Ad-hoc Reporting and Use of SRO

Since the earliest days of the Smithsonian Research Online (SRO), we have sometimes thought of the program as a distinct branch library just like any other. The notable exception is that SRO items are not printed materials but rather digital, and we use a different catalog or finding aid for the items. But other than that, the SRO processes materials in much the same way as a typical library by selecting, acquiring and cataloging items as the program has grown.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: Beyond the End

In conjunction with the recent exhibition “Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School” produced by Angelique Roy at the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, the blog has been exploring the group of color artists featured in the exhibition. 

‘The whole man at once’: scientific identities at the Dibner Library

George Sarton, a founder of the history of science as an academic discipline, argued that scholars should pay close attention to portraits. These images, he said, can give you ‘the whole man at once.’ With a ‘great portrait,’ Sarton believed, ‘you are given immediately some fundamental knowledge of him, which even the longest descriptions and discussions would fail to evoke.’ Sarton’s ideas led Bern Dibner to purchase portrait prints of men and women of science and technology. Many of these are now in the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. – Deborah Jean Warner, Curator, Physical Sciences Collection   A picture may tell 1000 words, but another 500 for context can add depth to the image. Follow this blog series to discover the people behind the portraits available online in the Scientific Identity collection. Joseph Jerome Le Francais de Lalande (1732-1807) Had Joseph Jerome Le Francis de Lalande chosen a different place of lodging, he may very well have become a barrister or priest in the more »

Publishing, Pretense, and Pigeons: The Case of Madame Knip

This post was written by Alexandra K. Neuman, library technician in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History.     The pigeons most of us are used to seeing—the ones that suddenly appear out of nowhere and descend upon a dropped bit of food—are often various shades of grey, some with touches of brown. No drama.     However, different breeds of pigeon can be very dramatic indeed—as can scholarship more »

Preserving “Nimm Mich Mit!”

This blog post was written by Noah Smutz, book conservator. Nimm Mich Mit! by Lothar Meggendorfer is a lovely early 20th century German visual dictionary filled with colorful illustrations. They include everyday objects including geometric shapes, kitchen utensils, clothing, plants, animals, people at work, and house interiors (learn more in a recent blog post ). This book is part of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum National Design Library collection in New York City.  

Looking Closely: Two Women in Book History

The Smithsonian Libraries does not contain an overwhelming number of notable bookbindings in its collections. Unlike some other research institutions, fine or interesting covers are not a collecting focus or reason for acquiring a title. Many of our books have had a hard life, well-used over the decades by staff and researchers in the museums’ departments. These survivors have often been rebound in library buckram (sturdy but oh so boring) or been more »

Jihad in 19th Century Sudan, Part III

Egypt, Sudan, and Jihad are much in the news today. What follows is a brief overview of some of the history behind the news. We began with “Part I: The Mahdi’s world: Social and Political Conditions”.  followed by Part II:  The Mahdi’s World: Slavery, Bedrock of Sudan’s Economy.  This is the third and final installment. This blog series was written by Judith Schaefer, volunteer in the Warren M. Robbins Library, National Museum more »

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