think that with the course readings, the instructor could assume a slightly higher level of knowledge and eliminate some basic overview on day one. 14: Very useful.


2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?


1: Yes. 2: Yes, again, the syllabus contained a very extensive bibliographic listing organized by daily topic. It also contained information on each example presented in class. Well-organized overall. 3: The course syllabus was very well-designed, allowing for an appropriate level of attention and appropriate pacing of various topics as the week progressed. In addition, the instructor also allowed for flexibility in the discussion of issues. 4: Yes. Glad for the supplemental reading lists, which the instructor has promised to supplement further. 5: Yes, we were given a wealth of information for further reading and research. 6: Yes—I return with an especially useful reference list. 7: Yes, the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class were appropriate and useful to the course. The bibliographic material listed in the course book is particularly useful. I think this will be extremely valuable to me in the months to come. 8: Course syllabus was very handy, and bibliographical references were excellent, including those off Joel Kovarsky's list. 9: Yes—especially new (i.e. unknown to me) websites. 10: Yes, the syllabus was useful in class and will continue to be in the future. 11: The aesthetic layout of the course workbook could be improved. The bibliography is very helpful. A brief introduction (one paragraph to one page) to the course sections—French atlases, for example—would be an asset. 12: Course materials useful. 13: Yes. The bibliography was and will be extremely useful. 14: All materials were appropriate and useful. The syllabus I annotated during the course and will be of enduring value.


3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?


1: Unfortunately I found that most of the material was already known to me. There was very little new material. 2: 1. Cataloging information, 2. Resources, and 3. Direct observation of key map examples from RBS and UVA collections were all important. This is a very specific topical class, therefore the level was appropriate. Dr. Joel Kovarsky was instrumental in the presentation of cataloging information. 3: The intellectual level of the course was appropriate. I learned a tremendous amount from the other students in the course. 4: It was interesting to see a large amount of original material grouped by country of production to gain an appreciation of stylistic and printing quality differences. The segment by Joel Kovarsky on map cataloging was just about the right amount and presented in a lively manner. Intellectual level was appropriate for an introductory course. 5: Of greatest interest was seeing the actual maps and comparing them to each other. 6: The cataloging module was the most relevant aspect of the course for me. However, I also very much appreciated the general introduction to the reference books for research on maps and mapmakers, since I am not very knowledgeable about maps. 7: For an introductory course the intellectual level was appropriate. I would have liked to delve into more "meaty" map material, especially when discussing Dutch, French and English mapmakers. I would like to learn more about the backgrounds of the major map players. 8: 16-18th century maps for explorations and voyages were most relevant; intellectual level was good and certainly appropriate for most of the group. 9: Informational websites, publications and occasional information. 10: As a map novice, all of the material was of great interest. Being able to see the tools used in map production was of particular interest to me. 11: The intellectual level of the course was introductory. At times I longed for more scholarly content. 12: Running commentary on maps we had hands on experience with AND the commentary provided by class members. The map collectors in class were very knowledgeable. 13: The discussions about cataloging and description were most interesting for me. I also enjoyed the segments on nautical charts and special collectors visits for French, German, English, Dutch atlases. I do think the intellectual level could be bumped up a bit—we did a lot of looking but not getting background about some material. 14: I am most interested in antiquarian maps, and the history of their design (nationally, chronologically, etc.) I think that the course could assume a higher level of knowledge from the beginning, especially given the recommended reading list.


4) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?


1: Yes. 2: Yes it was. Many key (read: rare, historic, unique) examples were carefully chosen and well-coordinated. 3: Yes. Hands-on work with collections was a particularly useful part of the course. 4: We frequently met downstairs in SC to view original materials. Time well spent. 5: I did not attend tour, since I had previously toured SC during RBMS pre-conference. When I did, it was time well spent. 6: It was wonderful to be able to view so much of the resources discussed in class. However, it was equally frustrating not to be able to see the materials because the set-up for looking at the SC rare materials made it awkward to gather 14 people around a table and have everyone get an equally good view of the item under discussion. 7: Yes, we looked at several atlases and maps. It was really neat to be taught about maps while actually looking at the materials. 8: N/A 9: Yes. Very! 10: The breadth of the maps we were able to view was great. 11: Yes. 13: Yes. I think as the course evolves over time, instructor will have more familiarity with UVa artifacts and can refine selection. The items sometimes were not what she was expecting to see. 14: We made extensive use of SC materials. They were vital to the course.


5) What did you like best about the course?


