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From the Stacks 

July 9, 2012

Smackdown: Why’didja do that? or a brief look at scientific illustration history.

by Diane T Sands

I was asked by a colleague who viewed the Wild Pig Smackdown,

As a person who has no background in scientific illustration, I am curious to know how these two really different drawings can be produced of the same species and be useful?

This is a great question. A fair amount of historical scientific illustration, particularly during the Age of Exploration (1450-1700), was completed as a record of existence. Many of the items being illustrated on expeditions had never before been seen by Europeans and served as a record of the great things discovered, often proving to the expedition funders that their money was not wasted. Natural history specimens preserved using alcohol, drying, tanning or other means can readily lose color, shape and 3-dimensional character. Illustration was the most expedient way of preserving posture and indicating natural coloration.

While we have no real provenance for the Cole image or why it was created, it appears to fall into the this-is-what-a-boar-looks-like/historical camp.

As time has progressed, illustration remains a useful tool. Illustrators are able to show multiple or uncommon views, and to emphasize characteristics that would not be obvious in a photograph – cutaways that show animal burrows underground, or the complete cycle from flower to fruit, for example. In the systematic literature, illustrations of the whole plant or animal are often supplanted or used in combination with close-ups of the physiological or morphological characteristics that make each species unique. This can include geographic area, dentition, genitalia, or pollen structure – all things not easily photographed. The following image is one visual example.

Notida image from CAS Proceedings

Penny, N. (2002) "Lacewings of Costa Rica" Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, vol. 52 no. 12. Image 117 by Diane T Sands. Images 118, 119 by Victoria Saxe*

As I researched Sus scrofa, I thought about why someone would call me up and ask me to illustrate this species today. I also thought about what was it about this species that most interested me. What had I learned that I could convey visually? I was struck by the fact that while there are subspecies of Sus scrofa that are often isolated by region (and thus considered distinct), for the most part, the main question was: are they wild or domesticated? Since wild pigs of one sort or another have been introduced – either accidentally or purposefully – on islands around the world, the answer often blurs.

Is there an absolute distinction between the wild boar and the domestic pig? In my preparatory research, I came across an article** that looked at this issue from the point of view of prehistory, and porcine remains of archaeological digs. The illustrations accompanying the article are primarily area maps, and graphs of statistical measurement metrics. While well done and highly informative, one does need to know a higher level of vocabulary and maths to get the picture. I asked myself how I might visually explain at least one difference between a wild and a feral population in a way that even a non-biologist would understand.

The result is here.

*Victoria Saxe

** Rowley-Conwy,P., U. Albarella, and K. Dobney (2012) Distinguishing Wild Boar from Domestic Pigs in Prehistory: A Review of Approaches and Recent Results Journal of World Prehistory Vol. 25(1),  Pages 1-44. http://www.springerlink.com/content/6446560r166488x7/abstract/?MUD=MP


Filed under: Scientific Illustration,Smackdown — Dsands @ 11:08 am

July 2, 2012

Wild Pig Smackdown

For the Illustration Smackdown explanation, click here.

From the Academy Archives:

wild boar illustrated by Michael Cole

This illustration of a wild boar was stumbled upon while looking for another image in the Academy’s oversized collection in the Archives. Little is known about how the image was used, but it came to us from our own Exhibits Department and was meticulously drawn by Michael E. Cole.


From Sands:

Sus scrofa (c)2012 Diane T Sands

The wild boar and the feral pig are considered the same species despite differences in height, weight and skull shape. I designed this illustration to highlight some of these anatomical anomalies. The skull on the left is a wild boar; the one on the right that of a feral pig.


More about
Sus scrofa:
Wild Boar, Feral Pig
The wild boar is native to Europe, but has been widely introduced as a game animal throughout the world. In North America, it has successfully interbred with escaped feral farm pigs. This has happened so much that most writings simply refer to Sus scrofa under the blanket term Wild Pigs. In California, these wild pigs run amok through open space land and regional parks. Omnivorous opportunists, they wander the landscape vacuuming up vegetation, and just about any other living thing in their path.

The females become sexually mature at 18 months of age, producing 6-10 young per litter, often having more than one litter per year. A large group of females and their recent young are called Sounders.  Adults can reach sizes over 750lbs. Males are usually solitary and can sharpen their tusks by rubbing the lowers against the uppers.

Here’s a great article about the infestation of wild pigs in the East Bay Regional Park District :
http://baynature.org/articles/oct-dec-2010/ground-invasion/?searchterm=feral%20pigs


Filed under: Archives,Library News,Research,Scientific Illustration,Smackdown — Dsands @ 11:54 am

June 18, 2012

Introducing the Illustration Smackdown.

