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November 11, 2014

More than 500 digitized field books now available!

Field Book Project is pleased to announce that we now have more than 500 digitized field books available on Smithsonian's Collections Search Center, and more than 100 field books on Biodiversity Heritage Library.

This work and our continuing efforts are made possible through the ongoing collaboration of staff at Smithsonian Institution Archives, Smithsonian Libraries, National Museum of Natural History, and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.

November 3, 2014

We're excited to announce our latest Flickr set, images from the field work of Watson Perrygo in Haiti, 1928-1929.   

Watson M. Perrygo (1906-1984) was a field collector, taxidermist, and exhibits specialist for the United States National Museum (USNM). During his career at the Museum he traveled extensively and conducted field work with several notable scientists, including Alexander Wetmore and Remington Kellogg. In 1928 to 1929, Perrygo traveled and collected specimens with W. M. Poole in Haiti. Photographs in this Flickr set were selected from Perrygo’s personal papers to demonstrate the range of natural history and local communities he observed and documented.

September 22, 2014

We’re excited to announce our latest Flickr set from the field work of Charles D. Walcott, the fourth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and perhaps best known for his discovery of the Burgess Shale fossils in Canada.

Walcott was unique in the way he utilized photography in his field work. He not only used photos to document his finds, but eventually used them to choose field sites. Images in this set provide a unique overlap of his field note format choices (text, photograph, sketch) for specific sites.

September 8, 2014

More Field Books come to Biodiversity Heritage Library!

We are excited to announce that more field books cataloged and digitized as part of the Field Book Project are being added to BHL. This week we encourage you to take a look at field notes from William Healey Dall and Ellsworth Killip. New field books will be added weekly throughout September, so we encourage you to check in and see what’s new!

To see all the field books contributed by the Field Book Project see the link below.

September 4, 2014

Field Book Project welcomes new staff members

We are pleased to welcome two new members to the Field Book Project team: Julia Blase, Field Book Project Manager, and Andrea Hall, Project conservator.

June 12, 2014

Field Book Project records are now available through Biodiversity Heritage Library!

The Field Book Project is pleased to announce that nine of the Smithsonian field books that we’ve cataloged and imaged are now available through the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) portal! The nine field books chosen as the first testbed set for ingest into BHL include item records and page scans for seven diaries created by David Crockett Graham and two photo albums from the Harriman Alaska Expedition (1899) from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.  


May 20, 2014

New Flickr Set!

Our latest Flickr set was selected from the field notes of Martin Humphrey Moynihan who studied behavioral evolutionary biology and was the first Director of Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  The images illustrate how photography and drawing can be used to record observations in the field, and how the method of recording affects the information imparted.


October 2013

New Flickr Set!

The Field Book Project has launched a new Flickr set, inspired field photographs of Sand and Johnson Island from cataloged from Record Unit 000245, Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program (POBSP), 1961-1973.

Many of the images document the LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation) tower station that was at Johnston Atoll; several are taken from various vantage points.  These images demonstrate some of the heights scientific collectors are willing to go for their field work. 

September 2013

New Records and Digitized Field Books Available Online!

The Field Book Project is pleased to announce our latest update to catalog records and digitized field books currently available on Smithsonian’s centralized catalog Collection Search Center.  This update includes new field book records, expanded abstracts for existing authority files, as well as 130 newly digitized field books. 

To expedite researcher’s use of these records, Field Book Project has also created a list of search tips for navigating Smithsonian Collection Search Center.  To learn more, please visit our new FAQ page.

August 2013

New Flickr Set!

Check out the first new Flickr set for 2013. Images document the development of pelagic birds studied during the 1960's in the Pacific.

December 19, 2012

Thousands of Field Book Records Now Online!

The Field Book Project is pleased to announce the addition of over 6,679 detailed catalog records describing field books from 542 Smithsonian collections to the Smithsonian’s centralized catalog Collection Search Center: The launch of Smithsonian field book content represents the first time that the thousands of catalog records produced by the Field Book Project have been made publicly available.  

Navigate between the collection descriptions and detailed information about each item in that collection. Learn more about the persons, organizations, and expeditions involved in the creation of field books through our 927 authority files providing biographical and historical details, as well as connections to other field book creators.  View field books from both the Smithsonian Institution Archives and the National Museum of Natural History, and use the tagging feature to add tags to your favorite field books.