1: 1. Joel Kovarsky on carto-bibliography. 2. My classmates were great. 2: The professional camaraderie was a supreme component in this course. AH created an atmosphere conducive to sharing knowledge, examples, recent projects and support for each other. AH is a great addition to the RBS faculty. 3: Mix of work including a discussion of many useful secondary sources; hands-on work with original maps, atlases, and globes; map exercises; presentations by students in the course about the challenges and lessons learned relating to their collections; cataloging workshop with Joel Kovarsky. 4: See answer to #3, plus there was a very good mix of students. 5: Viewing the atlases, and learning about printing processes. 6: The camaraderie among the students. I also very much appreciated the mix of backgrounds in the class. Having archivists, librarians, dealers and collectors as well as catalogers together offered many different perspectives on topics discussed in the class. It aided, clarified and enhanced discussion led by AH. I also very, very much liked our instructor. Her manner put me instantly at ease and she was great whether addressing librarians or dealers. She is a wonderful source of information and generous in sharing what she knows. I also appreciate Joel Kovarksy's contribution. He gave a very good though general discussion on cataloging rare maps. This topic is so complex, however, that it is hard to justify so brief an introduction. It offered nothing new to the catalogers, and may prove too technical for the non-librarians in the group. Not sure how you can resolve this conflict, but an RBS class on map cataloging for librarians with JK as instructor would be of great interest to me. 7: The course setting was very relaxed. I enjoyed the free-flow discussion between students and instructor. I enjoyed the instructor's didactic approach to map education. Instead of lecturing to us, she provided a "hands-on" environment for us to learn. Please, offer this class again. AH and Joel Kovarsky did a fantastic job. 8: Enjoyed Joel Kovarsky's excellent introduction to map cataloguing 9: Getting "further up the learning curve ..." 10: I enjoyed being able to examine and handle the woodcuts, copper plates, and lithographic stones. 11: My classmates. They were an incredible source of information and collegial support. 12: Hands-on experience with maps and atlases. 13: Great and diverse group of students from library, dealer and collector backgrounds. Knowledgeable instructor. 14: The discussion with the various editions of Goode's Atlas. It was very hands-on and revealing. I loved seeing the materials in SC, but we were not able to handle them. Although cataloging is not my concern, JK's segment was impressive and insightful.


6) How could the course have been improved?


1: Make clear that this is a very basic introduction best suited to people who know little or nothing. Also make clear that it is for librarians, not collectors or researchers. 2: As this is the first time in some years this course has been offered, it was a great success which will continue to improve. Follow-up courses MUST include an intensive history of maps, and perhaps a cataloging course. Then, courses on A. Dutch maps, B. French maps, and C. American maps to follow. 3: With the Intro to Maps course as a prerequisite, other spin-off courses could address such topics as the preservation, exhibition, digitization of historic maps. I would be interested too in a course(s) with more intensive regional study such as 19th-century North American maps. 4: I wish the instructor had known a bit more about printing (she admitted it was not her field), but the videos chosen for video night plus the time spent at the press with TB somewhat made up for it. 5: I think we could have devoted more time to cataloging maps. I would have liked basic instruction on selecting title, measuring maps, and determining map scale with a scale indicator. What we had was very good, but I would have liked more detail. I would have also liked more detail on distinguishing the various types of printing processes. 6: I think the manner in which materials (actual items) were presented in the SC rare book room needs to be thought out better. 7: I think it would be an excellent idea to invite Marianne Mekee, retired Map Specialist at the Library of Virginia, to speak on the copperplate printing process. Marianne worked with VCU in producing several restrikes from the Library of Virginia's copperplates from the 1827/1859 map of Virginia and the 1819 John Smith map of Virginia facsimile. Also please lengthen the classes on map cataloging to three sessions. 9: No suggestions. 10: I would like to see more on the history and context in which the maps were produced. 11: The addition of historical context when introducing materials. 12: Reading/study time with books. We only had a few minutes/day for this right before or right after classes. More complete introductions in the beginning—the instructor and class members. Extend study to include 19th-century maps and mapmaking. 13: Less emphasis on puzzles, less time spent with reference sources traveling around the room. I liked the last days with more class participation. 14: Add RBS packets for papers—historical—so students can get the feel of different papers. Expand on the Denmark packets theme. Collect more defective but old maps for hands-on use.


7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?


1: N/A 2: More hands-on with UVa materials. Books and maps were made to be touched. That is how they work. If your class is made up of professionals in the field chosen by RBS, then they need to be trusted in handling them. Why does UVa block other search engines/servers' signals? We need the technology tools for our research. 3: The system you have in place (instructor and student worker as the primary handlers of special collections) was appropriate and good. Perhaps you could add a note to the Vade Mecum regarding basic handling procedures for those not familiar, e.g. pencils only, no food/beverages, general caution. 4: We had to stand for long periods in order to see the rare materials. I don't know how this could have been remedied. Maybe stools that could be grouped closer together than the standard wide chairs? 5: The collections were carefully handled. 6: No concern—we were all careful. As mentioned, however, a better way of allowing a large group of people to view SC collections under discussion needs to be devised. I would stop paying attention because I could not see what was being discussed clearly. 7: It would be a good idea for RBS to provide more maps and globes for student use. Those materials provided for instruction were relevant and extremely handy. Also, more worksheet exercises with materials would be helpful. The worksheet exercises conducted helped to reinforce the information presented by the instructor. 8: Materials were handled appropriately; sometimes too much emphasis on no handling prevented getting a chance to study items thoroughly. 9: No suggestions. Well done. 10: It was difficult at times to get a close look at some of the items. A method to allow close examination without handling would be appreciated. Being able to interact with the RBS collections was great. 11: No suggestions. 12: Introduction to protocol by RBS staff during the first half-hour of the first class. 1. Classroom. 2. Special collections rooms. 14: No issues here.


