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Month: February 2013

Highlights from the Cultural Heritage Library: James Whistler

James Whistler was a Victorian dandy.  A staunch proponent of “art for art’s sake”, a prominent figure in Victorian society, and while born in America, he divided  his time between London and Paris. He advocated the decorative in art to such an extent, that his signature evolved into an apt symbol: the delicate, yet threatening, butterfly with a stinger.

Recently added artists’ book at the AA/PG Library

Dos mujeres
Artists’ book Dos Mujeres

The American Art  Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has close to two hundred artists’ books in its collection, many of which have been featured here in past blog posts. However, this collection continues to grow and new books are selectively added. Many come through donations, but others are purchased to support the collection’s theme of “American Lives, American Stories.” Most of the works in the artists’ book collection feature American book artists and have biographical elements or touch upon the American experience.

Altmetrics: the cat’s meow?

at least kitty has nine lives

This past week, you might have noticed the many news stories about killer cats. The research study about domestic cats’ impact on nature concluded that cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion mammals every year. Did you happen to pick up that the senior author on the paper was Peter Marra of the Migratory Bird Center, a research unit of the National Zoo, and one of his cowriters was Scott Loss, also of the MBC? While we are always excited by and proud of the research output of the Smithsonian, this is an example of a scholarly article having an impact in the public sphere—i.e. beyond just the scientific community. Does that matter? How does it matter? Is there a way for the organization sponsoring that research to measure impact of research output like this? These are the kinds of questions we can finally begin to tackle with the use of altmetrics.

Summer 2013 Professional Development Internship Projects

Applications are now open for summer Professional Development Internships! Paid internship opportunities at the Smithsonian Libraries are designed for current graduate students or recent graduates interested in working in research and/or museum libraries. This year, applicants may select from six projects. These projects are in a wide variety of areas, including preservation, art librarianship and cataloging.

Recent Highlights in the National Postal Museum Library.

The Alexander Collection: Milestones in the Postal History of the Holy Land

New collection items have arrived for the National Postal Museum Library and will soon be processed for checkout.  These items are new to our collection, straight off the press. They are staff donations received from authors and publishers. They might be interesting to stamp collectors and philatelists and those studying the history of the postal service of England. They are extremely valuable because only one or two libraries in the world owns them.