The Field Book Project is cataloging, conserving, and digitally imaging Smithsonian field books to make them available for research and inquiry.  The Project’s goal is to extend its cataloging practices and tools to include field book content from other museums and research centers throughout the country and eventually around the world.

Press Release


December 04, 2012

New Flickr Set!

Fourth and final (for now) in our series of flickr sets consisting of images from our Blog. Like our third set of blog images, this fourth set features exciting images from our 2011 blog posts. Enjoy the images; rediscover the articles!


October 26, 2012

New Flickr Set!

We know you love our blog images and our Flickr sets, so what would be better than to combine the two? Nothing! Check out the first of a series of Flickr sets that feature images from various blog posts from 2011 and 2012.


October 24, 2012

Field Books as Primary Resources at MARAC

(Richmond, VA, Friday, October 26, 2012. 2:15pm - 3:45pm)

Sonoe Nakasone (Field Book Project), Ellen Alers (Smithsonian Institution Archives), and Gina Rappaport (National Anthropological Archives) will discuss various aspects of field notes as primary source materials at the Fall 2012 Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) this week in Richmond, VA. Information about the Fall conference is found at


October 23, 2012

Interview with Co-PI of the Field Book Project, Rusty Russell in BioScience

Myrna E. Watanabe profiles the Field Book Project and other initiatives to make field books and thier content more accessible in her article Breathing Life into Dusty Museum Archives.

PDF version


October 01, 2012

Botanical Society of Washington

Tuesday, October 2nd 7:00 PM : Carolyn Sheffield, Project Manager of the Field Book Project, will be discussing the project and some of its highlights. The meeting will take place in the Cathy Kerby Room (Room CE-340), Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, 10th St. and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC. Contact Robin Everly (everlyr[at]si[dot]edu) by Monday, October 1st to arrange for a badge.



September 24, 2012

New Flickr Set!

We know you love our blog images and our Flickr sets, so what would be better than to combine the two? Nothing! Check out the first of a series of Flickr sets that feature images from various blog posts from 2011 and 2012.


September 21, 2012

Smithsonian Teachers' Night

Join the Field Book Project and other Smithsonian units for the annual Smithsonian Teacher's Night. The Field Book Project will hand out book marks and new, specially made education post cards. We will also debut a revised version of the "Create Your Own Field Books Lesson Plan and Activity" and a brand new activity about sketches. To register, click here or visit the Teachers' Night webpage.

When:Friday, September 28, 2012

Where: Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kogord Courtyard.


September 10, 2012

6000 and Counting!

The Field Book Project has cataloged 6000 records. Carolyn Sheffield writes about reaching this major project milestone in her article "6,000 and Counting!" on the Field Book Project Blog.


Field Book Project at the Smithsonian Digitization Fair

Carolyn Sheffield, Field Book Project Manager, presents on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 as part of the "Mostly Metadata" panel with Joseph DePasquale (SAO) and Kara Lewis (NMAI). The presenation will take place at the 2012 Digitization Fair. The panel will speak from 3PM-4PM. This even is open to all Smithsonian, employees, interns, contractors, and volunteers.



August 17, 2012

Fantastic Milestone!

Department of Entomology field book cataloging is complete. A total of 44 field books from the collections of August Busck, Edward A. Chapin, and Harrison G. Dyar have been cataloged. Dyar's important series of "blue books" are currently being treated for conservation issues, after which they will be digitized by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. An upcoming blog post (August 22nd) by The Center for Conservation intern Blair Bailey will discuss Dyar, the "blue books," and conservation treatment for these books.


August 11, 2012

EAC and Field Book Project Discussed at SAA

August 11, 2012, 8:00 to 9:30 AM

Tammy Peters, Supervisory Archivist (Smithsonian Institution Archives) and Field Book Project advisor, will Chair the Solving Our Problem with Authority and Sharing: Current Developments and Prospects at the Society of American Archivists conference in New Orleans, during which she will give a brief update on the Field Book Project's work with EAC. Speakers for this session:Ray Larson, Daniel Pitti, and Jerry Simmons.


