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:
- Collection Highlights – Overviews and stories from some of our favorite field book collections
- What’s Happening? – Updates on the project’s progress
- Beyond the Field Book Project – Guest blog posts related to field book collections and field research
- Flash! – Photographs, sketches and other visual materials culled from Flickr Commons sets
MORE ABOUT THE FIELD BOOK 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) received a grant from the Council of Library and Information Resources to develop a Registry that would become the single online location for field book content everywhere.
Currently, the Smithsonian houses thousands of field books related to field research in biology for which little or no documentation exists. 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.
We encourage our readers to leave comments. Comments might be as simple as telling us how much you liked an article or images posted. Additional information, corrections, questions, or opposing views are also very welcome.
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 contact us with what you would like to write about and when. Proposals from Smithsonian Institution staff: send to snakasones[at]si[dot]edu. All other proposals should be sent to sheffieldc[at]si[dot]edu.
Two weeks before your blog post is scheduled to go live, use the Field Book Project BLOG TEMPLATE to guide you on how to submit your text and photos by email. Note that all blog posts are due at least 5 business days before your post will go live. After submitting your post, it will be reviewed by the blog administrators before being posted. For any grammatical, formatting questions, or questions about taxon names see our guidelines below and please refer to Our Style Guide.
WHAT’S EXPECTED OF ME AFTER MY POST GOES LIVE?
The Field Book Project allows the public to submit comments (Note: No anonymous comments are allowed and spam comments are filtered). In many cases (for example, when a comment is complimentary), no response is necessary. If you receive a comment seeking additional information or contributing new information, we encourage you to respond. The Blog administrators will alert guest bloggers (non-FBP staff) of such comments. There may be a lag period between submitting your comment and having your comment display due to the comment approval process. We have a clear commenting policy on the blog and will remove any disrespectful or “off-topic,” comments for you.
WHAT’S A BLOG POST?
A blog post is a short (250-650 words), casual, and sometimes personal style of writing that offers quick insights, stories, or even questions. The Field Book Project’s blog (https://nmnh.typepad.com/fieldbooks/) focuses on various topics concerning field books and our project.
Blogs are an informal medium. Personal opinions and glimpses into “works in progress” are relevant in the blogosphere. Our audience is interested in your unique perspective and is curious about what you do and what you’re thinking about.
1. Collection Highlights, overviews and stories from some of our favorite field book collections.
Suggested questions to address:
· What field book “treasures” have you found in your work?
· What is important or interesting about this field book/collection?
· How, why, and by whom were these field books made and/or acquired?
· How do you uncover information about the field book?
2. What’s Happening?, updates on the project’s progress.
Examples: project updates and announcements; posts about conservation/preservation issues facing field books; posts about digitization of field books; behind the scenes video tours; how field book collections are managed.
Suggested questions to address:
· What kinds of field book preservation projects are underway? What has presented a challenge? How might these translate to tips for readers’ own collections?
· What is an interesting or unusual reference question you’ve answered recently about field books?
· Who is coming to SIA to do research with field books? Why? What did they find?
3. Beyond the Field Book Project, guest articles related to field book collections and field research. Could be similar to Collection Highlights or something else.
Suggested questions to address:
· Is your institution working on a field book project? What’s involved? What are your goals? End products? Processes? Challenges?
· Is there a field book collection that inspires you? Is there a person whose field books you want to write about?
· Do you have your own field notes? What might be unique about them? What has keeping your own field notes taught you about the role of field notes in research?
For good examples of blog posts, first and foremost, check out The Field Book Project Blog. For each aforementioned category, check out the following examples:
· Collection Highlights - How to Use Duck Bombs, by Lesley Parilla
· What’s Happening? - Will it Bend, by Anna Friedman
· Beyond the Field Book Project - Nicollet Project, by Charles Umbanhower
- Keep it conversational. Visitors can respond to your post by leaving a comment, so write in a way that encourages a response. Consider using a first-person voice. Since people come from different backgrounds, fill them in on the “back-story” more than you would with a research audience.
- Get to the point. Clearly state what issues or questions you are addressing and concisely summarize any appropriate context. Blogs allow for any length of post, but typically run between 250-650 words.
