Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Jurn is a new search engine, available at which searches 1148 (as of Feb. 9, 2009) hand-picked publications, mainly in English. Focusing on the arts and humanities, many articles on preservation and history are included. It's a great search engine, returning highly relevant results. I searched very broad terms, such as sea and retrieved fascinating articles, both popular and scholarly. Specific searches, such as vessel names, also retrieved wonderful hits.

Interested in its development? Add the Jurn news blog to your feeds.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Great War archives

The Great War Archive contains over 6,500 items contributed by the general public during 2008, and continues to grow through its sister-site, the Great War Archive Flickr group. There is a wealth of maritime-related images here; just searching ship turns up pages and pages of images.

The Great War Archive is hosted by the University of Oxford, as is The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, where one can find Robert Graves' poem, "I wonder what it feels like to be drowned" (retrievable through the search ships).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wellcome Images

Wellcome Images, from the Wellcome Library collections, has some wonderful maritime imagery. Searching the term navy brings up anti-VD posters, diagrams of mortality, and even advertising images featuring sailors. The indexing & search interface works very well; searching the term star retrieves star-shaped antibodies and Christmas decorations, as well as images of the stars in the heavens.

Following the link to the Wellcome Library leads to other electronic resources such as the electronic edition of one of their most popular manuscripts, The Physician's handbook, Wellcome MS.8004, an English medical and astrological compendium from the mid-15th century.

Above: Image no. L0019401, Credit, Wellcome Library, London

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Early photography resources

The January 2009 issue of College & Research Libraries News contains a fantastic article, Uncapping the lens : the history of early photography by Ellen Bahr. (Write down the rest of the citation, since the ALA website is notorious for changing its links & the difficulty of navigating it: C&RL News, Jan. 2009, v.70, no.1, p. 32-35. This way, you can always borrow the article via interlibrary loan!)

The article contains a listing of photography sites of interest to anyone involved with any aspect of early photography--even including late 20th century photography processes. The print article is a little easier to scan than the online version; major sections include:

  • Overviews
  • Timelines
  • Overviews of photographic processes
  • Individual photographic processes
  • Materials and workshops
  • Podcasts
  • Discussion lists
  • Organizations
  • Preservation
  • Portals
  • Exhibition catalogs
  • Searchable image collections
  • Historians

Many thanks to my colleague, Keri Koehler, for passing this issue on to me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy birthday, Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin was born on this day, February 12, 1809. Of the sites celebrating this 200th anniversary of his birth, my favorites include:

I'm going to celebrate by watching Professor Richard Dawkins on Darwin.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lecture: Preserving the Free China

The Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library send along this lecture announcement:

Preserving the Free China
Saturday, February 14, 2009, 6:00 p.m. In the Maritime Library, Building E, Fort Mason Center. Donation:$5($4 Library Friends and SFMNPA) Reservations: 415-561-7040 or

San Francisco Maritime NHP’s John Muir will discuss the effort to preserve the historic Chinese junk Free China, which sailed across the Pacific to San Francisco in 1955, manned by a crew of power boat fishermen who had never sailed before.

TIA: This is the library where I work.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Our friends at Casco Bay Boaters have sent along, and are profiling, a wonderful blog, BiblioOdyssey. The images related to maritime history are few but beautiful, such as the gorgeous Book of Eclipses that Casco Bay Boaters found there.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Do you have feedback for

If you missed it, Douglas McCarthy, Picture Library Manager at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, took the time to post a comment on my post that is so thoughtful that I wanted to give it its own post. (Those of you who saw this already in the comments to the previous post can move on!) He provides his contact information, so if you have feedback on the site, please send it has such potential that it would be wonderful if the user community responds to the staff's openness for comments.

I'm delighted to hear that I was wrong about the lack of searching instructions; Douglas very kindly points out their location, under the "Help" menu, and here's a direct link.

And do check out the Help section--the picture there is fantastic. I want a pair of sunglasses like the woman in the black & white print dress is wearing.

Douglas McCarthy's post:

Hi there

Thanks for featuring our new website and for your comments - this kind of feedback is invaluable. I am the Picture Library Manager at the NMM and have developed from conception to launch over the last 14 months.

If I may respond to your points in order:

1) a "switch-off slideshow" button for slower connections is a great idea I'll investigate.

2) content: another good point made here. NMM has developed several on-line catalogues since the internet was born, featuring a variety of content presented in different ways. With, we're trying to present concisely and consistently in terms of caption length and format, for example. This takes longer (we spent 3 months editing 15,000 captions last summer!) but will be worthwhile, I feel.

3) search: this is an area we're working on and improvements will come during 2009, such as keywording. The site does offer phrase (and other flexible) searching. The 'how to' guide on this is in the 'Help' area, but I'll look at making this more prominent.

4) Google is king and likely to remain so!

We have an exciting plan of development for the site, so please keep an eye out for new collections and features this year.

Do feel free to reply here or email me ( with further comments if you wish.

Best regards

Douglas McCarthy
Picture Library Manager
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition

The new Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Digital Collection from the Seattle Public Library Special Collections is a searcher's dream.

Interested in waterfront images? In the search box, enter: waterfront
You may be puzzled by the search results--a bunch of digitized books--but select Argus, A.Y.P. ed. and you'll be taken directly to p. 51 with images entitled, "Sections of the Seattle waterfront." Yes--it searches within the digitized texts & takes you directly to the location of your search term in the retrieved item. I love that.

There are many items there of interest to the maritime and naval researcher, and it's a wonderful snapshot of the time. And the search interface makes it easy for the specialized researcher to explore.