June 29, 2012

Join Us on the Mall

The Field Book Project team will be on the National Mall as part of the Smithsonian Council of Scholars (SCOS) Research Tent at the Folklife Festival. We'll be talking about the project and sharing images of field book.  Participate in our quiz for a chance to win your very own pocksized field notebook (limited supply).  Monday, July 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hope to see you there!

The Field Book Project and YES!

Tuesday, June 26th, the Field Book Project welcomed 25 students from the Smithsonian YES! (Youth Engagement through Science) summer program into the National Museum of Natural History Main Library stacks to view field books from the Department of Botany. Students explored nine original field books created between 1897 and 1946, each field book highlighting different aspects of note taking. During their internships, YES students will create their own field notes while working with Smithsonian scientists. Forensic Anthropology Lab Educator Nicole Webster was charged with developing the students’ field book curriculum and the yellow notebooks seen in the photo above. Webster has agreed to blog for the Field Book Project at the end of the summer, so please check back for more about field notes from the YES! students.


June 20, 2012

New! André Goeldi Grasses Flickr Set

15 haunting images of grasses from André Goeldi's field notes.


June 19, 2012

Fantastic Milestones

This month the Field Book Project hit two important milestones: 1) complete cataloging of the Department of Botany Field Books, totally over 1,000 field books, and 2) the 5000th item level record. The Field Book Project, in its grant to our funders the Council of Library and Information Science, initially estimated the existance of 6000 field books at the Smithsonian Institution. Read more about these fantastic milestones on our blog:

Trends in collecting: celebrating 5000 records

Botany Round-Up



April 09, 2012

The Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) received a grant of $22,000 from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee (SWC). The award will fund two graduate paper conservation interns and two digitization interns who will work during summer 2012 to conserve and digitize original 19th and early 20th century scientific field expedition notebooks located at the Archives and in the National Museum of Natural History. This funding marks an important milestone for the Field Book Project.

SWC Grants Committee Chair Pat Fiske recently announced funding for 18 grants, totaling $367,898, supporting a broad range of projects and activities within the Smithsonian Institution.  Net proceeds from the Smithsonian Craft Show, along with earnings from the fall Craft2Wear event, provides the funding for these initiatives through the SWC’s annual grants program.  The 30th Anniversary Smithsonian Craft Show, which will help fund the 2013 grant cycle, takes place April 19 – April 22, 2012 at the National Building Museum.



March 27, 2012

New! Mary Agnes Chase Flickr Set

In honor of Women's History Month, the Field Book Project launched a new Flickr Set featuring images from two collections of field books by Mary Agnes Chase. See the set here:


March 19, 2012

Former Intern Blogs about Her Field Book Project Experience

Former intern Cherie Edmonds writes for the University of Michigan Alternative Spring Break blog about her experiences as a digitization and metadata intern for the Field Book Project. Alternative Spring Break students spend one week working on library, archives, and other information science projects all over the country. Read about Cherie's Alternative Spring Break here:


March 06, 2012

Women's History Month on the Field Book Project Blog

The Field Book Project will feature several articles this month related to the field notes of female scientists, culminating in the launch of a new flickr set later this month. Lesley Parilla kicks off Women's History Month with Women in Science, in the Field. Also, be sure to visit the Smithsonian Institution Archives blog The Bigger Picture for more posts on women in the field of science at the Smithsonian.


January 05, 2012

New Staff Member and Intern Join the Project

Former Field Book Project intern, Emily Hunter, joins the Field Book Project team this month as a full time Cataloger. Emily holds an MLS from the University of Maryland's iSchool and worked on the extensive Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program collection during her internship. Welcome back, Emily!

Winter intern Ana Tkabladze will be assisting us with imaging field books from the Department of Botany. Ana comes to us from the University of Mary Washington where she is studying Classical Archaeology and Museum Studies. The National Museum of Natural History has provided access to a Zeutschel cradled scanner and the Smithsonian Institution Archives has generously provided training and support for Ana's work this winter. Welcome, Ana!


November 09, 2011

Yelling Across the Divide: New Contexts for Using Library, Archival, and Museum Collections

Museum Computer Network (MCN) 2011 Conference, Atlanta, Georgia Saturday 19, 2011, 10AM-12:30PM

Presented by Carolyn Sheffield (Project Manager on the Smithsonian Field Book Project), Danielle Castronovo (Archives & Digital Collections Librarian, California Academy of Sciences), and Rebecca Morin (User Services Librarian, California Academy of Sciences.

