Slatless Gentleman’s trunk. American Box & Trunk Factory Catalogue, 1906 The Smithsonian Libraries blog is going on a short hiatus while we perform some upgrades and changes. For many years we have been at this location, but the environment has changed and we are moving to a new home. The digital suitcases are packed and the virtual moving van is being loaded to carry all of our authors, posts, comments and images to our new home. We expect that the move will take at most a week. Our last post here will be today, February 24, 2012. We’ll leave this site up and running for quite a while and when we are moved into our new home and everyting is unpacked and ready to go, we’ll announce our new location here. We hope that the new version of the Smithsonian Libraries blog is up and running by March 3rd. Thank you for your patience in this move. We hope to minimize the growing pains, but we think you’ll like our more »
As we've mentioned before, the Smithsonian Libraries is redoing its website to move to Drupal 7 and away from our legacy ColdFusion site. The new site aims to be more friendly easier to our visitors, with a "flatter" hierarchy of information and simpler navigation to find information. It's been two months since we started and we have an update on where we are in the development and some of the fun things we've encountered along the way. Graphic Design The same content appearsdifferently in various browsers. Shown: Internet Explorer, Opera and Chrome (N.B. When I refer to "styles", I really mean CSS. For the uninitiated, this is generally what controls how a web page looks, separating it from what a website does or what information the site contains.) We're happy to say that the graphic design is nearly complete! Our initial design started with a Photoshop file. The first round of development of was simply to convert the Photoshop file into an HTML 5 Prototype that looked as close as more »
The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce that the online version of Taxonomic Literature II, or TL-2, is now online on the Libraries' website. We are calling this TL-2 Online. What is TL-2? TL-2 is an essential tool for Botany research that includes botanists and their publications from 1753 to the present. Comprising fifteen volumes, seven original and eight supplemental, Tl-2 is organized alphabetically by author and includes some biographical information about each author. The main content for the author entries is the publications that he or she has written. TL-2 was constructed such that each author is assigned a unique abbreviation and each publication a unique number. There are nearly 10,000 authors and over 37,000 publications in TL-2 and the entire set of data is cross-referenced in the two indexes in each of the fifteen volumes. To put it simply, TL-2 is a database published in the form of a book. Now that the Libraries, with generous permission from the publisher, has digitized and placed the content online the door more »
The Smithsonian Libraries’ website is getting a makeover! The stars have aligned to bring together the elements necessary to initiate a top-to-bottom redesign and reorganization of the Libraries’ presence on the internet. If you’ve explored our site at all, you have found that there is a wealth of information there and we are happy to announce that are planning to keep all of the rich, interesting and informative content that makes our site unique on the Internet. The “stars” that have aligned include the availability of Drupal 7, on which we will develop the website. Drupal is an open-source content management platform for websites and web applications. It is installed on millions of websites around the world and has a strong user community that contributes to the 12,000+ modules that make Drupal versatile and powerful. Another “star” that has aligned is the availability of a developer, that’s me, to develop the site and organize the migration of thousands of pages of content. The final “star” contributing is the encouragement and more »
On September 30, two of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries' staff attended the American Library Association's LITA (Library and Information Technology) National Forum. The three-day conference was titled "Rivers of Data, Currents of Change". Although it was not explicitly defined, there was a common thread of conversation surrounding Linked Open Data throughout the conference. For this reason, the presentation given by the Smithsonian Libraries' digial projects librarian Keri Thompson and lead developer Joel Richard, along with Trish Rose-Sandler of the Missouri Botanical Garden, was well-received. Titled "Building the New Open Linked Library: Theory and Practice," the talk gave a high-level overview of the redesign of the Libraries' website, a brief summary of Linked Data, how the Libraries' website redesign centers around the concept of Linked Open Data, and some of the unique things that happen when open data is made available on the web, specifically with the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). Keri Thompson gave a summary of where our website is today and a very concise overview of the types of more »
On February 7-10, Web Developer Joel Richard attended the Code4Lib conference held at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Sub-freezing weather aside, the conference was a hotbed of software developers, metadata experts and computer people getting together to discuss their latest work in developing software, websites, tools and technologies that support the mission of libraries across the country and the world!
Now that the festivities are over, here's a bit of history of Mardi Gras. Meaning "Fat Tuesday" in french, this festive day came to America in 1699 with with French explorer Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, though it's been celebrated for much longer. Mardi Gras has its roots in the ancient Roman Lupercalia and later the christian Carnival as the last day of celebration before the more somber days of lent. Mardi Gras or Carnival is celebrated in many parts of the world, especially those of Christian tradition. In the United States, Mardi Gras is most closely associated with the parades, balls and krewes of New Orleans, but it's history is more than that. In 19th century french-speaking Acadiana (south Louisiana), people wearing masks or costumes, on foot and on horseback, led by their "Capitiane" would make ther Mardi Gras courir or run, going from house to house begging for ingredients for a communal meal. These courirs were often wild, rowdy celebrations and attempts were made to suppress them in more »