The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Web/Tech
- The Museum of London recently acquired a set of photographs by Christina Bloom, the United Kingdom's first female press photographer. [via PetaPixel]
- Just gotta use what works - The tale of Cooper-Hewitt downgrading their website to Wordpress. [via Cooper-Hewitt Labs]
- This past weekend, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African Art paid tribute to poet Maya Angelou who celebrated her 86th birthday on April 4. [via face to face, NPG]
- Smithsonian Magazine announced their finalists for their 11th annual photo contest. [via Colossal]
- Available for download - 15 years worth of live Fugazi shows. [via The Verge]
- Added context - Famed classical singer Marian Anderson's outfit from her performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, was a bright orange and stands in contrast to the black-and-white images of her that day. [via The Torch, SI]
- This week saw the end of Microsoft's support for Windows XP. As one of the longest-living operating systems, one of its most recognizable elements was its "Bliss" wallpaper. Below is the story of that image captured by Charles O'Rear. [via PetaPixel]
- Come join the fun! The DC Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archves Conference and the National Archives Assembly are having an archives fair on Thursday, April 3 at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. [via Prologue: Pieces of History, NARA]
- Interesting fact, that may or may not be surprising to some . . . A new study coming out finds that only 11% of new Twitter users in 2012 are still tweeting. [via InfoDocket]
- Hey, be careful of that first step. On April 2, the National Air and Space Museum will be adding to its permanent collections the capsule that carried Austrian parachutist Felic Baumgartner to 39,044 meters (128,100 feet) over Roswell, New Mexico and the pressure suit and parachute that he used from an earlier jump from 29,455 meters. [via AirSpace blog, NASM]
- Seems like curatorship is everywhere these days, from peoples' Pintrest pages to curated collections at retail shops, magazines, and websites. Leslie Johnston delves into this emergent phenomena of "curation." [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Another quiz you just have to take - Which Royal Institution speaker or scientist are you? (James Smithson played a part in the history the Royal Institution, not to mention being the founding donor of the Smithsonian) [via The Royal Institution]
- A call to action . . . preserving audio for the future is a race against time. [via NPR]
- Another call, this time from the National Archives to all the citizen archivists out there to help caption videos on Amara. [via NARAtions, NARA]
- Announced this week - The Canadian Museum of Nature launches a new site with 710,000 records of plants, animals, fossils, and minerals that are part of the museum’s national collections. [via InfoDocket]
- Last week we shared the awesome animated gifs of Hungarian/German graphic designer David Szakaly, this week comes the more tactile, but equally incredible mosaic patterns done in wet clay by Mikhail Sadovnikov. [via Colossal]
- Think the org chart is complex at your company/organization? Check out this org chart for the New York & Erie Railroad from 1855. [via Wired Design]
- Mach 6.7 . . . Now that's pretty fast! Get to know the X-15 in the National Air and Space Museum's Milestones of Flight gallery. [via AirSpace, NASM]
- Look in the collections of most archives and you'll find paper, lots of it. In honor of ubiquitous paper, take a look at the Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory in Bhutan. [via Core77]
- That darn dust! All hands on deck at the National Museum of Natural History to help clean the cases and specimens in the Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals. [via Unearthed, NMNH]
- Come April 10-11, if you happen to find yourself in Indianapolis, Indiana, be sure to check out Personal Digital Archiving 2014 at the Indiana State Library. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- You've transcribed journals, diaries, and botanical specimens, now its time to transcribe currency proof sheets from the National Numismatics Collection at the National Museum of American History. [via O say can you see?, NMAH
- Anzu wyliei - one scary chicken and newly discovered bird-like dinosaur. [via Smithsonian Science]
- Whoa . . . that is pretty mesmerizing! Check out these animated gifs by Hungarian/German graphic designer David Szakaly. [via Colossal]
- Happy Birthday World Wide Web! You are 25 years old today. Here's a look back at what websites used to look like. [via Jennifer Wright, SIA]
- The Smithsonian announced this week the selection of its 13th Secretary, Dr. David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University, who will officially start in July 2015.
