Visitors from Paradise: The Paradiseidae

October 1, 2014

This post was written by Grace Costantino, Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). It first appeared on the BHL blog here. Deep within the rainforest canopy of the Aru Islands, just west of New Guinea, two male Greater Birds-of-Paradise dance among the branches in carefully coordinated steps, their magnificent yellow, white, and maroon plumage undulating gracefully to the rhythm of their own unique song.

Potawatomi Vocabulary Manuscript Added to Transcription Center

March 25, 2014

J.N. Bourassa’s A Vocabulary of the Po-da-wahd-mih Language is the latest addition from the Libraries to the Smithsonian Transcription Center. The Vocabulary was transcribed around 1890 from the original, which dates to 1843. The Potawatomi have traditionally inhabited the Upper Mississippi River region as well as Indiana and Kansas, and are making efforts to promote the use of their native language, a sub-group of the Algonquian language family.

Libraries Acquires Salviani Book

February 3, 2014

The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library recently acquired Ippolito Salviani’s Aquatilium animalium historiae (Rome, 1554), a classic, foundational work on fishes. The book is one of three 16th-century works that established ichthyology as a modern science. The Libraries holds the other two – Belon’s De aquatilibus (1553, a Latin translation of his Histoire de la nature des estranges poissons marins, 1551) and Rondelet’s Libri de piscibus marinis (1554) – and has now completed more »

The Fix – Post Binding

January 15, 2014

Last year a book came into the Book Conservation Lab as part of the Smithsonian Libraries Adopt-a-Book program. The book, Systema Entomological by Heinrich Buchecker, was in two distinct pieces – text and plates.  The color lithographic plates, depicting dragonflies, were printed on paper that is a higher quality than the text. Unfortunately, the text is printed on highly acidic paper that has become brittle with age. Usually the decision to post bind is more »

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade, Part II: The Arab Slave Trade

October 21, 2013

This post is the second in a three post series by National Museum of African Art Library volunteer Judy Schaffer. If you missed the first installment, posted right before our shutdown-induced hiatus, check it out here. “. . . this trade in Hell, this open sore of the world . . .” David Livingstone’s first book, Missionary travels and researches in South Africa, published in 1857, was a huge success, not only more »

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade, Part I.

September 30, 2013

2013 marks the bicentennial of Scottish explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873).  His explorations in central Africa are well known – – “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”  Less well known is his first-hand encounter with the horrors of the Arab slave trade in East Africa.  Two Smithsonian Libraries – – the Warren M. Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art and the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library at the National Museum of Natural more »

The Fix – Re-housing

September 16, 2013

  Re-housing is one of the least glamorous but most important responsibilities of the Smithsonian Libraries Conservation Department.  Re-housing encompasses placing library materials into protective enclosures ranging from ready-made acid free envelopes to intricate custom made boxes.  It is a way to treat a large number of materials fairly quickly providing them with a stable environment.  For this set of Eugène Séguy prints form the Joseph F. Cullman III Library of Natural History more »

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