Presentation by Sonoe Nakasone       October 21, 2011
• Joint initiative between the National Museum of  Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution  Archives• Mission: one...
What is a Field Book?*Primary source document. A record of field events leading up    to and including the collection of b...
What is a Field Book?*Primary source document. A record of field events leading up    to and including the collection of b...
Other kinds of notes          • Depict specimens and            surrounding environment.          • Illustrate precise loc...
Field books meet several research needs • Specific location information for specimen            • Itinerary information   ...
Presented by Rusty Russell to the Society For The   Preservation of Natural History Collections
Presented by Rusty Russell to the Society For The   Preservation of Natural History Collections                           ...
Conservation and ManagementPhotocredit:                                                                       PhotoNora   ...
What if there are field books in my family papers?Illustration in a moldy                          Proceed With Caution an...
What if there are field books in my family papers?   Learn More About the Field Notes and Creator                         ...
What if there are field books in my family papers?         Is It Appropriate to Keep or to Donate?• Historical significanc...
AcknowledgementsSmithsonian Project Team:Rusty Russell, Collections & Informatics, BotanyAnne Van Camp, Director, SI Archi...
Please Visit Our Website athttp://mnh.si.edu/rc/fieldbooks/Blog:http://nmnh.typepad.com/fieldbooks/Flickr:http://tinyurl.c...
Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity
Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity
Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity
Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity
Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity
Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity
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Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity

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Presentation delivered by Sonoe Nakasone--Cataloging Coordinator for the Field Book Project headed up by the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Archives--at the Smithsonian Archives Fair on October 14, 2011 in Washington, DC.

This lecture provides an overview of the scope and purpose of the Field Book Project by highlighting what they are, research questions they address, examples, management and preservation. In addition, this talk reviews how to care for field notebooks if you have them in your own family papers.

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  • Specimen list.
  • Collector numbers highlighted.
  • Taxonomic name of specimen highlighted in red box.
  • Location information highlighted in green box below taxonomic name.
  • Journal.
  • This is a Journal that includes a specimen list.
  • Photograph, map, sketch in annotated specimen list, field correspondence.
  • Background: image of a specimen in a herbarium.Foreground: image of the specimen label. This is the same information that is entered into a specimen database.
  • Image of an excerpt from the field book that refers to the specimen from the previous slide. The additional information provided in the field notes provides far more context than is available on the specimen label.
  • Left: image of field notes taken in the Department of Botany Library. Items are crowded, leaning, stacked, sticking out beyond the length of the shelf. This causes warping and other sorts of damage. Right: image of the same field books after they were relocated to a climate controlled environment with more shelf space. No treatment has been performed on these items yet, but they are already in better condition because they are stored properly and have additional room to grow as conservation work and rehousing is occurs.
  • Items you encounter may have mold, dust, be brittle, or fragile. They could also contain residue from harmful chemicals your relative may have worked with. Use gloves and masks if necessary, wash hands after touching materials. The link above is to an article about how to care for your collections and addresses some of these issues.
  • Left: image of a database for taxonomic names. This is the user friendly version, but a more straight forward version is simply www.ubio.org/. EOL is also a good resource. In both cases, type in the taxonomic names listed in a field book to learn what kind of specimens your relative was collecting.
  • Your relative may not be famous nationally or internationally, but are they a local celebrity, leader, or noted scientist? Did your relative teach at a local university? Were they a prominent member of a local nature society?Specimens and their field notes should ideally be together. If the specimens are at the Smithsonian for example, you might consider donating the field notes to the Smithsonian Archives. What condition are they in? You may want to consult an expert to weigh your options if they are in poor condition.Archives and other institutions have specific missions. Perhaps what you have is out of their scope. Find out what they collect by going to their website or calling. Your items may be very important, but might not be right for that institution.
  • Field Books: Primary Sources of Biodiversity

