Here’s another in our series,Library Hacks, where we take a look at cool and interesting online resources from the Smithsonian Libraries and the cyberworld at large.
Readers of this blog have probably figured out that the Smithsonian is more than a set of museums – it’s also a hub for research. In 2011 alone, Smithsonian researchers published more than 2000 articles, books, and book chapters. Given the Institution’s 165 year history, the cumulative knowledge output of the Smithsonian Institution located in one place is quite the extensive resource.
It is a small book, palm-size, with pages of less-than-fine paper, the well-worn letters of the type sometimes carelessly inked. The sparse woodcut illustrations are child-like in their simplicity and straight-forwardness. Yet John Josselyn’s New-Englands rarities discovered, printed in London in 1672, drew me in as I went about cataloging the work. Intrigued by the title and the early date of publication, I found myself reading an account of the landscape of my past, from Boston, “down east” (that is, up the coast as represented in the illustration above) to my place of birth, and points all around. That great bibliography, The Hunt Botanical Catalogue, notes that this book is “particularly interesting to people who are fond of Maine.” Indeed. The text provides a sense of place from the 17th century.
It was a very pleasant day when yours truly, Richard Naples, was announced as one of the winners of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Digital New Zealand (DigitalNZ) GIF IT UP contest. My entry, a flittering butterfly adapted from Maria Sibylla Merian’sMetamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, won in the Nature and Environment category of the recent contest. This international competition to find the best GIFs reusing public domain and openly licensed digital video, images, text and other material was a great way for DPLA and DigitalNZ to show off their amazing collections.
March 17th is widely celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day but it also happens to be the birthday of notable childrens’ book illustrator Kate Greenaway. Born in London in 1846, she studied art at various schools, such as the Heatherley School of Fine Art, and began her career in watercolors and cards. She was a contemporary or Walter Crane and Randolph Caldecott and good friend to Victorian art critic John Ruskin.