Department Brownbags : Division of Birds, NMNH
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Department Brownbags : Division of Birds, NMNH



Summer 2012: The Field Book Project is holding a series of brown bags for the departments participating in the project. Each brown bag is presented by a cataloger who has worked on field books within ...

Summer 2012: The Field Book Project is holding a series of brown bags for the departments participating in the project. Each brown bag is presented by a cataloger who has worked on field books within that department. Presenations contain similar content.



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  • *Field books related to the same person or expedition are distributed throughout multiple departments and institutions.*Access points are inconsistent across collections. Some field books are described minimally in finding aids, inventories, catalog records. Some are not listed anywhere and are truly “hidden”*No community-adopted standard to control and provide better access
  • 2 Major PhasesPhase 1 focusing on cataloging the approximately 6000 field books located at the Smithsonian Institution. We have also formed partnerships with institutions that have similar goals. Phase 2, the registry will be opened to our partner institutions. Eventually, museums from all over the country will be able to participate.
  • Original source data.
  • photographs, sketches, maps, and correspondence when it was created during a collecting event and documents field research
  • *The bulk of our activities support cataloging : 3 year grant from the Council of Library and Information Resources supporting cataloging field books at the Smithsonian Institution. Cataloging remains the bulk of our activities and short-term goals.*Supplemental funds: last year SIA received funds from Save America’s Treasures to perform physical conservation on field books.Smithsonian Women’s Committee fund also received to digitize a subset of the field book collections cataloged by our project.
  • On the left are the three types of EAC or authority records: organizations, people, and expeditions. On the right are the two levels at which we describe field notes.
  • A collection record provides an overview of a collection of field books.Ex. Mearns collection: over 200 items.Summarizes geographic locations, expeditions, names, and subject matter covered by all the field books in a collection.Contextual information—relationships between items within collectionNCD-Natural Collections Description: Kingdom, Taxonomic Coverage (at family level or higher), Common Name Coverage,
  • More detailed than inventory lists or brief finding aid descriptionsProvide enough critical information (“access points”) to help you find the field book you’re looking for: collector, date, geographic name, topic. Expedition name… Abstract: text field in which we will note whether measurements, elevations, coordinates, temperatures, details about the birds are included.
  • “authority records” : a standard resource about the entity described including how to write someone’s name, their life and death dates, and biographical information.
  • A portion of the project is committed to preserving field books. Although catalogers perform basic and quick preservation tasks in order to catalog, more complicated conservation treatments are performed by trained conservators.
  • Digitizing a subset of field notes at SIA and NMNH, however, no dedicated funding sources for digitization have been obtained.Digitization activities will include:Digitizing field notesMetadataEntry of digitized field notes and entry of field books into the Field Book Registry
  • Islandora is an open source digital asset management system based on Fedora repository structure and the Drupal content management system and framework.

Department Brownbags : Division of Birds, NMNH Department Brownbags : Division of Birds, NMNH Presentation Transcript

  • • Joint initiative between the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Archives• Mission: to create a Field Book Registry, one online location for field book content everywhere.• Beginning as a Smithsonian-wide initiative and eventually including the entire biodiversity community.
  • Why the Field Book Project?• Related field books are not co-located• Current access points are varied, minimally descriptive: – Finding Aids – Inventory lists – Bibliographic library catalog records – Institutional memory• No community-adopted standard
  • Phase 1: Locally cataloged field books at the Smithsonian Institution SI Division of SI Division of Birds MammalsSI Department of Smithsonian Botany Institution Field Book Archives Registry California Academy of Sciences Field Phase 2: Other Museum’s Field Books Books Partner institutions and the larger community contribute field book records
  • What do we consider Field Books? *Unpublished, original record of field events leading up to and including the collection of biological specimens.Field books we catalog may include Not currently included in the project: • Published notes• Specimen Lists / field catalogs • Laboratory notes• Journals with descriptions of specimen collecting • Copied (photocopied, hand copied,• Hand drawn or annotated maps of microfilmed) notes standing in for collecting localities originals.• Field sketches of specimens • Anthropological notes.• Field photographs of specimens • Geological notes unaccompanied by• Field correspondence paleobiological notes.
  • Specimen list /journalsPhotos of specimens in the field Field sketches of specimensMaps of collecting localities Letters about collecting events
  • What is the Field Book Project Doing?CatalogingCreating collection and item records for field books in: – Department of Botany – Division of Birds – Division of Mammals – Smithsonian Libraries – Smithsonian Institution ArchivesSupplemental funds support:• Preservation and Conservation• Digitization
  • Cataloging Overview EAC Organization NCD CollectionOrgId: EACO15 CollectionId: NCDC78Name: Smithsonian Institution, Title: Edgar Alexander Mearns,National Museum of Natural History, field books, 1890-1924Division of Birds Owner: EACO15 Creator: EACP07 Description: 200 folders of Meanss field EAC Person notes on ornithological collecting and observations in the Philippines, Kenya, …PersonId: EACP07Name: Mearns, Edgar A.(Edgar Alexander), 1856-1916Dates: 1856-1916 MODS ItemBiographical history: Edgar A. Mearns was MODSId: MODSI1281a military doctor and prolific naturalist Collection: NCDC78who collected birds, mammals, plants… Title: Field notes and Journal, March 25 - April 5, 1885EAC Expedition Dates: 1881, 1885ExpId: EACE0017 Creator: EACP07Name: Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition: EACE 0017Expedition Abstract: Mearns uses this journal toDates: 1909-1911 record his daily activities and lists ofDescription: Under former President mostly birds and mammals seenTheodore Roosevelt, the Smithsonian during his natural history research …Institution-Roosevelt African Expedition …
  • Collection Record• Describes context and provenance• Specifies individual creators (people), geogra phy, & subject matter covered
  • Item Record Records describe: • Dates • Collectors • Geography • Type of materials • Summary of field book content and information collected • Related expeditions, organizat ions, or individuals
  • People, Expeditions, Organizations• Authorized form of name• Dates – life and death – expedition dates – founding and ending dates• Biography
  • Preservation Ex. Flattening and mending pagesEx. Separatingbrittle pages
  • Test Bed DigitizationSupplemental funding through SIA for some digitization• Digitizing field notes• Metadata• Entry of digitized field notes and records into the Field Book RegistryQuestions about digitization? Read:
  • Field Book RegistryPrototype• Approximately 5000 items cataloged from 5 departments and multiple biodiversity disciplines.• File Maker Pro
  • Field Book RegistryIslandora• Fedora and Drupal• Search/browse functions• Page delivery
  • Field Book RegistryFuture of the Field Book Registry• Incorporating field notes outside of Smithsonian• Crowd sourced transcription• OCR• TaxonFinder• Social tagging• Data visualizations (timelines; maps)
  • AcknowledgementsRusty Russell Anne Van CampCollections & Informatics, Botany Director, SI Archives Carolyn Sheffield, Project Manager Sonoe Nakasone, Cataloging Coordinator Lesley Parilla, Cataloger and Graphics Designer Emily Hunter, Cataloger Kira Cherrix, Image and Video Digitization Specialist, SIA Ricc Ferrante, Director of Digital Services, SIA Tammy Peters, Supervisory Archivist, SIA Nora Lockshin, Paper Conservator, SIA Sarah Stauderman, Collections Care Manager, SIA Kirsten Tyree, Conservation Technician, SIA
  • Please Visit Our Website at NakasoneCataloging