Help advance scientific discovery with the National Museum of Natural History Library

Scientists, scholars, and curators at the Smithsonian and around the world consider the National Museum of Natural History Library to be indispensable and critical to their work. The Natural History Library and the Smithsonian Libraries at large provide an irreplaceable resource for researchers like me who need to access to original literature, in print, often from centuries ago, as well as digital versions, such as those online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Sometimes more »

‘The whole man at once’: scientific identities at the Dibner Library

George Sarton, a founder of the history of science as an academic discipline, argued that scholars should pay close attention to portraits. These images, he said, can give you ‘the whole man at once.’ With a ‘great portrait,’ Sarton believed, ‘you are given immediately some fundamental knowledge of him, which even the longest descriptions and discussions would fail to evoke.’ Sarton’s ideas led Bern Dibner to purchase portrait prints of men and women of science and technology. Many of these are now in the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. – Deborah Jean Warner, Curator, Physical Sciences Collection   A picture may tell 1000 words, but another 500 for context can add depth to the image. Follow this blog series to discover the people behind the portraits available online in the Scientific Identity collection. Joseph Jerome Le Francais de Lalande (1732-1807) Had Joseph Jerome Le Francis de Lalande chosen a different place of lodging, he may very well have become a barrister or priest in the more »

Publishing, Pretense, and Pigeons: The Case of Madame Knip

This post was written by Alexandra K. Neuman, library technician in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History.     The pigeons most of us are used to seeing—the ones that suddenly appear out of nowhere and descend upon a dropped bit of food—are often various shades of grey, some with touches of brown. No drama.     However, different breeds of pigeon can be very dramatic indeed—as can scholarship more »

Catesby in the Classroom: Students Explore the Intersection of Art and Science

In the early eighteenth century, English naturalist Mark Catesby set foot in a New World. After spending the better part of ten years, spread across two separate trips, exploring and documenting North America’s rich biodiversity, he would eventually publish his research and original artworks as the first fully illustrated book on the flora and fauna of North America.    Published over eighteen years between 1729-1747, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and more »

Saved from Staples: Treating a metal-stapled pamphlet

Pamphlets, brochures, and other publications of thin width, are often bound with metal staples. The passage of time and environmental conditions, such as high humidity, may sometimes cause staples to corrode. Rust, flaking off of the metal, can stain and damage the integrity of the surrounding paper. To help maintain the longevity of an item that has suffered this type of damage, it is best to remove the staples and effect repairs more »

Celebrating the research of Dr. Nancy Knowlton

The Smithsonian Libraries salutes Dr. Nancy Knowlton, the Sant Chair in Marine Science at the National Museum of Natural History and senior scientist emerita at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who has received the 2016 Secretary’s Distinguished Scholar Award. The award celebrates excellence in all branches of Smithsonian scholarship by honoring the sustained achievement of one outstanding Smithsonian scholar each year.

A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down

This is the second post in a two-part series. Catch up on the first part here.  Allegra Tennis interned with the Field Book Project and Metadata Services over the summer to investigate Smithsonian research related to countries with populations of under a million. I came to the field of librarianship from a scientific background.  The processes, details, and discoveries to be made have always held a magical quality for me.  As I more »

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