This presentation discusses the separate, yet intersecting efforts of the Field Book Project, the Bioheritage Diversity Library (BHL), and California Academy of Academy of Sciences).


November 02, 2011

Archives Fair Presentation Slides

Download pdf of the Field Book Project slide presenation from Smithsonian Archives Fair 2011. These slides are free to use for educational purposes if a credit to the creator is provided. If posted elsewhere, these slides must be credited and cannot be altered.


November 01, 2011

Plant Press

Field Book Project in Plant Press, Vol. 14, issue 4, pages 8-9

An article by Project Manager Carolyn Sheffield was recently featured in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Department of Botany publication, Plant Press. Sheffield's article discusses the reasons for and benefits of the recent move of field books from the Botany Library to the Main Library at NMNH.


October 12, 2011

Field Book Project sets New Orleans on Fire: ASIS&T and TDWG Presentations

ASIS&T 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, Louisiana, October 9-12, 2011

Carolyn Sheffield, Project Manager on the Field Book Project, will be participating in a panel session on blogging at the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) conference on October 9.  This panel includes Grace Constantino from BHL and Robert Cox, developer of UMass' Catablog.  On October 10, Sheffield presented a poster on the cataloging structure for the Field Book Project.  

TDWG 2011 Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana, October 16-21, 2011

Rusty Russell, Principal Investigator on the Field Book Project,  is serving as Program Chair for the TDWG 2011 conference.  The conference theme is "Digitization Methods, Technologies, and Standards for Biodiversity Collections" and there will be a lot of great ideas on how to make collections, like the field books, more accessible in digital environments.  We're especially excited that Mark Leggott, President and CEO of Discovery Garden, will be demoing the Islandora repository along with the Field Book Registry implementation in Islandora. Carolyn Sheffield will be presenting a poster on the Field Book Project. Rusty Russell will be delivering a lightning talk on the Connecting Content project based at the California Academy of Sciences. 


October 04, 2011

Upcoming Events for October

2011 Archives Fair
October 14, 2011, 10AM-5:30PM, Ripley Center (FREE)

Interested in learning how to protect your personal archival documents or learning more about archival activities at the Smithsonian? The Smithsonian Archives Fair will feature an all day lecture series and professional conservators offering advice to the public.

Capturing Nature, Lecture by Michael Canfield
October 18, 2011, 8PM-8PM, Ripley Center
($15 members, $20 non-members)

Canfield will lecture on field books, which are the topic of his latest publication, Field Notes on Science and Nature. Canfield's lecture is accompanied by highlights of Smithsonian field books presented by the Field Book Project.  Capturing Nature is sponsored by Smithsonian Resident Associate Program.

Smithsonian Teacher's Night
October 21, 2011, 7PM-9:30PM,
National Museum of the American Indian
(FREE; registration)

Find classroom-ready resources, demonstrations of school programs and materials at the Smithsonian's annual education expo.

Space is limited; please do not bring children or other guests to this special night for educators. Registration required.


October 03, 2011

Archives Month on the Field Book Project Blog

October is Archives Month on the Field Book Project Blog and on several blogs across the Smithsonian. Visit this page to learn more about other blogs participating in the month long Blog-A-Thon and events taking place at the Archives Fair on October 14, 2011:

2,000 + Items!

Last week the Field Book Project cataloged its 2,000th item. The field book was a banding memo book from the Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program taken on Palmyra Island in November 1966.


September 13, 2011 Features Paleontology Lantern Slides

paleontology lantern slide


Images from the Field Book Project's lantern slide flickr set are featured on the Science Section of  Many thanks to our summer intern Jenny Mathias for curating this fabulous set!

Learn more about what these images can tell us about paleontology work here:


July 11, 2011

The big 1000!

The Field Book Project hit an exciting milestone Friday by cataloging 1000 items thanks to the contributions of our staff catalogers and summer interns.

