I'd like to share a quick preview of a poster that will be presented at this year's annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A glimpse of F.C. Whitmore, Jr.,'s fieldnotes from his trip to the Galapagos Islands, describing cricetid rodent bones that he collected. These specimens were published by Steadman and Ray, 1982. (Smithsonian Institution Archives RU01-245, SIA 2012-12140 through 12150).
Here at the museum, we have an initiative called The Field Book Project. The basic idea behind centers one of the most important, yet under-appreciated aspects of doing natural history: taking notes of what you see, do, and collect while out in the field. Fieldnotes form the underlying legacy that tell researchers the "where, when and how" behind specimens sitting in a museum drawer. But they're rarely archived, indexed and curated. The Field Book Project, which is partnered with Smithsonian Archives, aims to remedy this problem in a big way by revealing the unknown histories, datasets and stories written in generations of field books. Check out the Flickr stream for more.
Sonoe Nakasone, the cataloging coordinator for the project, will be presenting a poster at SVP describing more about how this works. As a case study, we decided to look at the fieldnotes of Frank C. Whitmore, Jr., a founding member of SVP who passed away earlier this year. If you're coming to SVP, stop by the poster to find out more about Frank's work in South America!
Frank in Peru, studying the skull and mandibles of a fossil baleen whale, likely from the Pisco Formation. Specimen and location unknown. (Smithsonian Institution Archives RU01-245, SIA 2012-12140 through 12150).