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From the Stacks 

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

August 16, 2011

Ornithology & Mammalogy Department field note finding aid

We just published another finding aid to the Online Archive of California! The finding aid one is for one of our most frequently consulted collections – The Ornithology & Mammalogy Department field note collection.

The collection consists of the research field notes created and assembled by the Ornithology and Mammalogy Department. The field notes are arranged in folders by last name and are housed in 55 archival boxes. The collection spans from 1880-2010 with most decades being well represented. The collection is not a comprehensive collection of staff field notes from the Ornithology and Mammalogy department. Other field notes exist in the personal papers of some of the staff represented in this collection as well as in the Ornithology and Mammalogy department.

I recently pulled some field notes from this collections to show to our Teacher Institute on Science and Sustainability in order to show the variety of ways that people recorded scientific data and observations. Here are some scans of notes from the collection that I brought with me.

Cohen field notes

Two journal style pages from D.A. Cohen’s field notes from April 1899.

Frank Tose Elephant Tree

One illustrated page from Frank Tose’s visit to Cedros Island July 22, 1922.

Covel field notes

Section of a page from Paul Covel’s collecting book from 1926. I am familiar with most of the names in the O&M field note collection but didn’t know who Paul Covel was. Once I did some research I was delighted to find out that he was the first municipal naturalist in America and worked at the Bird Sanctuary at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA.

This is just a small sample of the field notes that are part of this amazing collection.

- Danielle Castronovo

Archives & Digital Collections Librarian


Filed under: Archives — Archives & Special Collections @ 11:18 am

July 21, 2011

Connecting Content visits NightLife

Thursday night, July 14, was the Academy’s ‘Crafty’ themed NightLife which featured an array of booths from Bizarre Bazaar selling hand-made items from local artists. The Library and Archives had a chance to discuss Connecting Content, an IMLS grant-funded project, and to talk about collection theory, both historically and within contemporary situations. Of course, our visitors were enacting their own ‘collecting’ by selecting objects and purchasing them from the Bizarre Bazaar booths, perhaps adding these objects to what could be considered a collection at home on their walls, in their drawers, or even choosing to wear them.

There were two parts of this display. First, a table was set up next to the Project Lab that displayed Ole Worm’s (1588-1654) book Museum Wormianum, showing his “cabinet of curiosities” in Copenhagen, finches from the Galapagos Islands often referred to as “Darwin’s finches,” and a photograph of the 1905-06 Academy of Science Galapagos expedition team. Visitors approached this display and were given glimpses into why these people collected their specimens, with Project Manager Daina Dickman available to provide additional information. The second part to this display was the Collections Scanning Intern Stephanie Stewart-Bailey with a desk drawer full of ‘curiosities’ on loan from the Naturalist Center. She wandered around the museum floor having conversations with visitors and playing a guessing game of “what do you think this object is?” Through this display Stephanie hoped to introduce the idea to visitors that collecting occurs first due to curiosity.

This game fostered the idea that collectors found these animals and other such specimens, curious. The second step after noticing something was curious was to draw out further knowledge from them. Stephanie then showed the visitors the table with the Library and Archives display of examples of historic natural history collections.

By participating in NightLife, the Library and Archive’s Connecting Content project was shown directly to the public, initiating participatory discussions with visitors over collection theory and how some projects at the California Academy of Sciences deal with both historic and contemporary collecting methods.

–Stephanie Stewart-Bailey


Filed under: Archives,Connecting Content,Library Events,Rare Books — Archives & Special Collections @ 2:32 pm

July 18, 2011

Connecting Content, Information Connections Research Update

Greetings from the nation’s capital! I have been working on the California Academy of Sciences Connecting Content project as the Information Connections Research Intern, based at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. I have been conducting research for the past six weeks into the information connections between archival scientific field books, digitized scientific publications, and natural history specimen collections. I’d like to introduce the nature of the research I’m doing and report on some of my findings.

Field books containing specimen data and observations, publications resulting from formalized post-expedition research, and natural history specimen collection databases comprise an information relationship with multiple points of entry. The connective thread may be followed in any number of directions depending upon how the sources are cross-referenced. For example, a specimen number (“CAS 3156”) in a CAS Collection Database could be searched in JSTOR to see if it has been cited in a publication. Assuming it has been cited, one could proceed to search the collector’s field notebooks, to see if the same specimen is recorded in the field.

Galapagos Penguins. Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences

I have discovered that beginning with the field book itself, surveying its format and contents for geographical location, dates, and presence of specimen numbers, followed by searching the relevant author or curator in JSTOR or the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) quickly narrows down whether there is a direct link between a scientific publication and an expedition field book. If such a link exists, then searching the relevant natural history specimen collection database for holdings which can be verified as the same specimens described in the original field book is the next step.

Of the different types of matches between these sources that arise through this research methodology, the three of greatest interest to the research goals of the project are the direct three-way match, the indirect three-way match, and the ambiguous possible three-way match. A direct three-way match describes an information relationship in which collected specimens are recorded with numbers in a field book, those same numbers, along with the same locations and dates, are cited in a digitized publication, and an institutional specimen collection database includes the same specimens, citing the original field book number.

To illustrate how that works, here is a selection from a yet to be digitized field book created by the 1905-06 Galápagos Expedition ornithologist, Gifford: “December 8 1905, Duncan (Pinzon) Island: Spheniscus mendiculus [1646]. I shot one in the forenoon which was swimming and diving about the little cove…”. The date, location and a specimen number are given in this primary collecting document. After a search of the BHL, a publication authored by Gifford titled The Birds of the Galapagos Islands describes the following encounter in his section on Spheniscus mendiculus, or Galápagos penguin, as having occurred on December 8 1905:

Giffords Publication

The specimen number has a prefix CAS, referring to its number in the California Academy of Sciences Ornithology Collections. One of the frequent complications in my information connections research is keeping track of individual collector numbering systems and the numbering systems of the institutions that later accession the specimens. Luckily, the collection databases at times do an excellent job of preserving the original collector specimen number along with its number in the scope of all CAS bird specimens.

CAS Ornithology Collections Screen Shot Gifford

Since Giffords’ number 1646 is traceable with geographic and location verification from the field book, to a publication, to a collection database, it represents the information relationship I have termed a direct three-way match. As you may guess, things do not often line up quite this nicely, and the indirect three-way matches, ambiguous possible matches, and nil matches are much more frequent occurrences. However, that the life of a collecting event on an expedition over 100 years ago is traceable via modern technological tools is an exciting development in the use of primary sources in the sciences, and as more of these field books are cataloged and digitized this rich connective information will be integrated smoothly into biodiversity research.

- Richard Fischer, Information Connections Research Intern


Filed under: Archives,Connecting Content — Archives & Special Collections @ 9:17 am
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