The Library of James Smithson on LibraryThing

Thanks to Jeremy Dibbell, SI Libraries own Suzanne Pilsk, and the folks at LibraryThing, we’ve now added most (113 out of just over 120) of the remaining known books from library of James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian Institution. One of the great things about LibraryThing is the ability to compare libraries. Other famous libraries on LibraryThing include those of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Samuel Johnson. A quick glance shows us that Smithson shared 4 titles with Jefferson, and one each with Johnson and Adams. Take at look at Smithson’s LibraryThing library. But also be sure to visit the Smithsonian Libraries website, the Galaxy of Knowledge, to learn more about the collection and to see a number of images from the library that include Smithson’s annotations: Smithson’s Library. Leslie K. Overstreet, the Smithsonian Libraries Curator of Natural-History  Rare Books, writes of the Smithson Library: James Smithson (c.1765-1829), an 18th-century gentleman of science, included his library with his bequest to the United States, and those books now reside in more »

Presentation for the Boston Library Consortium

      Originally uploaded by matt707 I, along with my colleague Chris Freeland of the Missouri Botanical Garden, was invited by the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) to make presentations on how the Biodiversity Heritage Library has created a portal to biodiversity literature from our diverse collections. Attending the presentation were over 50 staff from BLC institutions (MIT, UMass-Amherst, Brandeis, MBL/WHOI, Boston Public Library, etc.), including Boston Public Library president Bernard Margolis. We had an enthusiastic group that asked a number of great questions. – Martin Kalfatovic My presentation is available online at SlideShare Global Library of Life: The Biodiversity Heritage Library. Martin R. Kalfatovic. Boston Library Consortium Meeting. Boston Public Library. 18 March 2008. Boston, MA. | View | Upload your own

Data Curation Education Program Advisory Group

Smithsonian Libraries staff serve the library and museum communities in many ways. Many of us serve on professional committees as members, officers or advisers. The University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) formed a new area of concentration, Data Curation, in their Master of Science program. The University of Illinois GSLIS has brought together a number of distinguished librarians and informaticians to serve in an advisory role for the program. Currently, two Smithsonian Library staff serve on the advisory committee: Tom Garnett (Program Director, Biodiversity Heritage Library) and Martin Kalfatovic (Head, New Media Office and Preservation Services Department). The advisory committee met this past week (March 28) at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis to discuss the status of the program, design case studies for graduate students to investigate, and to explore potential internship opportunities for students in the program at host institutions (such as the Smithsonian). You can learn more about the Data Curation concentration at the UIUC/GSLIS website under DCEP. – Martin more »

Biodiversity Heritage Library Scanning

  2008-03-18-dscn2943    Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic On March 18, I visited the Northeast Regional Scanning Center at Boston Public Library. The Northeast Regional Scanning Center is currently scanning books from Harvard (Museum of Comparative Zoology and Botany Libraries) and the Marine Biological Laboratory/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Library for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The Smithsonian Institution Libraries is a key player in the BHL and currently hosts a single scanning station in the National Museum of Natural History and is actively working with the Library of Congress on establishing the 10 station "FedScan" center at the LC’s Adams Building. Visit the BHL portal at: and follow the latest developments on the BHL blog at – Martin Kalfatovic

Charles Darwin

This portrait of Charles Darwin is from the online collection, "Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology" (view collection) The scientific portrait collection in the Dibner Library was assembled by Bern Dibner. The images formed a fine research complement to the thousands of scientific books and manuscripts in the library he founded, the Burndy Library. Bern Dibner obtained most of the portraits during the 1940s from print dealers in Boston, London, and Paris. By 1950 he had about two thousand images and arranged them into ten scientific subdivisions: Botany, Chemistry, Electricity, Geology, Mathematics, Medicine, Philosophy, Physics, Technology, and Zoology.

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