Wrack Ball

Wrack Ball (c) Diane T Sands

In this corner…

The Academy Archives is part of the Academy Library, and includes material on the history of the institution, including scientific expeditions and research, Museum exhibits, building history, and general administrative history. The Archives also houses manuscript collections from our scientists and scientists related to the Academy. Manuscript collections are mainly comprised of field notes, unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, scientific illustrations, and photographs.

And in THIS corner…

Diane T Sands: When not working as the Collection Development Librarian here at the Academy Library, I do freelance illustration. I have been an active member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators for the last 15 years. I have created illustrations (scientific and otherwise) for the North American Diatom Symposium, The Annals of the Entomological Society of America, The Hudson Institute, KQED’s Mind/Shift blog, The Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association, California Wild Magazine, and the education department here at the Academy, among others. Not surprisingly, my interest in the Academy Archives and Rare Book Collection is peaked whenever there are illustrations involved.***

What better way to get acquainted with the Archives and all the wonders it holds than to pit my illustration skills against it? Enter the Illustration Smackdown

The way the Illustration Smackdown works.
Each month, the archive staff, will locate an illustration in the Archives during the course of their regular work. They will not show it to me. Instead they will provide me with two pieces of information;
1. The scientific name of the plant or animal featured.
2. Whether the piece in question is a field sketch or a finished illustration
I will then have two weeks to research the species and produce my own illustration. Then we will feature the two illustrations side by side here on From the Stacks for your viewing pleasure.

Stay Tuned Illustration Lovers!
Diane T Sands
Collection Development Librarian

*** Diane will be doing a live illustration demo during the Academy’s Nightlife on Thursday, June 28, 2012


April 26, 2012

Rollo H. Beck Field Notes Now Accessible Online

The California Academy of Sciences Archives and Digital Collections are pleased to announce that the Rollo H. Beck field notes from the 1905-06 Galapagos expedition are now accessible online at the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The Beck field notes are the first test submission to the Connecting Content field note scanning project. Their successful inclusion into BHL marks many months of planning, efforts, and collaboration between the Academy staff and our amazing partner institutions.

The Connecting Content project, funded by a 3-year IMLS National Leadership Grant, involves digitizing field notebooks and natural history collections and linking the content together with library and archives magic. And by magic, I mean hours and hours of very hard work. This is the first step in an effort to create linked digital item level access to archival resources, published literature, and biological data at the level of taxonomic name. This project has come together through the combined efforts of multiple institutions and with rigorous planning about how best to create and disseminate content that is discoverable, enduring, and openly accessible.

Rollo H. Beck was the leader of the expedition to the Galapagos, so his notes provide a more general overview than the specimen collecting notes of the other members of the team. The field notes are quite fragile, so much care was needed to were scan each page on a flatbed scanner. Highlights for the scanners included finding the page that describes the first news of the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco and nearly all of the Academy of Science’s collections. The specimens that the expedition brought back from the Galapagos formed the core of the new Academy.

After digitization, we had to package the materials for ingest into BHL by creating a MARC (MAchine- Readable Cataloguing) record for each item. (We’d like to recognize and send a HUGE thank-you to the amazing and incredibly bright cataloguers who have toiled over this effort!) This record combined with a spreadsheet containing page level metadata and the digital files of the scans are then submitted to BHL for ingest.
We are now in the process of preparing several other field notes and digitized specimens for our pilot scanning project and have invited our partner institutions to begin the process of uploading their field notes to the Biodiversity Heritage Library. After the materials are scanned, input into our database, and cataloged, page level metadata will be enhanced by adding tags that will include personal names, names, dates, localities, and other contextual information, and exported to BHL where the data can link to published material, and eventually to specimen data via the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). We hope you enjoy our first submission and keep checking back often for news and progress!

-Yolanda Bustos and Kelly Jensen


Filed under: Archives,Connecting Content — Archives & Special Collections @ 5:15 pm

March 15, 2012

Academy Archives contributes images to the OAC and Calisphere

The California Academy of Sciences Archives has been contributing finding aids for processed collections to the California Digital Library’s Online Archive of California (OAC). As part of this collaboration, the Archives has been exploring ways of submitting photographs to the OAC as well as Calisphere which was also developed from the California Digital Library. Calisphere is a resource dedicated to making primary sources and other archival materials available to educators and the public at large.

