Search Tips for Field Books on Smithsonian Collection Search Center

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There are now nearly 8,800 Field Book Project catalog records for Smithsonian's individual field books, their related collections, as well as their creators. In order to assist researchers who are looking for pertinent field book records on Smithsonian Collection Search Center, we have developed search tips from methods that we frequently use to search the field book records online.

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  • • Over the last 3 years, NMNH and SIA have been working to create a Field Book Registry, one online location for field book content.
    • December 2012, our records were made available for the first time to the public on Smithsonian Collection Search Center.
    • Since going live, we have continued to catalog and update these records on SCSC nearly every two months.
    • There are now nearly 8800 records documenting field books in 8 different departments and divisions of the Institution, as well as around 400 digitized field books.
    • We continue to update and expand the records and digital content.
  • Field Book Project records hold substantial information about the individual contents of each cataloged field book, their collections, and about their creators.

    Now that the records are available on SCSC, researchers can not only search these records but also see how they relate to the holdings of other departments.

    Search possibilities on SCSC are impressive given that our records are now alongside the 8.1 million catalog records from units across the Institution.

    In order to assist users navigate these options more efficiently, we have developed some search tips from methods that we frequently use to search the field book records online.
  • The Field Book Project developed a hybrid cataloging structure using library and archive techniques to address the unique cataloging challenges of field books.

    5 kinds of Field book registry records that you find in SCSC:
    3 kinds of creator records: individual collectors, organizations, and expeditions.
    Collection records: akin the collection description found in a finding aid
    Field book records: what each field book documents

    These records are then linked to their related collection and creator records. This clarifies relationships that might only be obvious by examining field books at the item level.

    Due to time constraints, initial cataloging priority focused on collection and item level records. Records that describe the collections and items are complete. TMI?

    Creator records have been completed when possible. If there is a creator description available through a finding aid or readily available authoritative source, the information was entered and citation given if taken from outside SIA. In other cases a minimal record was created. These are the types of records whose content has been expanded with some of the updates.
  • The search methods we have developed are focused on using

    controlled subject headings
    locating types of records.

    Some searches are best completed through keyword searches. All of the searches shown in this presentation are also viewable on our website FAQ page.

  • The main ways we’ve identified to quickly narrow searches are through these topics from the menu on the left-hand side which include:

    Online media – electronic resources (digitized field books)
    Type of field books (journal, images etc)
    Topics highlight scientific disciplines covered
    Name relates primarily to creator
    Place covers geography of field book content
    Date for limiting search results. Field book records often give detailed information about time period covered.
    Catalog Record Source this one seems often to be the most helpful.
  • There are two ways.  Either use keyword search “unit_code:FBR” or select Cataloging Record Source “Field Book Registry.”
     
    This is particularly helpful if you are only interested in field book content, a search of SCSC with only a name will often turn up copious numbers of specimen records and archive collections that are not field book related.
  • Limit the search category Type to “field notes.” This is the one type of record that can be selected through the left hand menu.
  •  
    If you select Topic, you’ll see that most disciplines are cataloged by their subject term (e.g. study of mammals is cataloged with “mammalogy”).  In the cases of botany and ornithology you will have more accurate search results if you select the Topic “plants” or “birds.”
  • We catalog the physical location of both the collections and individual field books.  You can see this information when the catalog record is expanded.  To locate field books and collections in various departments use the following keyword searches in quotations. We use the LOC heading for or official name of departments and divisions in the Smithsonian Institution for location information.

    Each of these searches are available as links on our FAQ page.
  • Expand the field book record that you’re interested in and about halfway down the record, you’ll see Access Information listed.  This will provide a phone number and email address where you can reach the department that holds that collection.
  •  The Field Book Registry includes 5 types of records: (1) Collection records, (2) Item [or field book] records, (3) Personal Biographies, (4) Organization Histories; and (5) Expedition Histories.   
    “Personal name” (Individual collectors)
    “Organization name”
    “Expedition name”
    For collections, enter record_ID: fbr_coll*
  • This is a small but consistently growing segment of the field books led by the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA’s) Division of Digital Services and their awesome digitization staff.  To find all currently available digitized field books, select Online Media and limit to “Electronic Resource”.
  • This can give you a lot of information about the format of the field book.  Field books come in a wide variety of formats including videos, photographs, journals, diaries, and slides just to name a few.

    All field books cataloged by the FBP have been designated as field books, with additional type information included when applicable.
  • Field book records can include geographical information that ranges from the political boundaries like country level to town level or geological boundaries like mountain range, river, or island.

    These levels of specificity can be seen in the category Location.


     
  • The Field Book Registry catalog records include a significant amount of date information.  Individual collectors have birth and death years, expedition records list beginning and end years.  Field book records often list the beginning and ending dates covered within a given item.  Limiting your search by date can be a great way to filter results.
  • Search Tips for Field Books on Smithsonian Collection Search Center

    1. 1. TIPS ON HOW TO SEARCH FIELD BOOKS Search methods for field book records on Smithsonian’s Collection Search Center
    2. 2. The Field Book Project  Creation of the Field Book Registry  December 2012, records were made available to the public  Records continue to be added and updated Nearly 8,800 Field Book catalog records on SCSC.
    3. 3. Field Book Content
    4. 4. Cataloging Structure Collection Record Title: Edgar Alexander Mearns, field books, 1890-1924 Owner: Smithsonian Creator: Mearns, Edgar A. Item Record Title: Field notes and Journal, March 25 - April 5, 1885 Dates: 1881, 1885 Creator: Mearns, Edgar A. Expedition: Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition Person Record Name: Mearns, Edgar A. (Edgar Alexander), 1856-1916 Expedition Record Name: Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition Organization Record Name: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Division of Birds
    5. 5. Smithsonian’s Collection Search Center • 8.1 million records from Units across Smithsonian • Field Book Project includes nearly 8,800 records from 8 departments • Check out our FAQ page
    6. 6. Getting Started One can quickly locate field books relating to: • Digitized field book content • Formats • Scientific disciplines • Field book creators • Geography • Time
    7. 7. How do I limit my search to just Field Book Registry Records? Select Cataloging Record Source “Field Book Registry.”
    8. 8. How do I limit my search to just the field books (no collection, person, organization or expedition records)?  Limit the search category Type to “field notes.”
    9. 9. How do I limit my search to one natural history discipline?  Select Topic
    10. 10. How do I locate field books that are housed in one of the departments or divisions of the NMNH?  To locate field books and collections in various departments use the following keyword searches in quotations.  e.g. “National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Division of Birds”
    11. 11. How do I find the contact information for the Department or Division that houses the field book I’m interested in? Expand the field book record that you’re interested in and about halfway down the record, you’ll see Access Information listed.
    12. 12. How do I limit my search to a type of record? To limit the search to just field books, select search category Type “field notes.” Other types of records can be selected by using the keyword searches in quotations (e.g. “Personal name” for Individual collectors)
    13. 13. How do I limit my search to digitized field books?  Select Online Media and limit to “Electronic Resource”
    14. 14. What kind of information can I find with the search category “Type”?  This can give you a lot of information about the format of the field book.
    15. 15. How much location information is searchable through the search category “Place”?  These levels of specificity can be seen in the category Location.
    16. 16. How much information is available when limiting a search by “Date”?  Limiting your search by date can be a great way to filter results.
    17. 17. Thank you for attending! Any questions??? Lesley Parilla Cataloger Field Book Project Smithsonian Institution Archives / National Museum of Natural History Parillal[at]si.edu

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