Currently viewing the category: "Joanna Rios"

Today we went through the end of Phase 1 and, unbelievably, we also made it through the end of Phase 2. How satisfying. The Photographic Print Collection is now done. Yay!

We came across this cool stereoscopic viewer which allowed us to see the slides in 3D, which included photos of Hawaii and Cambodia. Low-tech Avatar, but it really works.

This summer has been a great learning experience, and we got to see some pretty amazing stuff. Not only in processing the Photographic Print Collection, but through SAA webinars, tours of the diorama renovations and rare book rooms, and the brown bag lunch with Richard T. Fischer.

Lauren will be returning for more museum adventures this fall, but this is Joanna’s farewell. Thank you Iris, Becca, Barbara, Tom, Mai, Greg, and the rest of library staff for everything.

Our day began with a brown bag lunch with former AMNH intern, Richard T. Fischer. Richard presented his summer experience in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian’s Botany Library. He worked on the “Connecting Content: A Collaboration to Link Field Notes to Specimens and Published Literature” project as the Information Connections Research Intern. He spent the summer developing a methodology to connect the materials in the field notebooks, to publications and to specimens.

After lunch, we returned to the photographic print collection. Today we had a special guest, Iris, helping us catalog the remaining collections. We found this stunning photo, above, of Bedouin woman from Turkmenistan, taken in 1866 . Check out that headdress!

Next week our goal is to complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 for the photographic print collection. Wish us luck!

Today we started to catalog the extensive field notes collection in the Department of Mammalogy library. This valuable collection is made up of field books, specimen catalogs, species accounts, notes, correspondence, etc. Some of the works are collected in library-bound volumes; others are stored in folders in archival boxes. As we went through the collection, we learned more about what makes up a field book. They can be the journals kept during an expedition, but can also include written entries, newspaper clippings, photographs, business cards, and even footprints. We learned that they also come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are made of all sorts of different (and some very pulpy) kinds of papers. In the field notes collection, we also found other works that go beyond the narrow definition of a field book, such as photograph and lantern slide indexes from expeditions. We also found lists and lists of specimens that were donated, purchased or collected for the Museum.

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We began our day by going over a printout from Iris that analyzed the first 75 collections we had cataloged and took note of things we should continue looking out for and questioning. It was quite clear that we have become a lot more comfortable working within these collections as the weeks have gone by. In the beginning we were not as confident in making changes to labeling and previous records, but as we have become more familiar with names, places, and the content of each collection, we have a much better idea of how to make these catalog records clear and accurate.

We also came across a folder with a call number we had previously cataloged that was found in the Memorabilia Collection. Looking back on our cataloged record, we had no note of this box being separated from the rest of its call number items. This is a perfect example of dissociation – if this had not been located it may never have been processed in this collection, and very well could have been lost.

Today I cleaned up the Department of Mammalogy data collected as part of Phase One of the project. I focused on creators and/or contributors and looked up the name authority file. Who doesn’t love the Subject Added Fields? A collection of Department of Mammalogy staff photographs provided a fine opportunity to look up all those names we’ve become so familiar with (although they seem less familiar when you read the authority file name): Allen, J. A. (Joel Asaph), 1838-1921; Anderson, Sydney, 1927-; Anthony, H. E. (Harold Elmer), 1890-1970; Archbold, Richard; Brass, L. J. (Leonard J.); Carter, T. Donald (Thomas Donald), 1893-1972; Chapman, Frank M. (Frank Michler), 1864-1945; Gregory, William K. (William King), 1876-1970; Hartman, Frank Alexander, 1883-1971; Hill, John Edwards; Lang, Herbert, 1879-1957; Koopman, Karl F.; Lawrence, Marie A.; Morden, William J. (William James), 1886-1958; Musser, Guy G.; Raven, Henry Cushier, 1889-1944; Sommer, Helmut G.; Tate, G. H. H. (George Henry Hamilton), 1894-1953; Van Deusen, Hobart M.; Van Gelder, Richard George, 1928-1994. That is one “Who’s Who” of the Department of Mammalogy!

We also received a request for materials related to the Crocker Land Expedition.Haven’t heard of Crocker Land near Greenland? That’s because there is no Crocker Land.A fine mystery we learned about (for a quick read, check this out).A look at the Photographic Print collection catalog I’ve been working on gave me some clues: there are some expedition photographs, as well as prints from the two attempts to bring back the explorers.Talking with Michael, the other Mammalogy intern, we were able to find another potential source. Although neither of us had seen the name of the expedition in our Phase One work, we looked at the finding aid for the Department of Mammalogy correspondence and there it was: there is a file for Robert Peary, the expedition leader and Greenland specimen collector. Should be an interesting read.

