The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Flickr Commons
- Smithsonian Magazine writes about how newfound negatives provide what are believed to be the only pictures of a living nestling of an ivory-billed woodpecker—America’s rarest bird.
- A digital archivist’s horror story. How the movie Toy Story 2 was accidentally deleted (and then restored). Moral of the story? Back up those files! [via Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA]
- A little late for May Day, but getting me in the Spring spirit nevertheless: maypoles across the Flickr Commons [via Susannah Wells, SIA].
- John Gray, former president of the Autry National Center of the American West, has been named director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
- “The Hemingway Papers” Digital Archive is now available, and features newspaper articles written by the famous author during his tenure as a columnist at the Toronto Star newspaper from 1920–1924 on subjects like fishing, sports and war [via INFOdocket].
- The National Portrait Gallery on the tricky science of conserving some Civil War era prints in their collections.
- Why do old books smell? [via swissmiss]
- A Springtime slideshow—a selection of gorgeous photographs of flowers from across the Flickr Commons.
- Movie studios are forcing Hollywood to abandon 35mm film, but what are the consequences of going digital? [via Jennifer Wright, SIA].
- The Library of Congress is celebrating Preservation Week with public events and many resources to help you learn to care for you personal collections at home.
- From our sister blog The Field Book Project blog—the remarkable travels and field books of naturalist Edmund Heller, and how the Field Book Project is bringing together his field notes, scattered across many institutions, into one place on the web.
- Milton Friedman on the future of capitalism, Ronald Reagan campaign speeches, and debates on morality—Pepperdine University’s Historic Sound Recordings collections contain some fascinating sound clips.
- The State Library and North Carolina State Archives has an Inform U. project—a group of tutorials online to help you with your digital preservation issues, as well as a series of video tutorials including the following on how to save your Facebook data [via InfoDocket]:
Three new images were recently added to the "Chandra X-ray Observatory" set on the Smithsonian Flickr Commons stream. Below, Kim Kowal Arcand, from the Education & Public Outreach group for the Chandra X-ray Observatory, explains the origins of these images. As noted on the Chandra site, the "flight operations, mission planning, data processing and user support for the Chandra mission are carried out by the Chandra X-ray Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in Cambridge, Massachusetts." The Chandra X-ray Center is part of a NASA initiative to make its space programs more efficient by encouraging expert teams located outside NASA centers to assume expanded responsibilities.The three new images recently added to the "Chandra X-ray Observatory" set on the Smithsonian Flickr Commons.
When the Universe came into existence about 14 billion years ago, the only elements were hydrogen, helium, and traces of lithium, beryllium, and boron. The heavier elements did not yet exist. Heavy elements are produced by nucleosynthesis--the fusion of nuclei deep within the cores of stars. At some point in time, the first stars were formed, and within their cores the fusion process created heavier and heavier elements; the most massive stars produced nuclei as heavy as iron. When the stars used up their nuclear fuel, they started to evolve.
The evolutionary processes of stars depend upon their initial mass. Mid-sized stars eject planetary nebulae, leaving a white dwarf core remnant. More massive stars explode as supernovae, leaving neutron stars or black holes at the centers of the supernovae remnants. The elements that were created within the cores of the first stars were ejected into space where they intermingled with the surrounding interstellar medium. This medium--the gas and dust between the stars--provides the raw material for the formation of new generations of stars. Eventually, these elements became incorporated into large clouds of gas and dust that condensed and formed protostars. And so the cycle of stellar formation (see 30 Doradus) and destruction (see RCW 86 and G350.1+0.3) continues--each new generation further enriching the interstellar medium with heavy elements that become incorporated into the next generation. We are just beginning to understand stellar formation and destruction--and how the Sun, Solar System and life on Earth are connected to this never-ending cycle.
For a more complete picture of this journey, visit the Chandra X-ray Observatory's Field Guide to X-ray Astronomy: Stellar Evolution.
For the past four years, the Smithsonain Institution Archives has honored Women’s History Month by publishing images of women in science to The Commons on Flickr. Among those, we include a selection that offer very little in the way of identification. Often times, with no name at all. To accompany this selection, we also call upon the Flickr Commons community to share their brilliant research skills and help expand on these skimpy image descriptions.
Following the success of previous years, this year was no different. Of the initial fifteen unidentified (or partially identified) images, the Smithsonian Institution Archives has officially updated the records of seven Women in Science images (pictured in the slideshow above), thanks to your help!
With each new comment added, so grew the excitement of the Archives staff working closely with these images. I would even gamble to say, these fellow colleagues start off with a favorite and silently root for her recognition. (Speaking of gambling, for future calls, we should place pseudo bets on which woman will be identified first! However, let it be stated, gambling is an unhealthy distraction for the workplace. And this concludes our impromptu PSA . . . I digress.)
Our supervisory archivist, Tammy Peters, was especially thrilled about the identification of Bertha Parker Pallan [Cody] (1907-1978) provided by Flickr member, Pixel Wrangler. Through this contribution, we learned of great accomplishments throughout her career, notably, that she has been referred to as the first woman to pursue archaeology professionally, and she was the first female Native American archaeologist. Including the fun fact: in 1936, Bertha Pallan married Oscar Cody (a.k.a “Iron Eyes Cody”)—an American actor best remembered for the "Keep America Beautiful" television advertisements in the 1970s.
I commend all the fascinating discoveries this year. However, there are eight remaining images that await more information or have yet to be addressed. In fact, my personal favorite needs some love. She currently goes by the name, “Unidentified Woman.”
There is nothing sadder than an image entitled “Unidentified woman.” Particularly, an image of a woman that looks so darling! The description mentions that “in other images she is standing with electrical engineer and Deutsches Technical Museum founder Oskar Von Miller (1855-1934).” Does this spark some insight into this woman’s past? Let the names begin.
(Anyone else have the chorus of Madonna’s “Who’s That Girl” playing in their head? . . . No? Just me?)
- Knitting your way across the Flickr Commons.
- The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project has launched, with more than 1,900 documents, photographs, and films of South Africa's first black president available online [via Michael Edson, Smithsonian].
- This week in Smithsonian history: the Barro Colorado Island Biological Laboratory opened in Panama as the Institute for Research in Tropical America. Read more about this Smithsonian research center in a guest blog post by our own Courtney Esposito over at the Smithsonian Collections Blog.
- What do you think about our updated Facebook page? Our new “milestones” features momentous occasions and historic photographs from Smithsonian history.
- An interesting and sad piece of history: this week the discovery of two original albums of photographs of paintings and furniture looted by the Nazis was announced. The US National Archives blog talks about the discovery, and the importance of these albums.
- What do our books, newspapers, blogs, and tweets say about us? The New York Times talks about the development of computer-based tools that comb through the words of written works to find common themes.
- Beginning in the late 1880s, Thomas Edison's labs not only built the equipment for filming and projecting films, but produced popular content for the new medium. Here, the earliest surviving copyrighted motion picture, the Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze is a short film made by W. K. L. Dickson in January 1894 for advertising purposes. Just one of many film nuggets from the Library of Congress’ Edison Company early films collection.