New SIL Title with Assouline Publishing

This spring, six unique volumes from the Smithsonian Libraries’ collections will be featured in Botanicals, with text by SIL’s Curator of Natural History Rare Books, Leslie Oversteet. Exquisite plates from the volumes below illustrate this stunning work, which is focused on flowers, fruits and butterflies. Click the links to preview the illustrations in our Galaxy of Images! Maria Sibylla Merian’s Raupen wunderbare . . ., 1730. Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium,[1705] E.A. Séguy’s Insectes, 1927. E.A. Séguy’s Papillons, 1925. Jean Jules Linden’s Iconographie des Orchidées, 1885-1906 Robert John Thornton’s Temple of Flora , 1807. Click here to purchase your own copy! Image featured: Plate II from Maria Sibylla Merian’s Raupen wunderbare, 1730.

Kids Love Our Books

The average reader at the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History is somewhere between thirty and sixty years old and is either a researcher, intern, fellow, or visiting post-doc.  So imagine the fun we had hosting a handful of children from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC), an object-based learning program for kids from nine months to six years old.  As part of a segment on the sea, Josh Beasley’s kindergarten class came in to see an early adventure narrative by the 17th century pirate, William Dampier; pictures of albatross from John Gould’s Birds of Australia (1840-1848); and Gustave Doré illustrations of a seafaring ship and albatross in Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the ancient mariner (1889).  Using their best museum manners, the kids were able to see the books up close and personal.  One of the children’s parents is researcher here at the Smithsonian who went on a modern-day scientific expedition on a boat called the The Albatross so it was especially meaningful to the children.  As for more »

Smithsonian Librarian Named Director of Biodiversity Heritage Library

Tom Garnett, associate director for Digital Library and Information Systems for the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, has been named the first Program Director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. He has coordinated the Biodiversity Heritage Library initiative since its inception in 2004. He begins his new position March 31. Garnett has more than 27 years of experience in the library field creating, scoping, implementing, and managing major digital library projects. For the past 23 years, he has worked in the Smithsonian Libraries, where he served as Systems Administrator in the Systems Office, before being promoted to Assistant Director and then Associate director for Digital Library and Information Systems. The Biodiversity Heritage Library is a consortium of 10 natural history, botanical, and research institute libraries that collectively hold a substantial amount of the world’s published knowledge on biological diversity. It was organized to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity and make it available as part of a biodiversity commons. Scientists and students from around the world will be able to search and read more »

Smithsonian Contributions series now available online!

The Smithsonian has a long and rich history of research and scientific publication. As part of an overall plan for digitization of the collections, the Smithsonian Libraries has tackled the rich and varied output of Smithsonian scholarly publications. We’re please to announce today that the Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries have completed the digitization of legacy volumes of the Smithsonian Contributions Series. PDFs are available online at http://www.sil.si.edu/smithsoniancontributions/. This is the single largest digitization project to date to be completed by the Smithsonian of legacy print collections. It includes 1,072 volumes (more than 107,000 pages) of Smithsonian research in a wide range of subject areas. All publications are free to users around the world! The following Series are now available as high-resolution PDFs: Smithsonian Annals of Flight (1964-1974) Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology (1965-present) Smithsonian Contributions to Astrophysics (1956-1974) Smithsonian Contributions to Botany (1969-present) Smithsonian Contributions to Folklife Studies (1980-1990) Smithsonian Contributions to History and Technology (1969-present; formerly Smithsonian Studies in History and Technology) Smithsonian Contributions to more »

Celebrating 40 Years of Smithsonian Libraries

Happy Birthday, SIL! The Smithsonian Institution Libraries has officially kicked off its 40th anniversary.  On Tuesday, April 8th, about 200 SI-wide staff members and guests enjoyed ice cream and cake at the Castle Commons as the Libraries launched a year of special anniversary activities.  Among the attendees at the party were Roger Sant, the chairman of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, Cristian Samper, the Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian, Ira Rubinoff, Acting Undersecretary for Science, NMAH Director Brent Glass and NZP Director John Berry.  During remarks, Acting Secretary Samper said "I know, we all know how indispensable the 20 libraries are to our age-old mission, "the increase and diffusion of knowledge.  They are invaluable to our Smithsonian scholars, and also the general public, offering a galaxy of resources and the help of informed staff to anyone via the Internet or in person.  And they are curators of magnificent treasures that they share online and through exhibitions. A library was part of the original legislation that founded the Smithsonian in 1846 more »

Symposium on noted explorer, botanist, scientist and artist Mark Catesby

When: June 9, 2008, 2:00 pmWhere: Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Auditorium at the Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson Drive at 12th Street SW (NOTE NEW TIME AND LOCATION!) More Information: The Smithsonian Institution Libraries is pleased to present Mark Catesby’s America, a symposium, followed by the Washington premiere of the film, The Curious Mister Catesby, Monday, June 9, 2008. In 1731, Englishman Mark Catesby began work on the book that would make him famous at home and abroad as an explorer, botanist, scientist and artist. The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 1:30 in the Baird Auditorium at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest, and will be followed by the film at 4:00. For more information, contact the Libraries’ development office at 202.633.2875. About the image:Mark CatesbyThe natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama islands: containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents, insects, and plants, 1731-43  [1729-48]"Largest White Bill’d Woodpecker"More information about this image

40th Anniversary Kick-off Nets $40,000 gift

On Tuesday, April 8, we kicked off our 40th anniversary year when over 200 people came to the Smithsonian Castle building to help us celebrate.  As employee recognition awards, SIL staff had been given red T-shirts to mark the "ruby" anniversary, and most wore them to the party.  When I looked out from the podium it was a sea of red, and all who came were very, very impressed!   Here’s Heather Ewing, author of the new biography of James Smithson, and Shauna Collier, our Anacostia librarian, modeling the shirt. Among the attendees were four of the Libraries’ Board members, the chairman of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, the the Acting Under Secretary for Administration, several Smithsonian museum directors, and a terrific cross-section of scientists, historians, curators, and other library users and friendsof the Libraries.   Our 40th Anniversary Committee put together a trivia contest and a raffle, which made for lots of fun.  Thanks to them all for doing such a terrific job! The fortunate attendees heard excellent remarks from Ira more »

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