Thursday, February 12, 2009

Instruments for Science, 1800-1914

This collection is created by Smithsonian Institution libraries. The project is about a large group of instrument catalogs from 1800 to 1914. And it also is a part of “Smithsonian Institution libraries Digital Collections”. Scientific trade literature is a unique and uniquely valuable category of historical evidence. The collection provided a convenient and accurate way to identify instruments. Furthermore, it provided a wealth of supplemental information about how these instruments were used, giving detailed discussions of design differences and historical development. Therefore, the collection can serve as a study resource from which students and scholars can perform original research and draw their own conclusions.

A user can easily browse the collection by Standard Company Names/ Company Name on Catalog or Types of Instruments. For example, when a user browses the collection, each object has a standard metadata element field, including Standard Company Name, Company Name, Title, Imprint, Pagination and Size, Material Type and Language, Instrument Types, Notes, Subject Area, and Digital Availability. For some objects, the collection offered both images and texts. Especially, it provided PDF printable version. However, for some objects it didn’t provided digital information.

The website also provided a searching function. A user can search by Instruments, Notes, Title and Keyword. Obviously, the collection is trying to provide more searching methods according to a user’s preference. Moreover, the interface of the site is friendly for a user, even for the first time user. “Other Smithsonian trade literature” menu gave a user more choices for exploring related websites.