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Month: October 2012

“Comfortable Corsets” Circa 1893

Worcester Corset Co. pamphlet for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition

This post was written by Cathy Rae Smith who had a 2011-2012 Graduate Research Assistantship at the National Museum of American History Library.

“Style, Comfort, Economy” touted the full color exposition pamphlet for Royal Worcester WCC Corsets.  The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago gave attendees an opportunity to see the leading products and advances of the time–including this company’s fully boned, tightly laced corsets described as offering “great FLEXIBILITY, always comfortable.”

Smithsonian Libraries Events Update

Guests were invited on a rare books tour in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History prior to the dinner.It’s been a busy fall for the Smithsonian Libraries!

In tandem with the National Book Festival, the Smithsonian Libraries hosted nine renowned authors at an intimate dinner on Saturday, September 22nd. The distinguished group included Geraldine Brooks, Charlaine Harris, Tony Horwitz, Katherine Neville, Christopher Paolini, Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella, Sally Bedell Smith, and R. L. Stine. Read on for our upcoming events!

The Fix: Housing Differently Sized Items Together

A constant challenge in the Book Conservation Lab is housing items of disparate sizes together. Recently we faced this issue in re-housing the pamphlet “Instructions in Reference to Collecting Nests and Eggs of North American Birds.” The pamphlet came to us in pieces in an envelope bearing the name of former Secretary of the Smithsonian, Alexander Wetmore

Groovey Luggage

Junkers, Ju.52, Courtesy of San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives on Flickr Commons.

One of my favorite things to do while waiting in an airport, other than reading and seeing what others are reading, is looking at everyone’s luggage. I have always had a passion for luggage.   My favorite is the old-fashioned trunks and vintage luggage that people plastered with labels of their travels. I find most of the luggage of today to be high on utilitarianism and low on glamour.  Now don’t get me wrong; I bow down before the wonderfully clever person who decided to put wheels on luggage.

What Happened to the National Zoological Park Library, or How a New Model of Librarianship Came to the Smithsonian Libraries

The end of an era has come to the Smithsonian Libraries and a new one begins!  The current model of a library, with a physical location, books and journals on the shelves and a librarian to manage it all is so 2011.  A hip, new model of a ‘ librarian-as-reference-resource-person-embedded-in-research-department’ has come for the National Zoological Park/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in 2012!

Digitization Dispatch: A Rose By Any Other Name…Still Has an Historically Accurate Rendering as Accessory!

It might be a little confusing to keep up with the digital humanities collection that provides the basis for most of these posts. The collection that began as HAC (History, Art, and culture), spent a brief adolescence as SHAC (Smithsonian History, Art, and Culture), has now matured into the CHL (rhymes with BHL!). The Cultural Heritage Library is still available here, and still includes the same content from the history, art, and culture locations; the name changes simply reflect the evolving nature of this arm our digitization practices. Currently at 3,670 items, the CHL features new additions every week. 

Research value? Taking the long view with weeding and digitizing at the AA/PG Library

The Real Latin Quarter

–This post was contributed by Kimberly Lesley, American Art and Portrait Gallery Library intern, summer 2012.

This summer I had the opportunity to work on two projects at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library: evaluating titles from the print reference section and selecting public domain titles for digitization. The majority of time was spent on the former, evaluating once heavily relied upon indexes and reference titles against databases and open access online resources. As I paged through volumes of reference titles I was grateful for the vast amounts of information available online with a few keywords and a couple clicks.