The California Academy of Sciences is happy to announce that it is now contributing images to both Calisphere and the OAC. When possible, our images will be linked to our finding aids on the OAC. Please visit the Alice Eastwood Papers finding aid to view photographs related to this collection.

You can also view these images in Calisphere.

Christina V. Fidler, MLIS
Digital Projects Manager


Filed under: Archives,Research — Archives & Special Collections @ 10:10 am

March 7, 2012

1906 Rixford Earthquake Photos

We recently digitized a series of photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake from our Rixford collection for our upcoming Earthquake exhibit premiere party.

We scanned the Rixford photos because images were needed for the tickets and web site for the Earthquake Premiere Party. Only nine photos were requested for those purposes, but since the images were so compelling we decided to scan the entire collection of twenty.

Downtown San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake

Gulian Pickering Rixford (1838-1930) was a major figure in early California agriculture, responsible for introducing the pistachio and Smyrna fig growing industries to the state. He served the California Academy of Sciences in many capacities, including Director of the Museum. He was the Librarian of the Academy at the time of his death in a train accident at the age of 92.

Downtown San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake

The 1906 earthquake photographs are 5×7 glass plate negatives, which present a host of scanning challenges. Fortunately we also have a set of modern contact prints that we were able to digitize instead.

Spreckels Bandshell in Golden Gate Park

Most of the photos capture the destruction of downtown San Francisco, including landmarks like the St. Francis and Fairmont hotels. However, the collection also includes images of Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and the Marina District, then home to a few frame houses and a now vanished creek.

The Marina District of San Francisco

A benefit of working with huge negatives is the wealth of detail visible in these images. One notable detail is the small military prison on Alcatraz Island, since construction of the large cell-blocks didn’t begin until 1909.

Closeup detail of military barracks on Alcatraz Island

The Academy’s G. Rixford collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, and materials related to early California agriculture.

- Kelly Jensen
Library Assistant


Filed under: Archives,Photography — Archives & Special Collections @ 3:33 pm

December 23, 2011

Philip Tompkins photographs

I just finished importing 312 Philip Tompkins images into our internal digital asset management system and I thought I would share a few of my favorites here.
South Central Utah - Lower Goblin Valley, 1950.

South Central Utah – Lower Goblin Valley, 1950.

Philip Tompkins was born in San Anselmo, California. He graduated from the University of California in 1894. An analytical chemist and chemical engineer, he was a founder of the San Francisco chemical firm of Curtis and Tompkins where he continued to work until two years before his death (on 6 December 1972 in San Anselmo, California.)

An avid photographer, he explored Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. Tompkins aided in discovering and recording the “Lost Valley of the Goblins” in Utah (1949). His article, “Goblin Valley, Recent History and Need for Protection” accompanied by many of his photographs of the area appeared in National Parks Magazine (October-December 1954).

As an expression of appreciation to the Botany Department of the California Academy of Sciences, and a memorial to Alice Eastwood, he funded the Tompkins, Tehipite Botanical Expedition of the Sierra Nevada, California. An account of this journey was published in Leaflets of Western Botany by John Thomas Howell (1958). Tompkins also assisted in the publication of A Flora of Lassen Volcanic National Park, California (1961).

Tompkins was a California Academy of Sciences member (1930) and Academy lecturer (1953 “Sections of South-Central Utah”, 1955 “Southern Utah Scenes”). His extensive collection of slides, photographs, and negatives were donated to the Academy Library (1957, 1963). (Biography by Sharon Landwehr, Archives Volunteer)

Hoover Dam Construction - 5th trip, May 1935.

Hoover Dam Construction – 5th trip, May 1935.

Utah - Arizona trip.  Rainbow Bridge & vicinity, 1933.

Utah – Arizona trip. Rainbow Bridge & vicinity, 1933.

Yellowstone National Park, July 1904.
Yellowstone National Park, July 1904.

Mt. Baker - Washington, August 1928.

Mt. Baker – Washington, August 1928.

First Death Valley trip. Tram from tunnel, March 1929.
First Death Valley trip. Tram from tunnel, March 1929.

- Danielle Castronovo
Archives & Digital Collections Librarian


Filed under: Academy History,Archives,Photography — Archives & Special Collections @ 12:33 pm

October 18, 2011

Our images are now on Encyclopedia of Life

The Academy Library’s Manzanita Image Project has over 32,000 images of plants, animals, landscapes, and people/culture photographs that are available online through the Calphotos web site. To view our images just select “Cal Academy” in the Collection box.