The 1000th item cataloged is a diary of Caleb Burwell Rowan Kennerly (1829-1861), a surgeon and naturalist on several expeditions between 1853 and 1861.  The diary describes his participation during January - December 1859 in the Northwest Boundary Survey (1857-1861).  The Survey was a joint project of American and British personnel to document the boundary between American and Canadian territory.  Kennerly, sadly, would pass away during the return voyage in 1861.  Specimens gathered by Kennerly can be found in the Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes.  The notebook is one of several documenting his observations during the trip.  This one is a daily memorandum book; the majority of information recorded focuses on the route and locations visited during the Survey across parts of Washington, including the Columbia River, Puget Sound, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Additional details cover activities including shipments of specimens, correspondence and their topics, challenges in travel due to adverse weather, activities and names of survey participants, and meetings with local inhabitants. 

For more information about Caleb Burwell Rowan Kennerly and his work, visit the Department of Vertebrate Zoology Division of Fishes website on Secretary Baird and Ichthyology at the Smithsonian 1850-1900.


June 28, 2011

Join the Field Book Project for two exciting, upcoming events!

July 6, 2011 11AM-2PM: Smithsonian staff, visit the Field Book Project table at the Smithsonian staff wide picnic to learn more about our project. We'll be handing out bookmarks with four unique designs reflecting our project's activities and mission.

October 18, 6:45PM-8:30PM, Ripley Center: Join author Michael Canfield and members of the Field Book Project for the event "Capturing Nature". Canfield will discuss his new book, Field Notes on Science and Nature (Harvard University Press), which examines 12 examples of field notes. The book discussion is followed by Q&A and book signing with the author. Carolyn Sheffield, Project Manager on the Field Book Project, and Tammy Peters, Supervisory Archivist at Smithsonian Archives, will give a brief presentation about the project and share examples of field books from the Smithsonian. Click here for more information on admission prices.

June 27, 2011

This Summer, the Field Book Project is hosting two cataloging interns and one intern for our sister project, Connecting Content.

Jenny Mathias and Emily Hunter began in early June and will continue until early August. During their internships, they will catalog field books and other field research materials from the Smithsonian Archives and the Department of Botany. Jenny and Emily will also contribute to the Field Book Project blog and will each curate their own Flickr set in Flickr Commons.

Jenny is a graduate student at Pratt Institute's School of Library and Information Science in New York. Emily recently graduated from University of Maryland's Master of Library Science program.

Richard Fischer is an intern for the Field Book Project's sister grant Connecting Content, for which the California Academy of Sciences serves as Principal Investigator. Richard will be studying the relationships between field books, specimens, and publications about specimens in order to uncover more about how these resources are connected. Richard recently graduated from the Queen's College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.

Welcome Jenny, Emily, and Richard!

June 1, 2011

The Field Book Project is highlighted on

May 31, 2011

Rusty Russell, Principal Investigator on the Field Book Project and Collections Manager at the Department of Botany, NMNH,  presented on the Field Book Project at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) in San Francisco.  View slides from the presentation here:

Download TheFieldBookProject_SPNHC2011


April 18, 2011

Field Book Project on Flickr! Today we launched our first set of images on Flickr's The Commons. Please check out these beautiful, black and white photos on Flickr:

We also blog about our Flickr set and the Smithsonian Institution's success with Flickr on our blog:


April 1, 2011

The Field Book Project metadata approach has been published in LIBREAS.Library Ideas, an open access electronic journal focused on library and information science topics. Read the full article here:


March 16, 2011

The Launch of the Field Book Project Blog on 9 March 2011 has been successful, with well over 700 page views in less than a week!

Our blog offers the public a glimpse at Smithsonian field book collections, updates on the project, and special features by guest bloggers from the Smithsonian and other institutions nationwide and worldwide. If you haven't already checked out the blog, you can view it here:


February 2011

University of Michigan Alternative Spring Break intern, Vamshi Polam, will be joining us starting February 28th for a week long internship. Vamshi will help the Field Book Project establish a web 2.0 presence on Flickr. Existing images and new images created during Vamshi's internship will be added to both Collections Search and Flickr Commoms. Public users will be able to tag and comment on photographs. Welcome Vamshi!


January 2011

Lesley Parilla was hired January 10th as the Field Book Project's first Cataloger. Lesley holds an MLS from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, with a certificate in Special Collections and Archives.  She first came to the Smithsonian through the Entomology Department where she worked in a variety of capacities, including creating finding aids for field books and oral histories. Welcome Lesley!


October 2010

Plant Press (pg. 7)


September 2010


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