Computers and Washington

Last fall, I marked the season for the harvesting of grapes to honor John Adlum, the little-known “Father of American Viticulture.” The origins of the first commercially viable vine in the American wine industry can be traced to the District of Columbia. Now, with the great interest in Alan Turing, the recent auction sale of this English mathematician’s 56-page notebook for more than a million dollars, and the success of the movie, more »

Boethius Manuscript Added to Transcription Center

The Smithsonian Libraries has been contributing manuscripts from our collections to the Smithsonian Transcription Center for digital volunteers (or Volunpeers) to transcribe for over a year now. We’ve featured a variety of materials, from a vocabulary of the Potawatomi language, to shipboard diaries, to natural history field books and aeronautical scrapbooks. These works have all been quickly and enthusiastically transcribed, and now we’re offering up a much more challenging item, sure to more »

Vauban’s Treatise on Seiges added to Transcription Center

Sébastien Vauban (1633-1707) was the premier military engineer of his age and revolutionized siege warfare. Vauban was a Marshal of France as well as a Marquis. He is best known for his engineering and theoretical approach to fortifications, both on the design and attack fronts. One of his fascinating manuscripts on the fortification of cities was recently uploaded to the Smithsonian Transcription Center where you can help uncover its secrets.  

Mary Smith’s Commonplace book of science and mathematics added to Transcription Center

Mary Smith’s Commonplace book concerning science and mathematics  is a remarkable manuscript for several reasons. 1) It contains a wide breadth of information on the sciences of the mid to late 18th century 2) Mary Smith collected and compiled the information at a time when women were still not widely educated.

20th Annual Dibner Library Lecture featuring Robert S. Westman

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to present the 20th Annual Dibner Library Lecture: Copernicus and the Astrologers, Featuring Robert S. Westman Thursday, December 12, 2013, 5:00 p.m. Reception to follow Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium, Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th and F Streets NW Washington, DC 20004 RSVP at 202-633-2241 or SILRSVP@si.edu Event is free and open to the public

Help transcribe a treasure!

Are you itching to contribute to the wealth of knowledge at the Smithsonian? Well, now you can from the comfort of your own home (or local coffee shop or library or bus station . . .).  The Smithsonian Institution is recruiting “virtual volunteers” to help unlock some of the mysteries in our collection through the Transcription Center.

Chilling out with rare books

This post was written by Morgan Arronson, intern in the Dibner Library for the History and Science and Technology and Preservation Department. If you want to stay cool during DC’s hot and humid summer, head to the Smithsonian and find the nearest rare book. Instantly a wave of cool air will rush by. This may sound strange but it works every time. Here at the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library and the Book Conservation more »

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