Today, we came across yet another technology format. We found some stereo slides taken by Hobart Merritt Van Deusen of the 1959 and 1964 Archbold Expeditions. Stereo slides, much like stereographs, are slides with two side-by-side images meant to capture 3-D images. There is a stereo slide viewer in the library (with a replacement bulb!) but unfortunately, we did not have the two D batteries required to enjoy Van Deusen’s fine work.

In addition to finding many new types of formats, we continue to come across prints and documents that chart the life of the museum itself. The various halls that house the Department of Mammalogy exhibits have changed throughout the years. It is interesting to link some of the correspondence about the creation of the exhibits to the architectural plans for the exhibit halls. We have seen that throughout the years, the iconic blue whale has moved to various locations throughout the museum. The attached photo shows one incarnation. Today, we came across a special book of photographs that was given to each donor that contributed to the North American Mammal Hall. The back of the book shows how their contribution was used and gives a hint of how the museum hall was created.


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Today we surpassed the 200 mark in phase 1 of cataloging the photographic print collections! Needless to say, we’ve seen a lot of great photographs. We’ve often come across stereographic prints while cataloging, but today we found a special stereographic print album, made to look like books in the stacks. We also found one collection that included the viewing apparatus, called a folding stereoscope. Armed with the new viewer, we were eager and curious to finally take advantage and get the full stereo effect of these prints. However, upon closer inspection, we found this particular collection consisted of rat and chick embryos. Not quite something you want to see in mono or stereo if you ask us! We may have to try out the folding stereoscope on a different collection.

Today we created catalog records for some unprocessed or partially processed collections of former members of the Mammalogy Department. The collections, for the most part, are made up of the research notes, data sheets, correspondence and notes. But these collections also include all sorts of other formats: from the expected (photographs, negatives, slides and maps) to the more unexpected (glass slides, diplomas, boat flags, and audio recordings). The Karl F. Koopman papers include some unique “collections,” such as one made up of greeting cards and the more unusual one of conference nametags.

The Department of Mammalogy keeps very detailed records for all their specimens. There are catalogs organized by record number and by species, and there are also subsets containing specimen numbers from an individual expedition or for a specific animal. The records are kept in heavy bound volumes, with all the information neatly entered by hand and each record offers a great level of detail. We got a sense of the size of the collection of specimens, with the latest bound volume going beyond specimen 260,000 – and that is only in the Mammalogy Department.

We made our way to the second floor of the library with the glass tile floors. Here we found items related to the exhibits, from when to get a specimen from Yosemite to how much do the exhibit materials costs. For each animal in the North American Mammal Hall, there were files detailing the process behind creating exhibition space: from display diagrams, to the placement of the specimens.

Pictured here is one of the flags from the the papers of Sydney Anderson, a former member of the Museums Mammalogy Department. There were five flags from the Exploradora riverboat used during Museum expeditions to El Beni, Bolivia from 1963-1965. The flags represented the US Marines, Bolivia, Brazil and the National Geographic Society.

The green disc is from the Joseph Curtis Moore Papers. We were not completely sure what the discs were used for, but guessed that they were for personal recording. In this instance, the labels matched lecture notes in the collection. There was no sign of the playback machine, however.

Today was our first day with the photographic print collection. We were pleased to find how well organized and labeled the collections were. The photographs had been previously inventoried, so we already had descriptive information for many of the collections.

Overall, a majority of the prints were stored in individual sleeves and in good condition. We also found collections that had been processed by Barbara Mathé herself! We came across several collections of field photographs and we look forward to finding more.

Our favorite find of the day was a commemorative album marking the opening of the North American Mammals Exhibition Hall. As far as we can tell, the Board of Trustees sent contributors a set of prints on heavy cardstock in coffee table style display box.

Today was our first day participating in the summer semester internship program. After getting our ID cards, we made our way to the Department of Mammalogy Archive, the home of the Museum’s original library. Throughout the summer, we will be exploring the archive to inventory and record the contents of the collection. Today we worked on phase one of the project. We found some nicely processed collections containing departmental correspondence, administrative files and Richard Archbold files. The photographs from the Archbold expeditions to Arizona, Cape York and New Guinea are stored in black rolling cabinets with pull-out racks with pictures sleeved individually. The Field Notes Collection proved more challenging: what to do with them and how will they be entered: as one record or broken down by expedition? We also found some unprocessed collections: B. Elizatbeth “Betty” Horner papers and the Marie Lawrence papers. Most of the collections we encountered were well organized allowing us to get familiar with the working conditions and the cataloging worksheet. At the end of the day, we had a chance to look around the rest of the archive and brace ourselves for the upcoming challenges.

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