Life on Mars? Exploring 200 Years of Our Fascination with the Red Planet
Humans have long been intrigued by the possibility that Mars might harbor life. Planetary scientists nowadays continue to hunt for evidence of it, and space technologists even advocate settling ourselves there permanently. These are bold projects, and in this talk Nall will suggest that we look back before we look forward, to consider how humans studied and thought about Mars before the Space Age.
Shop the BHL Valentine's Day Collection!
Get your valentine the perfect card or gift with the new Valentine's Day Collection in the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Store! The collection includes products featuring vintage botanical art from the BHL. 100% of the proceeds will be used to digitize more books for BHL.
BHL, headquartered at Smithsonian Libraries, provides free and open online access to library collections from around the world. Researchers rely on these collections to study and conserve biodiversity.
about how BHL helps save biodiversity and how your purchase can have a lasting, positive impact on our planet.
Visit the Biodiversity Heritage Library website to explore over 50 million pages of free biodiversity literature. Visit BHL's Flickr to search over 100,000 free natural history illustrations.
An Evening at the Castle: The Lost Order Book Launch and Tour
New York Times
bestselling author and Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board Member, and Richard E. Stamm, Curator, Smithsonian Castle, for
a very special behind-the-scenes tour
of the Smithsonian Castle and the launch of Steve Berry's newest Cotton Malone adventure,
The Lost Order
. The event takes place April 4, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in the
The Smithsonian Castle, in its central location on the National Mall, figures prominently in Berry's new novel. Berry and Stamm will lead you into all of the Castle's nooks and crannies, visiting secret places the public never sees. You'll learn how Berry wove the Castle, the Smithsonian Libraries, and the rich history of this storied Institution into
The Lost Order. This event is almost sold out! Space is limited to 50 people. $1,000 contribution per guest. Please click here for more information and to make your contribution!
BHL Welcomes New Member
The Biodiversity Heritage Library is pleased to welcome the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) as the first Canadian library to join BHL as a Member. The largest academic library in Canada, UTL will enhance BHL's collection by contributing rare and unique material from its holdings of over 12 million print volumes. As the host of an Internet Archive scanning center, the Libraries has already digitized a large portion of its collection. Over 3.3 million pages of natural history literature from UTL are currently available in BHL. Learn more.
Smithsonian Research Online Reaches 80,000 Items
Smithsonian Research Online, an ever-expanding collection of published scholarly work from Smithsonian staff, researchers, and fellows, has added its 80,000th item. This collection represents what is believed to be 95% of the publications authored by the Smithsonian's staff and academic appointees from the 1850s to present day, illustrating the research conducted through the history of the Institution.
"The Smithsonian has a long history of documenting its research publications, but the unification of this information in one place and its availability in digital form ensures a single source-of-record that can be used to showcase the depth and the variety of research accomplishments at the Institution," says Alvin Hutchinson, Head, Information Services.
The collection is used in a variety of ways, including research evaluation and inclusion on individual scholar web pages. Additionally, the program compiles the full text of many of these publications and makes them available for search and download via its
. The Smithsonian Libraries collaborates with research and curatorial staff from the Smithsonian's 21 museums and nine research centers to ensure the preservation of this legacy and to provide world-wide access to this intellectual output.
Catesby in the Classroom: Students Explore the Intersection of Art and Science
In the early eighteenth century, English naturalist Mark Catesby set foot in a New World. He would eventually publish his research and original artworks as the first fully illustrated book on the flora and fauna of North America, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. This book contains 220 plates based mostly upon Catesby's own watercolors, which he worked up based on sketches he made in the field. The success of Catesby's work was based largely on his emphasis on personal observation and use of art to convey a visual record of his research.
Over 250 years later, students in South Carolina are following Catesby's example. As part of a collaboration with the
Catesby Commemorative Trust
, Dr. Tracey Hunter-Doniger used illustrations from
The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands
as the foundation for lesson plans designed to help students learn more about the importance of observation and the relationship between art and science.
A fifteen year K-8 visual art education veteran, Tracey has spent the last five years at the College of Charleston as an Assistant Professor of Creativity and Creative Arts in Education. In the fall of 2016, Tracey teamed up with her friend Erin Russell, the art teacher at Memminger Elementary School in Charleston, SC, to implement a trial run of her lesson plans in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade art classes.
All three classes were challenged to use their powers of observation to record what they saw, just as Catesby had done centuries before. Students were given copies of Catesby's illustrations, which Tracey downloaded and printed from the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The first edition copy of Catesby's masterpiece in BHL, digitized from the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History at the Smithsonian Libraries, is one of the few known perfect copies of this edition in existence.
"Having access to this resource through BHL is a treasure," says Tracey. "Being able to show the students the prints of the original artworks and use them to explain that these represent what Catesby saw and what he wanted to convey speaks volumes to the students."