Happy Valentines Day

The Geo. H. Mellen Co. Condensed Catalogue of Special Offers in Choise Plants, Seeds & Fruit, 1896 —Elizabeth Periale

Visual literacy

The concept of visual literacy is important today, as people absorb information from all kinds of media. Visual literacy involves understanding the meaning of images–sometimes multiple meanings– both in terms of integrating words and pictures, and ‘reading’ pictures separately from texts. The exhibition Picturing Words: the Power of Book Illustration focuses on the power of pictures to inspire, inform, and influence viewers. We explore the ways that pictures reach audiences, sometimes more directly than text alone. Illustrations can explain complicated ideas at a glance and can even take precedence over words. They extend the meaning of books beyond textual limits and invoke readers’ imaginative faculties. They aid the dissemination and acceptance of scientific discoveries, technical advances, and artistic innovations – all fields that are represented at the Smithsonian and supported by the holdings of Smithsonian Institution Libraries. In addition, the exhibit demonstrates how illustrations are produced from wood blocks, engraving plates, and lithographic stones, as well as the application of photography to pictorial printing. One of the most popular features more »

Abraham Lincoln’s Bicentennial

The Libraries celebrates the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln today. The sixteenth president of the United States is represented by two images in the Libraries collections, this image from Harper's Weekly, as well as an image of the president's carriage, which happened to be a Studebaker, and can be found in our digital display, From Horses to Horsepower: Studebaker Helped Moved a Nation. Related Smithsonian link: Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life—Elizabeth Periale

Darwin @ 200

Portrait of Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882), BiologistOriginally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution “The cultivation of natural science cannot be efficiently carried on without reference to an extensive library.” (1)– Charles Darwin, et al (1847) Today, February 12, 2009, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Later this year will be yet another landmark date for Darwin, the sesquicentennial (mark your calenders now for November 24th!) of the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859). The Smithsonian Institution Libraries is a key member of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Project, a consortium of ten natural history and botanical garden libraries engaged in the task of digitizing the worlds taxonomic literature. Those working in systematics and taxonomy are heavily dependent on the historic literature – to a greater extent than perhaps most of the sciences. This importance of the literature, as well as the ongoing importance of publication (and library deposit) to validate taxonomic concepts, contribute to the mission and continue to inform the day to day development more »

Picturing Words all over the web

 The Libraries exhibition, Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustration is currently on view at the National Museum of American History. The exhibition features beautifully illustrated books from the collection of the Smithsonian Libraries, including The Nuremberg Chronicle as well as works by Gustave Doré, Walter Crane, Andreas Vesalius and Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. The exhibition is getting some notice on the web, as well: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/aroundthemall/?s=picturing+words http://goodnaturepublishing.blogspot.com/2009/02/picturing-words-power-of-book.html http://www.intute.ac.uk/artsandhumanities/cgi-bin/fullrecord.pl?handle=20081005-21495836 http://go.si.edu/smithsonian/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=2269374 http://www.gosmithsonian.com/museums/national-museum-of-american-history/http://shaunaleelange.com/2008/11/30/picturing-words-the-power-of-book-illustration/ —Elizabeth Periale

BHL Book of the Week

Mollusca marina Originally uploaded by Smithsonian Libraries Wilhelm Dunker, Mollusca marina . . . . Cassel :Fischer,1858-1870. View the entire volume through the Biodiversity Heritage Library:http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/41322 —Erin Clements Rushing

The Dibner Library is open

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology is celebrating its reopening today with a small event and presentation by the new Head of Special Collections, Lilla Vekerdy. The library had been closed during the renovation of the National Museum of American History. The Dibner remains in its original location on the first floor in the National Museum of American History building, in the West Wing. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays by appointment.  The adjacent Libraries gallery currently features the Picturing Words exhibition, which focuses on book illustration techniques. For more information please contact the Library at 202-633-3872 or at DibnerLibrary@si.edu —Elizabeth Periale

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