- Libraries continue to redefine their physical spaces in response to the changing needs of their users. [via The New York Times]
- A look inside what goes on behind the scenes at the Library of Congress' Veteran's History Project. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- A personal experience of a researcher at the Archives. [via Effie Kapsalis, SIA]
- In February, we lost Dr. Martin E. Sullivan, the National Portrait Gallery's fifth director. [via facetoface blog, NPG]
- Coming up at the beginning of April is the 50th anniversary of Jerrie Mock becoming the first woman to fly around the world. [via AirSpace, NASM]
- Want to make a difference? Consider becoming a Presidential Innovation Fellow. [via AOTUS: Collector in Chief, NARA]
Just recently have I come to deeper appreciate of the importance of Women's History Month. As an information technology archivist and digital services manager, my work centers around preserving historic born digital records, using digitization techniques to help preserve analog holdings, and taking advantage of the Internet to connect researchers and the public to our unique collections. For the past year that's included working with people all over the world over the Internet through crowd-sourcing transcriptions and Wikipedia articles.
My responsibilities didn't expose me to how turn of the 20th century attitudes toward women in the sciences continues to affect us today. Agnes J. Quirk was my wake up call.
In 2012, I participated in the Archives' first Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, aptly themed "She Blinded Me With Science" (join us for our second Women in Science edit-a-thon March 18th.) To be honest, I selected Agnes because of her last name and the fact that I knew nothing about her work. In 1901, Agnes J. Quirk worked in the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Laboratory of Plant Pathology as lab assistant to pathologist-in-charge Erwin Frink Smith. By 1928, she was heading the laboratory and continued to do so for two more decades. She became known for her work on crown gall disease. Fifty years after starting at the USDA, she applied for and was granted US Patent No. 2609322 Production of Penicillin Mold and Jelly.
Thankfully, with the guidance of more experienced Wikipedians at that Edit-a-thon and later on, I'm pleased to say that Agnes now has a Wikipedia article. People starting their research with this online resource can find something about her work as a botanist and find other resources if they want to delve further.
That's my Quirk. But the Chase?
Mary Agnes Chase (1869-1963) is another botanist whose personal papers are part of the Archives' collections. She came to my attention through the Archives' and the National Museum of Natural History joint Field Book Project. Chase was a bit more controversial for her time because she was also an active suffragette. While working as a botanist for the USDA, she was jailed for participating in one of the Washington, DC protests. This was deemed unseemly behavior for a federal employee and almost resulted in her dismissal. At another point, she was excluded from an expedition to Panama purportedly because she would be a distraction to the male scientists. All this, despite her field work in many parts of North and Central America.
The Field Book Project brought my attention to Chase. The goal of the Project was to make thousands of previously uncataloged scientific field books and journals discoverable online. Finding useful primary sources on the resulting the Field Book Registry quickly prompted scientists and other scholars to contact us with the very natural question of "Can I see them - online? I'm doing research and can't travel to Washington, DC." The answer is increasingly yes as we continue to digitize these field books.
Most of these field books are handwritten, making it difficult to bring digital analysis and data mining techniques to bear on these materials. So we've turned to the "crowd" on the Internet to help us transcribe these materials to remove this obstacle to e-science research. We've been surprised by the response from people all over the world to this "call to arms" on the Smithsonian Transcription Center. Launched just eight months ago, over 3,000 people from 50 different countries around the world are transcribing the materials we've placed there. 23 of 33 projects from the Archives have been completely transcribed and reviewed by these digital volunteers.
Mary Agnes Chase's photography of her field studies were among the first field books digitized and posted to the Smithsonian Transcription Center. Last week, we launched another Chase album project. At the current rate, perhaps with your help, this album might be fully transcribed before March is over.
- The Field Book Project, NMNH and SIA
- Smithsonian Transcription Center
- Agnes J. Quirk, Wikipedia
- Mary Agnes Chase, Wikipedia
- Women in Science Edit-a-Thon, Part II, March 18, 2014
- Accession 90-105 - Science Service, Records, 1920s-1970s, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Record Unit 7271 - Rolla Kent Beattie Papers, circa 1928-1947, Smithsonian Institution Archives
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