    1. 1. Presentation by Sonoe Nakasone October 21, 2011
    2. 2. • Joint initiative between the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Archives• Mission: one online location for field book content.• Beginning as a Smithsonian-wide initiative and eventually including the entire biodiversity community.
    3. 3. What is a Field Book?*Primary source document. A record of field events leading up to and including the collection of biological specimens.Typical Field books Less typical field books (may include)• Specimen Lists • Hand drawn Maps• Journals with descriptions • Sketches of collecting specimen • Photographs • Field Correspondence
    4. 4. What is a Field Book?*Primary source document. A record of field events leading up to and including the collection of biological specimens.Typical Field books Less typical field books (may include)• Specimen Lists • Hand drawn Maps• Journals with accounts of • Sketches collecting specimen • Photographs • Field Correspondence
    5. 5. Other kinds of notes • Depict specimens and surrounding environment. • Illustrate precise location specimen was found. • Expound or comment on what was found. • Something extra.
    6. 6. Field books meet several research needs • Specific location information for specimen • Itinerary information • Environmental context • Historic snapshot
    7. 7. Presented by Rusty Russell to the Society For The Preservation of Natural History Collections
    8. 8. Presented by Rusty Russell to the Society For The Preservation of Natural History Collections Collected at Tucson May 15—this is a very common plant throughout southern Ariz. In many places it is a troublesome weed. The vine sometimes 30 feet long climb over bushes and small trees. It produces flowers until late in the fall. Most abundant along marshes and creeks.
    9. 9. Conservation and ManagementPhotocredit: PhotoNora credit:Lockshin Anna Friedman Preservation efforts headed by Conservator Anna Friedman are funded by the National Park Service Save America’s Treasures grant.
    10. 10. What if there are field books in my family papers?Illustration in a moldy Proceed With Caution and Care A book of 19th century scientific reports ofbook, by Shannon Ramos, national explorationCreative Commons: expeditions from SIA’sAttribution 2.0. Reference Room library,Retrieved from October suffering from a cracked28, 2010 article by spine and brittle paper,Catherine Shteynberg on Courtesy of Michal Long.The Bigger Picture. Retrieved from September 30, 2010 article on The Bigger Picture: http://siarchives.si.edu/ Advise about caring for your collections The Bigger Picture : blog/taking-care-our- own http://siarchives.si.edu/blog/you-asked-we-answered-taking-care-your-own- archives Wikimedia Commons, retrieved September 13, 2011
    11. 11. What if there are field books in my family papers? Learn More About the Field Notes and Creator • Who was your relative? • Was collecting a job or hobby • If collecting was part of their job, where did they work?http://www.ubio.org/portal/ • What locations and datehttp://Eol.org ranges are there? • What Kind of Specimen are they collecting?
    12. 12. What if there are field books in my family papers? Is It Appropriate to Keep or to Donate?• Historical significance: • What condition are they locally, nationally, or in? internationally• Do the specimens belong • Do the field books match to an institution? the scope of the Check specimen catalogs of repository you want to institutions your relative worked donate to? for or contact the department’s collections manager.
    13. 13. AcknowledgementsSmithsonian Project Team:Rusty Russell, Collections & Informatics, BotanyAnne Van Camp, Director, SI ArchivesTammy Peters, Supervisory Archivist, SIARicc Ferrante, Director of Digital Services, SIAField Book Project Team:Carolyn Sheffield, Project ManagerSonoe Nakasone, Cataloging CoordinatorLesley Parilla, Cataloger and Graphics DesignerSave America’s Treasures (NPS) TeamSarah Stauderman, Collections Care Manager, SIANora Lockshin, Paper Conservator, SIAAnna Friedman, Book Conservator, Field BooksDigitization Project
    14. 14. Please Visit Our Website athttp://mnh.si.edu/rc/fieldbooks/Blog:http://nmnh.typepad.com/fieldbooks/Flickr:http://tinyurl.com/fbpflickr Questions?Sonoe Nakasone, Cataloging Coordinatornakasones@si.eduCarolyn Sheffield, Project Managersheffieldc@si.edu
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