8) If you attended the Sunday and/or other evening lectures, were they worth attending?


1: More interesting than useful. 2: I very much enjoyed film night. Good information coordinated with examples on break. 4: Yes I found them worth attending. 5: I attended the Sunday lecture, and found it worth attending. 6: The Monday lecture [by Roger Stoddard] was NOT worth attending. It was directed at such a small audience of cognoscenti that it may as well have been delivered in their living room without including the general RBS audience. I would have preferred to read the paper on my own rather than have the speaker read it to me. 7: Yes, yes they were. The film on copperplate printing was very educational. 8: Roger Stoddard's lectures are always worth attending. 9: Yes. 10: The movie night was very interesting, particularly the movie on map production. 11: Yes. 13: Yes. The lecture was perhaps of less interest to audience members who did not yet know about Breslauer. 14: N/A


9) Did you get your money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?


1: No, I did not get my money's worth. That's not RBS's fault or the instructor's fault. I had expected a more substantive presentation on the history of cartography. 2: Having already taken an RBS class, I wondered if I would enjoy the same level of quality, experience, instruction. I am most pleased to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and have greatly learned from, the expertise of AH and Dr. Joel Kovarsky. I would recommend that future attendees come with a sense of openness and a willing desire to share. P.S. Thanks, TB, for your many years of dedication. I'll see you next year and many more to come. 3: Yes! I have taken many courses in various aspects of cultural heritage management during the past 20 years, and this was one of the best. AH is an incredibly knowledgeable, fun, generous professional who loves sharing her expertise. She created a climate of open intellectual engagement with the primary materials and the topic in general. It has been a privilege to have taken this course. 4: Yes, I think so. Advice: be sure to do as much of the pre-course reading as possible even if it seems overwhelming. You will know what the instructor is talking about as various points are raised. Part of the success of this particular session was the mix of students—private collectors, booksellers, academics and representatives of other public institutions, all with their own areas of expertise which they shared with the class. All were pretty sensitive about not monopolizing time, and if someone ran a bit over, the instructor was good about moving the discussion along. 5: Advice: this is a broad survey course, so don't expect to gain detailed knowledge about any aspect of maps. 6: Yes, I feel that I got my money's worth. I realize that this is the first time this course is being taught, so there will be improvements next year based on this trial experiment. I hope AH continues to offer the course here. 7: Yes, I did get my money's worth from this course. My classmates and instructor were great and made this a very fun week for me. I encourage future attendees to read the books listed on the preliminary book list; if you do, you will be able to better follow the instructor as she teaches about maps. Also, I benefitted from Joel Kovarksy's lecture on map cataloging. I enjoyed his presentation; he made it a lively and informative discussion. Quite frankly, he needed more time. 8: Yes. 9: Yes. No [advice]—other than suggesting as much advance reading as possible be done. 10: I did get my money's worth. I plan on taking other RBS classes. 11: Yes, absolutely! I would recommend the creation of advanced RBS courses relating to maps that take an in-depth look at the historical context of their creation, illustration methods, major cartographers, decorative aspects, and lineage of geographical knowledge. 12: Certainly very, very valuable—got MORE than my money's worth because of the knowledge brought to class by the map collectors attending. It is important to me to have more than one authority in a class of this nature. The collectors were a great bonus. 13: Yes. 14: Very worthwhile. Perhaps discuss "des bib" aspects more—printing methods, history of paper-making. I would like to go more deeply into discussing the design history—but maybe that's for the next level. Thank you ever so much!


Number of respondents: 14





Institution gave me leave: 57%

I took vacation time: 21%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 21%



Institution paid tuition: 50%

I paid tuition myself: 29%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 21%



Instution paid housing: 43%

I paid for my own housing: 50%

N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 7%



Institution paid travel: 43%

I paid my own travel: 50%

N/A: lived nearby: 7%


There were 2 rare book librarians (14%), 3 general librarians with some rare book duties (21%), 4 archivist/manuscript librarians (29%), 2 antiquarian booksellers (14%), 1 retired professional (7%), and one map collector/researcher (7%).