The goal of the Field Book Project is to create one online location for information about field books and field research materials that document biodiversity. Through the Field Book Project blog, we will share information about our work and the work of others in the fields of biodiversity field research and library and archival science. You will find that our posts fall into one of three categories:
- Highlights of our field book collections (Collection Highlights)
- Progress updates on our project (What’s New?)
- Features on projects and issues related to field book collections and field research (Beyond the Field Book Project).
In addition to posts from our project team, our blog will frequently feature articles from guest bloggers from within the Smithsonian and from our colleagues across the country and around the world. If you or your institution has a story to share that relates to the field book project, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org about guest blogging.
Please check back next Monday, March 14 to read our first Collection Highlight on the field books of the father of the modern blueberry, Frederick Vernon Coville.
More about the Project
The Field Book Project was prompted by the reoccurring need for easier access to original source materials documenting biodiversity field research. The National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany along with the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) initiated a grant proposal to the Council of Library and Information Resources to locate and catalog field research materials at the Smithsonian and share that information with the public in a registry. Additionally, the registry was not to be a purely Smithsonian venture; the Smithsonian would act as a leader in building a community of biodiversity institutions committed to the goal of locating, cataloging, and sharing information about their field book collections with the public.
Currently, the Smithsonian houses thousands of field books, unpublished journals, notes, and images related to field research in biology, most falling into the category of “hidden” collections, or collections for which little or no documentation exists. Researchers, students, enthusiasts, and the general public are losing out on a range of rich, contextual information about the natural world for as long as these hidden collections remain unexposed. Information within these items varies greatly, but can include specimen descriptions, photographs, sketches, correspondence, maps, coordinates, air and water temperatures, elevations and sea depths, landscape descriptions, and personal reflections.
The Field Book Project is working with partners to develop a robust system for making field book content available and easy to use. We look forward to sharing our progress as we move forward and hope you’ll follow along!