Fantastic Worlds of the Natural Philosopher

The term “Natural Philosopher” was common in the early 19th century for someone who studied nature and the physical universe. It was not until the mid-19th century onward that the term scientist becoming more popular. Natural philosophers often pursued a wide variety of both scientific and artistic interests and offer a colorful glimpse into the world they inhabited.

“Every one knows what a bird is.” Or do they?

This post was written by intern Becca Greenstein. Becca is currently pursuing her Master’s in Library Science at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  She has always had a passion for research, teaching/helping others and seeing the direct impact of her work, and collaboration across departments and institutions (and, of course, reading), so library school has been a good fit for her.  After she graduates, she hopes to continue honing these skills while more »

Color with us on National Coloring Book Day!

Sharpen your colored pencils! Tomorrow, August 2nd , is National Coloring Book Day! To celebrate, we’ve put together a second set of coloring pages based on images in our collection. The booklet, which features 11 pages of pretty pictures begging to be colored, is available as a downloadable pdf file (10 MB) on our webpage here. Shade in a few sea shells, diatom cells or fancy French fashion plates. Share your creations more »

Upcoming Events in August

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to host a full roster of events in the Washington DC area in the month of August. Topics include South African artists’ books, early natural history collections and more! All are tied to our current exhibitions: Artists’ Books and Africa, Color in a New Light and Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910. Click on the links in the event titles for additional details and RSVP information.

Welcome, Field Book Project interns!

The Smithsonian Libraries is thrilled to host over 20 interns this summer, in departments and branches throughout our system. The Field Book Project in particular is working with three students this summer. Please take a moment to help us welcome Nura, Allegra and Conal! The interns are primarily working on cataloging field book collections and expanding biographical descriptions for field book creator records. Field Book Project / Biodiversity Heritage Library cataloging intern: Nurganym Agzamova Nurganym (Nura) Agzamova is a Foreign Fulbright Scholar from Kazakhstan. She is currently a second year graduate student in the Library and Information Science program at Syracuse University. Prior to starting her Fulbright experience, she worked as a librarian at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan where she worked as a Subject Librarian for the Foundation Program. She started her library career at National Academic Library of Kazakhstan in Patron Services back in 2008. Nura is a native speaker of Kazakh and Russian, and was involved in translation projects as a freelance interpreter and translator. Nura sees the Field Book as more »

My Visit to the Dibner Library

This is a guest post by Charles Solomon, 7th grader at Forsythe Middle School (Ann Arbor, Mich.), who accompanied his father, Matthew Solomon, to DC for his March 3 lecture, Fantastic Voyages of the Cinematic Imagination at the National Museum of American History. The lecture was presented in tandem with our current exhibition, Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910.

Inspiring Discovery at the 2016 BioBlitz and Biodiversity Festival in Washington, D.C.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and Smithsonian Libraries staff participated in BioBlitz 2016 in Washington, D.C. on 20-21 May. A BioBlitz focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. In this special edition of the BioBlitz, held in conjunction with the National Park Service’s centenary, the D.C. BioBlitz was accompanied by a two-day Biodiversity Festival on the National Mall at more »

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