“The Smithsonian Libraries today launched three courses of selected content on iTunes U that focus on topics in early aviation and space history. This release increases exposure of Libraries material and is an innovative way to reach new audiences. iTunes U is a dedicated area within iTunes that gives users public access to hundreds of thousands of free lectures, videos books, podcasts and courses from learning institutions all over the world. With the iTunes U app, users can download content directly onto their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.” (via Smithsonian Libraries Blog)
“With most of its 137 million objects kept behind the scenes or in a faraway museum, the Smithsonian Institution is launching a new 3D scanning and printing initiative to make more of its massive collection accessible to schools, researchers and the public worldwide. A small team has begun creating 3D models of some key objects that represent the breadth of the collection at the world’s largest museum complex. Some of the first 3D scans include the Wright brothers’ first airplane, Amelia Earhart’s flight suit, casts of President Abraham Lincoln’s face during the Civil War and a Revolutionary War gunboat. Less familiar objects include a former slave’s horn, a missionary’s gun from the 1800s and a woolly mammoth fossil from the Ice Age. They are pieces of history some people may hear about but rarely see or touch.” (via The Associated Press)
“The Smithsonian Institution released a free 77-page e-book Tuesday concerning one of the institution’s top priorities: digitizing 14 million objects in its massive collections. In “Best of Both Worlds: Museums, Libraries, and Archives in a Digital Age,” G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian, writes that digitization, or the process of translating images and data into digital formats, is necessary for the Smithsonian to maintain its national and international footprint.” (via Washington Post)
“Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a leading publisher of research and reference resources for libraries, schools and businesses, today announced the availability of Air & Space and Smithsonian Magazine Archive, the first resource in the line of Gale – Smithsonian Institution collections. Launched as part of a partnership agreement announced earlier this year, the new archive will include the complete back files of both magazines as well as Gale’s advanced research tools, and will support cross-curricular and interdisciplinary studies in schools and in academic spaces.” (via Cengage Learning)
“The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) has welcomed a new member: the Library of Congress. The fifteenth partner of the BHL, the Library of Congress will contribute to the digitization of historical science literature in the collection. All material will be online, free and available to the public. “The Biodiversity Heritage Library is the preeminent global repository for historic science literature,” said Martin Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Libraries Associate Director for Digital Services and BHL Program Director. “We are excited that the Library of Congress has joined us in this effort, which is a vast information center providing resources to researchers, students and the general public interested in biodiversity.” (via Smithsonian Libraries Blog)
“The Smithsonian Institution will join with the Digital Public Library of America to provide links to a wealth of the Institution’s cultural and scientific content. The DPLA pilot project, which combines and centralizes links to the collections of participating cultural institutions, launches April 18 in Boston. The Smithsonian will serve as a digital content hub within the DPLA network, which provides links to the Smithsonian’s digital collection of books, journals, museum objects, manuscripts and videos. Through the DPLA, the Smithsonian Libraries will collaborate with renowned libraries, universities, archives and museums to reach a wide national audience.(via Digital Public Library of America)
Cengage Learning Launches Partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to Bring Smithsonian Treasures into the Library and Academic Space
“Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a leading publisher of research and reference resources for libraries, schools and businesses, and the Smithsonian Institution today announced a licensing agreement to distribute Smithsonian assets into the library and academic space. “We’re elated to be working with the Smithsonian Institution,” said Frank Menchaca, executive vice president, research solutions for Cengage Learning. “This agreement puts us closer to our goal of becoming the largest humanities research experience for the academic library. Through our extensive distribution channels throughout the world, in classrooms as well as in libraries, we’ll put into the hands of students, teachers and researchers, a universe of materials that is structured for research in a way never before possible.”
via Cengage Learning
What Happened to the National Zoological Park Library, or How a New Model of Librarianship Came to the Smithsonian Libraries
“The end of an era has come to the Smithsonian Libraries and a new one begins! The current model of a library, with a physical location, books and journals on the shelves and a librarian to manage it all is so 2011. A hip, new model of a ‘ librarian-as-reference-resource-person-embedded-in-research-department’ has come for the National Zoological Park/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in 2012!”
AP – “If you’ve ever wondered what type of tree was nearby but didn’t have a guide book, a new smartphone app allows users with no formal training to satisfy their curiosity and contribute to science at the same time. The Leafsnap app on display on an iPhone along with tree leaf specimens.
Scientists have developed the first mobile app to identify plants by simply photographing a leaf. The free iPhone and iPad app, called Leafsnap, instantly searches a growing library of leaf images amassed by the Smithsonian Institution. In seconds, it returns a likely species name, high-resolution photographs and information on the tree’s flowers, fruit, seeds and bark.”
Smithsonian Libraries Blog – “The Libraries, in a continuing partnership with Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, has converted select publications from the Smithsonian Contributions and Studies Series to digital formats for use on Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers.
The new electronic formats will bring unprecedented access to a vast research collection. These scholarly publications are offered at no cost, without taking up valuable physical space or facing the threat of becoming out of print.”