- *Mistakes happen. If a reader identifies an error in your post, be up-front about it and correct it quickly; make it clear that you have done so by striking through (i.e. striking through) any modified text. If you are simply adding text to better contextualize, there is no need to use strike through.
- Link to others as you would like to be linked to. When quoting any blogs or publications, include a link to online sources (use the “permalink”), cite sources for both on and offline sources, and use quotation marks or block quotes (for longer texts). It is considered “bad blog etiquette” to quote long portions of text from another blog or website. If you would like to reference large portions of someone else’s text online, simply link to the original source.
- *Confirm (and cite) your information and sources. Don’t speculate on unofficial museum issues or make announcements related to unconfirmed programming, exhibitions, or projects. Also, do not write about or quote an SI colleague without discussing it with them prior to posting. Avoid formal style academic citations: if you are quoting a publication, provide a title, creator, and date along with any links to the publication if it is online. If not online, include in a reference list below your article using APA citation style.
- *Titles. Titles should be capitalized, excluding articles and prepositions. Titles may end in punctuation (question marks, ellipses, but not periods). Subtitles may be used within the blog entry. Set these apart by making the text bold.
- *Quotes. Quotes over 40 words or 3 lines should be placed in block quotes. Use typepad’s “block quote” button to format these when possible. Formatted block quotes do not need quotation marks.
- *Taxon names. For consistency sake, include only genus and species name without author. Italicize binomials. Example: Dendroica adelaidae. If possible, hyperlink to the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) page with information on that species or other page if not on EOL.
- *Images and captions. Images should be presented within a table with hidden borders (<table style=”border: hidden;”>). Captions should appear non-italicized font within image table and include the following when applicable: [Title of image], [Date], by [Photographer/Creator], [Medium (unless photograph)], [SI Unit], [Record], [Image ID/Accession Number], [link to image if in Collections Search or other SI resource].
- Ex: Cover of journal kept by Rafinesque on his trip from Philadelphia to Kentucky, 1818. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7250, Box 1, Folder 3, Image SIA2012-6042.
- Embedded maps and other media do not need a table. Captions without a table should be italicized.
- *More considerations from our legal experts. (Any questions, please contact Office of General Counsel.) Familiarize yourself with the Smithsonian’s Social Media Policy and keep the following considerations in mind:
Do not post content that is unlawful, threatening, offensive, defamatory, invasive of another’s privacy, inappropriate, confidential or proprietary, political messages, product endorsements, or content that might otherwise violate any legal, ethical or policy restrictions;
In addition, irrelevant, off-topic or purely personal content that is unrelated to the Smithsonian and its activities should not be posted even if it is user generated;
Be sure that all content that is posted either is owned by the Smithsonian, or the Smithsonian has permission (i.e. license) to post it on this specific site (note that a license for the Smithsonian to post content on its own website may not support posting the content on third party sites), or the use falls within fair use; if you are not sure, contact the Office of General Counsel.
Each unit is responsible for checking necessary records and obtaining necessary clearances before posting content;
For content that requires prior permission to be posted (i.e. under the terms of a contract, license, or release), unit must maintain a retrievable record of its clearance process;
Provide appropriate credit to the source of the content;
Images of recognizable children under age 18 must not be posted unless the parent or guardian of such child has executed a written consent form to post the image; exceptions may be justified for non-commercial use of crowd shots in which children are present, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.
*Please use photos either owned by the Smithsonian or that you or the Smithsonian has the permission (i.e. license) to reproduce. If using a photo you found online, you are responsible for checking necessary records, obtaining necessary clearances, and maintaining appropriate documentation, before contributing it to The Field Book Project. Please contact the Office of General Counsel if you are unsure of a copyright status.
There are numerous permissions-free Smithsonian photos available for you to use on the following web sites:
Non-Smithsonian photos that can be used to illustrate posts are also available on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com). Just do an “Advanced Search” with your keyword on Flickr, making sure to scroll down to the bottom and check the box to “Only search within Creative Commons licensed content,” for photos that are legally available for use.
Blog postings may generate media coverage. If a member of the media contacts you about a Field Book Project blog post or requests information on the Field Book Project, contact Carolyn Sheffield (Sheffieldc@si.edu or 202-633-0902).