Ernst Mayr Library

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE ILLUSTRATIONS? by Ari Rehbein, NDSR Resident, Missouri Botanical Garden


My project at the Missouri Botanical Garden focuses on access to illustrations in BHL’s corpus of biodiversity literature. I’ve dipped my toes into the related areas of interface design for digital special collections exhibitions, digital humanities, metadata, social media outreach, and rare books in the course of my studies and work. The possibility for engagement and exploration of cultural heritage in the digital environment is infinitely exhilarating.

Transcription Tools: a survey by Katie Mika, NDSR Resident

Field notebooks and diaries have historically been retained by natural history institutions as reference files for museum specimen and associated collecting events. More recently, however, researchers have begun to uncover vast historical data sets as part of their scholarship in scientific taxonomy, species distribution and occurrences, climate change studies, and history of science. Field notebooks contain significant information related to scientific discovery and are rich sources for data that describes biodiversity across space and time.

MCZ Archives Collection Chosen for Harvard University Library's Colonial North American Project

The Ernst Mayr Library's Collection of Historical Manuscripts has been chosen to be included in the Colonial North American Project, a multi-year Harvard University Library project "funded by Arcadia to survey, process/catalog, conserve, digitize," and make accessible "all known archival and manuscript materials in the Harvard Library that relate to 17th and 18th century North America."  Our collection includes papers of Charles Darwin, Thomas Say, Henry David …

Notes from William Brewster: Trials in Wildlife Photography

This post is part of a series on the collection of ornithologist William Brewster (1851-1919) at the Ernst Mayr Library, written by Elizabeth Meyer, Library Project Assistant.

In the mid-1890s, Brewster’s journals increasingly reference using new methods of data collection. Though he continued to collect specimens on a smaller scale, with focus shifted from birds to their nests and eggs, his journals show that he began to use his gun more for securing dinner than for data collection. He started to bring field glasses (binoculars) and a boxy Kodak camera on his excursions.

Setting up photographs in the field was challenging. Sometimes a bit of prep work helped, such as thinning the foliage in backcountry areas: “I spent the day ashore taking a walk through the wood road in the forenoon with camera & hatchet selecting & cutting out spots for photographing later.” (Sunshine, Deer Island, Maine. June 26, 1896.)

Opportunistic shots of live animals were even trickier, but once in a while he managed to get some good shots. 


Sepia-toned photo of a porcupine on a tree branch.