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Geological Survey of Canada

Scope Notes and Credits

Scope Notes

This guide provides information about accessing Geological Survey of Canada publications from the Queen's University Library. Over the years, the GSC publications were collected by different groups and departmental libraries within the Queen's system and, as a result, were described and catalogued differently based on their original locations. In 2015, the library began a project to enhance the descriptions and improve discoverability of these items in the library catalogue. 


Francine Berish, Geospatial Data Librarian

Graeme Campbell, Open Government Librarian

Morag Coyne, Research & Instruction Librarian 

Maggie Gordon, Engineering & Science Librarian 


Publication Series Descriptions

Report of Progress

The Reports of Progress are the original reports of the GSC, first published in 1845 for work completed in 1843. The title changed to Annual Reports in 1885. These documents are currently being digitized for the GEOSCAN database.

Published from 1845-1884. No volume numbers. Published in English and French.

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS16 A55.

Annual Reports

The continuation of the Reports of Progress, sometimes referred to as Annual Reports (new series)

Published from 1885-1907. Published in English (volumes 1-16) and in French (volumes 1-12).

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS16 A56.

Summary Report

This title was first published in 1885 and was published on an annual basis thereafter, detailing the GSC's yearly activities. 

Published from 1885-1933. Published in English and French.

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS16 S76


GSC Memoirs are comprehensive terminal reports on the geology of specific areas and were not published on any set timeline. Examples include: Quaternary Geology of New Brunswick and Surficial geology of the Sept-Iles area, Quebec north shore

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS30


Bulletins are comprehensive reports on geological subjects, but not systematic areal mapping. The bulletins may be of any length but are typically terminal reports on some phase of a research project. Some contain illustrations. 

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS29

Economic Geology Reports

The Economic Geology Reports are reports on subjects that are of economic interest and were meant to catalogue and promote mineral resources in Canada. The first publication, A Descriptive Sketch of the Geology and Economic Minerals of Canada, was published in 1909 and then became the first in a series titled, Economic Geology Series Number 1. 

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS34


GSC Papers vary in length and often contain maps, figures, and photographs. Their content ranges from the presentation of accumulated data to highly sophisticated and interpretive reports of progress, including: 

  1. Progress reports on studies that have reached a point where an interim report is justified. These reports may be complete and final so far as the status of the investigation permits.
  2. Reports on projects for which economic or scientific reasons justify immediate communications in a preliminary manner.
  3. Reports of activities that may include page-size sketch maps or figures drawn by authors and half-tone illustrations. 
  4. Indices of publications.  
  5. Abstracts of publications from staff members that have been disseminated outside of traditional scientific journals.  

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS32.

Miscellaneous Reports

The Miscellaneous Reports include popular guides designed mainly for the use of the general public and publications not readily assigned to other categories.

On the shelf: Stauffer Library, Lower Level, CA1 MS28

Open File

Open File items were created to speed up the publication process and get the information into the hands of the user as quickly as possible. Manuscript texts and maps were made available at the principal offices of the GSC and the public could arrange to have copies made through a commercial vendor. Many reports that were being prepared for traditional publication were first made available through Open File.

On the shelf: Browse QUL holdings of Open File


GSC maps represent over 100 years of geological mapping and are comprised of several different series, such as the P-series (preliminary maps from 1956 onward) or A-series (recorded magnetic surveys between 1950-1959). For more information about the different series, visit the Government of Ontario's index of maps