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Map Collection Notes on Map Preservation, Access, and Copying

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About our Map Collection | Map Indexes and Descriptions of Types | Map Subject Authority List | Guide to Map Codes | Notes on Map Preservation, Access, and Copies

Preservation & Access

The items in the Texas State Archives Map Collection have been acquired from a wide variety of sources. In most cases a map has already had a useful life serving a state or government agency, library, school, business or individual. Few maps enter the Collection in pristine condition, and many show wear or some form of damage.

While maps are an important research tool and can be a profound source of information, they are subjected to wear and potential damage every time they are pulled, copied, or otherwise handled.

To promote the preservation of the Map Collection we encourage researchers to limit their requests to the maps that will most likely satisfy their research needs. This can usually be accomplished by a careful reading of the written description available for each map.

Xerographic Copies

The Archives can provide black-and-white xerographic copies in sizes 8.5 inches by 11 inches (21.5 centimeters by 27.8 centimeters), 8.5 inches by 14 inches (21.5 centimeters by 35.5 centimeters), and 11 inches by 17 inches (27.8 centimeters by 43 centimeters), in one exposure. By making two successive exposures a map as large as 17 inches by 22 inches (43 centimeters by 56 centimeters) can be copied using two separate sheets of 11x17 paper.

The Archives will not accept xerographic copy requests for any map, regardless of condition, larger than 17 inches by 22 inches (43 centimeters by 56 centimeters).

The size of a map provided in the map's description is the measurement of the map within its borders. The size of the margins of some maps will prohibit the copying of some maps because the sheet itself is too large.

The copying of maps smaller than 17 inches by 22 inches (43 centimeters by 56 centimeters) may also be dictated by their physical condition and copyright status.

Photographic Copies

Over time, some maps in the collection have been photographically copied in a variety of formats and processes. Please ask for assistance in determining if a particular map has been photographically copied; what medium is on file; what types of reproductions can be made; and current pricing information.

Color 4-by-5 inch film transparencies are available for some maps. Transparencies of previously photographed items are currently lent for 90 days at rate of $30 each, plus shipping.

Photographic reproductions of maps that have not been previously photographed may be available depending on the size and physical condition of the original. The minimum costs for such reproductions are usually about $30 each for items 16 inches by 20 inches or smaller. The costs of photographing maps larger than 16 inches by 20 inches start at about $60.

While the Archives is able to provide very high quality photographic reproductions suitable for most research, publication, digital, or film and video applications, the quality of the reproductions will always be limited by the size and physical condition of the original.

Please keep in mind that the elegant quality of large format, finely detailed maps that were originally printed from full-size plates can seldom be duplicated by printing from reduced film negatives or transparencies. Or by reproducing maps that are worn or damaged.

Digitally Scanned Copies

Several hundred maps have been scanned and are available on this web site. Printed copies of scanned maps are available through the Texas General Land Office.

We are able to arrange to have scans made of some maps with the patron absorbing the cost. Orders for scans may take three to four weeks to complete.

We welcome your inquiries about the maps, the Map Collection, and reproductions.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Archives & Information Services Division PO Box 12927
Austin, TX 78711-2927
phone: 512-463-5480 / fax: 512-463-5430

Page last modified: June 3, 2016