The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Archive
- A bold plan from the National Archives - Digitize their analog records, all 12 billion pages of them. [via AOTUS blog, NARA]
- An epic road trip - Collecting on the road with Jason Stieber, National Collector, Archives of American Art. [via Smithsonian Collections Blog]
- Now availble - DigDC, a new online archive of Washington D.C. history created by the D.C. Public Library’s Special Collections department. [via Washington Post]
- Documenting events as the are happening - A conversation with Howard Besser and the efforts of Activist Archivists in saving the records of the "Occupy" movement. [via The Signal: Digital Perservation, LOC]
- From the stacks - Exhibits writer-editor, David Romanowski, talks about his adventures in doing research in the National Air and Space Museum Archives' Technical Files for the Hawaii by Air exhibition. [via AirSpace blog, NASM]
- Some thoughts on archival appraisal in the age of distant reading and computational analysis of large sets of electronic records. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Gale/Library Journal 2014 Library of the Year - Edmonton Public Libary - presents this cool video timeline of their 101 year history. [via InfoDocket]
The end of the fiscal year is a time to clear the decks and prepare for a fresh start. Everyone knows about closing out the budgetary year – the clue's in the name – but, there are other tasks, too. For example, performance reviews. Most everyone loathes them – both giving and receiving - yet they are a necessary evil. What's especially difficult is how to administer them with fairness and efficiency. The solution – standard form – is not new. In fact, here are a couple of performance review forms with rating scales and numeric values I found in the Archives. Although the forms are simple and direct, these would never be allowed today. Take a look and see:
The first example is my favorite. It is one page (there is room to write in detailed comments on the back) and can be used for any worker from laborer to upper management. It has a graphic scale, along which are terms to guide the rater allowing them to complete the task quickly and efficiency. The rating scale works from left to right – take a close look at the terms sprinkled along each line. That's right: slovenly, lazy and repellent.
Just two years later the form was still one page, but it is much less "nuanced" than its predecessor and not nearly so descriptive. So if you happen to be giving or receiving a performance review soon, I hope that you enjoyed this historic look back at the time-honored ritual of performance reviews.
- Accession 05-123: Smithsonian Institution, Personnel Records, 1892-1952, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Beards seem to get all the attention these days. So in honor of Bald and Free Day and to all of those of you who are hair impared, we present to you a Bald and Free Smithsonian.
- Record Unit 7433 - Ruel P. Tolman Collection, 1909-1964, Smithsonian Institution Archive
- Accession 11-008 - Office of Public Affairs, Photographic Collection, 1960-1970, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Wanting to increase library card ownership, the Nashville Public Library decided to help promote and celebrate library cards with a little song. [via Nora Lockshin, SIA]
- As we come to the end of National Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some tips for experiencing Latino History at the National Museum of American History. [via O say can you see? blog, NMAH]
- Poop Sleuth - Sarah Putman gives us a great look into the variety of work one can find at the National Zoo. [via Smithsonian Science]
- For all of those who practice digital preservation, The National Digital Stewardship Alliance Standards and Practices and Infrastructure working groups has published Checking Your Digital Content: What is Fixity and When Should I Be Checking It? [via The Signal Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Book love - Elizabeth Broman, Reference Librarian, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Library, talks about her experience attending the annual conference of the Moveable Book Society (think pop-up books) in Philadelphia. [via Unbound blog, Smithsonian Libraries]
- Even more book love - 800 year old doodles found in medieval books. [via Colossal]
- Thinking about being a digital archivist? Here's some great advice from Peter Chan, Digital Archivist, Standford University Libraries. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Digital images are such a common part of life, but it was not so long ago that Polaroid and instant film provided that immediate gratification of seeing what an image looks like instantaneouly. Here's a look at the Impossible Project and the beauty of instant film. [via PetaPixel]
Appropriately funereal for approaching Halloween, this military cortege accompanied James Smithson's remains from the Washington Navy Yard to the Smithsonian, on January 23, 1904. James Smithson (c.1765-1829) died in Genoa, Italy, and was buried there. However, after the turn of the century, the Smithsonian was notified that the graves were to be moved to allow quarrying on the cemetery site. Smithsonian Regent Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel traveled to Italy to oversee the disinterment of Smithson's remains and their transportation to the Institution that his bequest created.
This photo will be used in an Explorer at Large internet documentary.
When asked what the Smithsonian Institution Archives collects, we say we hold records about the history of the Smithsonian and its people, programs, research, and activities. While accurate, this doesn't really give anyone a clue about what is actually in those records.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives Reference Term handles an average of around 6,000 queries per year, and if you ask us what people have been researching at the Archives recently, you'll get some pretty interesting responses. Although not comprehensive, here's a snapshot of the diverse range of information encompassed by the archives of the world's largest museum complex!
Over the past three months, researcher projects have included:
- African American history at the Smithsonian
- History of Tropical biology in the 20th century Caribbean
- Philippine collections at the Smithsonian
- World’s Fairs and Expositions
- William Whewell and Pre-Darwinian systematics
- The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
- Exploration and settlement of the American West
- History of African-American museums
- Tropical biology in the Pacific
- The Wilkes Exploring Expedition
- Smithsonian presentation of science to the public
- Botanical exploration in Lower California
Upcoming publications using our photos or documents include:
Mary Jane Rathbun, carcinologist at the United States National Museum, at left with Katherine J. Bush of Yale University, second from left, Charlotte Bush and Eloise Edwards at the Marine Biological Laboratory and United States Fish Commission Station at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, probably in the 1890s.
This photo will appear in Richard Conif’s projected book on the history of the Peabody Museum of Natural History .
- Ipswich School's Old Ipswichian magazine
- Trowelblazers, a blog on women in archaeology
- Lawrence Livermore National Library in a workshop honoring Dr. Stirling Colgate
- David J. Meltzer for his book, The Great Paleolithic War
- Arthur A. Spector, for “Discovery of Essential Fatty Acids” in the Journal of Lipid Research
- The Springfield, Missouri Conservation Nature Center
Most unusual reference inquiry:
Fox Television was given permission to use Archives images as set dressing for its popular television series Bones. Among them was this photo of T. Dale Stewart, physical anthropologist, Department of Anthropology, United States National Museum. The photograph was most likely taken in October 1950 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Stewart often examined skeletons for the FBI and pioneered the field of forensic anthropology.
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