Specimen Collecting in Unexpected Places - Field Book Project

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Tuesday, 08 January 2013


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Megan Raby

The move toward this kind of specificity is coming from increased interests in the ecological context and behavior of species in the 20th century. Turn of the 20th c. handbooks for ornithology, for example, implore collectors to observe and note habits and habitats of animals before collecting them. No longer was the specimen itself enough. In looking at Panamanian plant collections (JSTOR Plant Science), too, you see a broad shift from specimens labelled simply "Panama" or "Darien" or the name of a mountain (with no indication of elevation), to much more specific locale data. Noting roads is important habitat information (edge, recently disturbed), but also, when lat/long was unavailable, a good way to be more specific about locality.

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Field Book Project Website

The Field Book Project is an initiative to increase accessibility to field book content that documents natural history. Through ongoing partnerships within and beyond the Smithsonian Institution, the Project is making field books easier to find and available in a digital format for current research, as well as inspiring new ways of utilizing these rich information resources.
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