The scientific names assigned to animals often have intriguing origins, which can be revealed by books in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ collections. The Pallas’s Cat of central Asia, for instance, is named after German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas (1741-1811), the first person to publish a detailed description of the animal. Although he was not fully aware that the curious creatures he had seen during his travels were a new species, Pallas’s account and his accompanying illustration were definitive enough to establish the foundation for the scientific record. Pallas spent much of his life in Russia, where he conducted expeditions in search of new and unusual animals and plants. In his account, Travels through the southern provinces of the Russian Empire in the years 1793 and 1794 (originally published in German in 1799-1801), he speculated that the mysterious felines known today as the Pallas’s Cat (Felis manul) were the half-wild offspring of a local nobleman’s pet:
Happy holidays in 2008! All through 2008, the Smithsonian Libraries has been celebrating the 40th (Ruby) anniversary of the year (1968) that Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley created the Smithsonian Institution Libraries as a separate unit with a central administration and Director. We had a party for our Smithsonian friends and colleagues in April, and Acting Secretary Cristián Samper gave us $40,000 for acquisitions, a dollar for every year. We held a symposium about 18th century naturalist Mark Catesby with the Washington premier of the film “The Curious Mr. Catesby,” which you may see on your local PBS station in the coming year. With Smithsonian colleagues, we sponsored a speaker series that brought thinkers and experts from outside the Institution to talk about their views of the future of libraries, archives, and museums. We engaged a consultant to lead us through a strategic planning process that will start us off well for our next 40 years! On October 30, we hosted our Ruby Anniversary Gala, “Paint the Town REaD!” to more »
Today's scheduled lecture by Clay Shirky in NMNH's Kerby Room will be postponed due to a family emergency. We apologize for the inconvenience and will announce a new date and time shortly.
In the town of Ujiji in what is now Tanzania, Henry Morton Stanley, sent by a New York newspaper to track down the missing Dr. David Livingstone, finally found the man on this day, November 10, in 1871. Many had believed the ailing missionary and explorer to be dead. Their meeting has become legendary – even in its day it was the focus of media attention. African exploration was a hot topic in the Victorian era in both the U.S. and Britain, capitivating the public’s imagination with tales of adventure and discovery and paving the way for the West’s colonialist claims on the continent. In a forthcoming SI Libraries exhibition, set to open December 9th at the National Museum of Natural History, African exploration is examined using an array of visual materials that emerged from that critical and complex time. All but a few of the items on display come from the Russell E. Train Africana Collection (kept in the Cullman Library), a collection rich in illustrated and original materials. Included in the exhibit are more »
Clay Shirky Finding Content as a Social Problem ~POSTPONED~ The lecture has been postponed. Please check back for new date and time!this lecture will also be recorded and the video available a few days later at the following URL:http://www.sil.si.edu/lectures_40th_Shirky.html Clay Shirky is an adjunct professor in New York University's graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), where he teaches courses on the interrelated effects of social and technological network topology — how our networks shape culture and vice-versa. Mr. Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His consulting practice is focused on the rise of technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client/server infrastructure that characterizes the Web. Mr. Shirky has written extensively about the internet since 1996, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, Wired, Release 1.0, Computerworld, and IEEE Computer. His latest book is Here Comes Everybody: The Power of more »
R. David Lankes Not Done Yet: Charting a New Course for Librarianship November 3, 2008 10:00-Noon, Ripley Center, Lecture Hall, Room 3027 ~~the lecture will also be webcast live ~~ http://www.sil.si.edu/lectures_40th_Lankes.html R. David Lankes is currently Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse and an associate professor in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. He has spoken and written widely about bridging the gap between the theory of library science and the practice of users through his concept of “participatory librarianship.” Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today’s society. He has served on advisory boards and study teams in the fields of libraries, telecommunications, education, and transportation including at the National Academies. He has been appointed as a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada, the Harvard School of Education and the first fellow of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy. On the occasion of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ 40th anniversary, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL), Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) and the Office more »
Roy Tennant Libraries in a Networked World October 23, 2008 10:00-Noon, Ripley Center, Lecture Hall, Room 3027 ~~the lecture will also be webcast live ~~ http://www.sil.si.edu/lectures_40th_Tennant.html Roy Tennant is an internationally known speaker and writer on library and information technology issues. He is currently Senior Program Officer for OCLC Programs and Research where he provides expertise and advice on scholarly expectations and research information needs of OCLC institutions to maximize their impact and effectiveness for their respective institutions. While working for the California Digital Library, Roy was instrumental in the development and deployment of the eScholarship Repository and the eScholarship Editions publishing services. Roy’s recent book, Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow, is the latest of several of his publications on digital library technologies and management. On the occasion of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ 40th anniversary, the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL), Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) present another in a series of speakers to address the Institution on more »
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