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Perforated Supplements in the National Geographic Magazine

As promised (or threatened) in my on-line index notice, this is my follow-up article to the one I wrote about the January 1983 DC Maps. It specifically discusses the treatment in the metadata of the perforated supplements that have become the dominant flavor of supplements in the National Geographic.

There has, for quite some time, been pages or fold outs in the magazine that were designed for removal, the March 1915 DC map & vista and the November 1916 Alaska Brown Bear to mention a few. These items were scored or creased along the edge to assist in tearing them out cleanly. I am not addressing these items here. Instead, I am concentrating this discussion on the much more recent supplements that are perforated for removal.

I.     August 1977  How Soon Will We Measure In Metric?

At first glance, this eight-page article seems to be just another article in the magazine.  For one thing, it has page numbers.  But on closer examination, there are several differences from a normal article: it has three columns of text per page instead of two; it is on a thicker, non-glossy paper stock; and, most importantly, it is perforated for removal.  To my knowledge, this is the only ARTICLE designed to be removed from the magazine.

The metadata makes no reference to this fact.  In the July to December 1977 (Vol. 152) index, the 1947-1983 cumulative index, and the 1888-1988 cumulative index they all reference this item as a normal article.

II.    March 1979 – Wildlife Refuge Guide

This eight-page booklet is very similar to the six-page trifold map of DC from January 1983.  They both use up page numbers from the magazine, they are both made from the same cardboard-like, thick stock, and they both are perforated for removal.

Their similarities continue into the metadata with the 155 Volume index referencing this item only as pages in the magazine, while both the 1947-1983 and 1888-1988 indices specifically mention it as a tear-out guide.

III.   January 1983 – DC Maps


Since I’ve already discussed this item extensively in my original post, I’ll just mention that there is a direct contradiction between the Jan-Jun 1983 Volume Index and the 1947-1983 & 1888-1988 Cumulative Indices. While the Volume Index has these maps as “in-magazine” maps (they do have page numbers), the Cumulative Indices have them as a supplement to the magazine.

IV.  August 2000 – Sydney Olympics Park Map

By the time this perforated map was produced, the Society had discontinued Volume Indices (1992). The last Cumulative Index I am aware of is the 1989-1998 Supplement to the 1888-1988 Cumulative Index. Obviously these were of no help. Starting in 1993 and continuing through 2010 the Society published Annual Indices for ALL there publications. It’s a bit more to wade through but worth having if you’re into metadata.

The 2000 Annual Index does reference this item as a supplement multiple times (see below). It is important to note here that this and all subsequent perforated supplements do NOT have page numbers.

V.   June 2004 - The National Mall

In 2004, the Society printed a revised map of the National Mall.  It was perforated like the 1983 map but was not indexed.  Instead, the building of interest are labelled directly on the map.  There are also numbers on the map corresponding to the location that photos in the related article were taken.  The stock of the paper is glossy like the magazine pages but of a thicker ply, like the "Poster Series" mentioned below.  That is compared to the 1983 map which was on a cardboard-like stock similar to the loose map supplements of the time.  The flip side of the map is a poster documenting the development of the National Mall through time (1860 to 2000).  That is compared to the flip side of the 1983 map which was a DC area map.

There is no reference to the map or poster, or even the related article about the National Mall, in the 2004 Annual Index.  There is not even a reference to Washington, DC.

VI.   May 2006 – Physical Australia Map

There is some doubt as to whether this item is a true supplement and not some form of advertisement, either for the Australian government or a travel agency. It does have a copyright on it, as do all the perforated supplements, but the copyright is specific to the map and not the other contents on the page. It also appears to not be in every issue printed that month and may have only appeared regionally (i.e. target marketing).

The 2006 Annual Index makes no reference to this item whatsoever. While it is hard to show a citation that doesn’t exist, this is an image of were I think it would have appeared:

VII.   October 2009 to Present – Poster Series

These are the current iteration of supplements in the magazine. While they are not maps, they are two-sided posters suitable for display. The first of these (Redwoods) appeared in 2009. The next two (Blue Holes of the Bahamas & Barcelona’s Natural Wonders) were published in 2010.

Searching the 2009 and 2010 Annual Indices I could not find references to these items. There were, however, references to the articles associated with the Redwood and Bahamas posters. I could find no reference to the Barcelona article but this may have been because it was part of the “Big Ideas” section of the magazine.

After 2010, the only metadata available to me is the on-line publications index. This index ceased being updated as of September 2015 so any posters after that (The December 2015 New York Skyline and any future posters) cannot be researched.

While the Annual Indices make no mention of these items as supplements, the on-line index does. Here’s an example:

There you have it: absolute references, conflicting references, and no references. Very little consistency in the metadata, but it was fun doing the research none the less.

Tom Wilson

Views: 141

Replies to This Discussion

As always Tom, thanks for the intrigue...

And yes, it is fun!


Note: I just updated this discussion to include the June 2004 map/poster of the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Note: I just updated this discussion to include a citation for the March 1979 tear-out guide to "Our National Wildlife Refuges".


Do you feel the August 1977 Metric signature should be included in your listing.  It is on crème colored text paper and was printed in three columns instead of two.  This is the first time for that.  It was also perforated so the 8-page article could be removed from the magazine.



Thanks for the heads-up.  Unfortunately I am 1,400 miles away from my collection.  Linda and I are on a trip to see America (mostly National Parks) and the eclipse.  I won't be home until mid-September.

It sounds like it should be added.  I'll get to it when I get home.  I've already written my August and September "100-Years" articles and am posting them when Phil posts his Covers for those months.



Have a great trip!


Note: I just added the August 1977 eight-page article "How Soon Will We Measure In Metric".  It is perforated for removal from the magazine.

(Thanks for the heads up on this one, Jeff.)



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