Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zoos A Historical Perspective

Zoos A Historical Perspective
(A sample collection of Smithsonian Institution Libraries)


Alvin Hutchinson states in his introduction that this is “A collection of pamphlets and guide books published by zoos over the past century has been collected by the National Zoological Park branch of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. This online sample of these items, which includes maps, drawings and photographs of zoos from over 30 states and 40 countries, is intended to highlight the value of this resource for both zoo and cultural historians.”

As suggested it is just a sampling of the collection, but it would seem that there would have been a better collection of meta data to describe each of images. There is a wide assortment of guidebooks, pamphlets, book covers, studies, and reports. The primary data provided is the location of the zoo, the name of the document, its date, sometime the city of publication, the publisher and in some instances a caption. The following document is one one example, but the date was not documented.

Germany Carl Hagenbeck's Zoological ParkTierpark: Carl Hagenbeck (Carl Hagenbeck's Zoological Park)Hamburg: Carl Hagenbeck's Zoological Park, A brief history of Carl Hagenbeck's Zoological Park is included in an English language guide to the zoo.

The meta data poorly describes each of the documents, with no regards to cataloguing its description or unique features or its condition.

Every statement in regards to collection, care, etc constantly referred to the words in the mission statement,"I then bequeath the whole of my property...to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge..." James Smithson (1765-1829)

In my search of the web site which led me to the Smithsonian Institute’s site what I found interesting was the link to animal care and use. http://www.si.edu/about/documents/sd605.pdf
The primary audience for this might be a researcher, but so little meta data is provided that it would be necessary to visit the Smithsonian Institution Libraries for follow-up information. Possibly an animal or zoo enthusiasts would browse the site, but not for very long as there's not enough data to hold one's interst.

No comments:

Post a Comment