Calphotos recently partnered with the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) so that Calphotos images can also be featured on EOL. We are hoping that this new partnership will bring our images to a whole new audience. You can search both web sites by scientific name.

Here are some of our images that will appear on both web sites!

Tealia coriacea

Tealia coriacea

Sherry Ballard © California Academy of Sciences

frog

Hyperolius viridiflavus variabilis

Dong Lin © California Academy of Sciences

Puma concolor

Puma concolor

Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences

- Danielle Castronovo
Archives & Digital Collections Librarian


Filed under: Manzanita Image Project,Photography,Special Collections — Archives & Special Collections @ 11:49 am

September 30, 2011

Cordell Bank

The digitization of the Cordell Expeditions slide images is complete. I continue to marvel at the amazing diversity of life. It’s been quite a treat to be among the first to peer into this hidden underwater community.

Now that the digitization is finished, the images will be cataloged and made available for professional scientists and enthusiasts alike to view at anytime on the Web. Cataloging the images will be a collaborative project involving the Cordell Expedition divers and photographers, the Academy’s Invertebrate Zoology and Geology Department researchers and Academy’s Archives staff.

The Cordell Expeditions’ Director, Robert Schmieder, wrote reports that have a wealth of information about the various species observed and about the slide images.  The reports will be used to help identify the date, location, and organisms in the slides.  To help complete the picture, the Academy’s Invertebrate Zoology team will assist with the identification of various species featured in the images. Together we will create a valuable resource that can be easily accessed and searched by many different criteria through http://calphotos.berkeley.edu//

This is a lengthy and involved project and we’re pleased that we have the participation of so many dedicated individuals. We’re also very fortunate to have received generous support from the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Take a look below and you can be one of the first to see too:

Cordell Expeditions/ Rob Morris © California Academy of Sciences

Cordell Expeditions/ Ron Owen © California Academy of Sciences

Cordell Expeditions/ Don Dvorak © California Academy of Sciences

-Kristin Jeffries, Library Assistant for Archives and Digital Collections


Filed under: Archives,Photography — Archives & Special Collections @ 11:11 am

September 9, 2011

The Clary Collection: San Francisco’s 1894 Midwinter Fair

Bird’s eye view of the Midwinter Fair

Hello, my name is Hadrian Quan and I am happy to announce that our exhibit of the California Midwinter Fair (1894) is finally up in the Library Reading Room. For the past few months I have gone through the various collection pieces of this aspect of our Exhibits and Expositions Collection.

The fair was the work of M. H. de Young who sought to revitalize California’s depressed economy after the Panic of 1893.1 Hoping to follow the model of Chicago’s Columbian Exposition, de Young planned what would be the first fair of its kind in California.2
This collection was the generous donation of Donna Ewald Huggins in memory of Raymond H. Clary, a collector and historian.

Taking over 200 acres of Golden Gate Park, it was centered in what is now the park’s Music Concourse.3 Right at its heart was the Electric Tower, rising 266 feet and displaying a spotlight shining a nearly 2.5 million candlepower beam of light. Built by Leopold Bonet, one of the designers of the Columbian Exposition, he built an iron and steel edifice resembling the Eiffel Tower.4 This was one of the most striking aspects of the tower-architecturally it was rather isolated in terms of its style. The other buildings and structures of the Fair competed to be the most exotic, representing Spanish Missions, Moorish Rotundas, and Oriental Minarets.

The Japanese Village was the fair’s most popular concession, was conceived and founded by Asian art importer George Marsh. Famous for selling vases, brocades, and curios, Marsh hired Japanese workers and imported Flora and Fauna to create authenticity for his gardens. After the fair ended, the gardens were maintained by Makoto Hagiwara, who had designed the bulk of the gardens for the fair. Hired and fired multiple times due to anti-Asian sentiments, but essential to the maintenance of the gardens Hagiwara left behind two gifts to the modern world-the Japanese Tea Garden itself which stands in Golden Gate Park today, and the Fortune Cookie which he invented as a treat to go along with Tea for his customers.5
The collection itself contains many ephemera including lithographs, coins, tickets, postcards, cups and a mustache spoon. We hope that you come to visit it soon.
References
1Story of Golden Gate Park [illustrated]; Giffen, Guy and Helen; Press of Phillips and Van Orden Co.;  San Francisco; 1949
2Making of Golden Gate Park, The Early Years:1865-1906; Clary, Raymond H.; California Living Books; San Francisco; 1980
3Story of Golden Gate Park
5Making of Golden Gate Park.

Filed under: Archives,Exhibits,Special Collections — Intern @ 12:31 pm
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