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

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mystic Seaport's Image Archive

On Sept. 9, 2009, our very own Kelly announced the new Collections and Research Image Archive on Mystic's excellent News from the Collections blog. I gave it a few days before checking it out--I've found that rushing to a new site on announcement day makes for slow browsing!

I like the layout of the Image Archive very much. Right at the top of the page are phone & email contacts for assistance. I do wonder a little at the title; "Collections" and "Research" images? Don't all the images in the archive come from the collections, and isn't a "research image" any image that you're using for research? (But I split hairs.)

First I followed a suggested browse topic, choosing "Signs and posters." On the next screen, I like the link to switch to a gallery view very much--for casual browsing, this is great. I can't tell you much more about gallery view, however, because even though I'm on a rather high speed connection, only 25 thumbnails loaded, with what are apparently catalog numbers interspersed among the images like so:

2004.83.1 2004.83.10 2004.83.100 2004.83.101 2004.83.102 2004.83.103 2004.83.104 2004.83.105 2004.83.106 2004.83.107 2004.83.108 2004.83.109 2004.83.11 2004.83.110 2004.83.111 2004.83.112 2004.83.113 2004.83.114 2004.83.115 2004.83.116 2004.83.117 2004.83.118 2004.83.119 2004.83.12 2004.83.120 2004.83.13 2004.83.14 2004.83.15 2004.83.16 2004.83.17 2004.83.18 2004.83.19 2004.83.2 2004.83.20 2004.83.21 2004.83.22 2004.83.23 2004.83.24 2004.83.25 2004.83.26 2004.83.27 2004.83.28 2004.83.29 2004.83.30 2004.83.31

No amount of reloading would correct the problem (at least for me today with Firefox). I suspect that you wouldn't have this problem if you waited for the previous page (non-gallery view) with the columnar display to fully load, but who waits for pages to fully load when you're interested in clicking away?

I backed up to try another category--"Bicycles?!?" Yes--a maritime museum with images of bicycles! And much, much more. The images are all extremely well cataloged with extensive descriptions. The descriptions are so thorough, that you may wish to use the "find" feature in your browser to zero in on keywords for which you were searching or browsing.

The search interface is a bit tricky, however.
This search retrieved images: "charles w. morgan"
But this search retrieved nothing: charles AND morgan
And this search retrieved yet another image not seen in the first search: charles morgan
There's no "advanced search" or search help available that I could find, so play around with the searches.

Finally, if the Mystic Seaport logo on the upper link were actually a link to Mystic's homepage, that would be lovely--if the Image Archive were my entryway to their site, as it was today, I'd like their main page to be just a click away.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the Origin of Clockwork, Perpetual Motion Devices, and the Compass

"Figure 11.—Geared Astrolabe by Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr of Isfahan, A.D. 1221-1222."--p. 98, of: On the Origin of Clockwork, Perpetual Motion Devices, and the Compass by Derek J. de Solla Price.

Originally published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1959 as Contributions from The Museum of History and Technology, Paper 6, now available at Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Godrevy Lighthouse

Recently the Guardian published another in its "Top 10s" series, Margaret Drabble's top ten literary landscapes, which includes Godfrey Lighthouse, thought to have inspired Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. Drabble's descriptions of the places are lovely--be sure to read about Godfrey Lighthouse at no. 7.

If you're interested in a little armchair travel to this beautiful spot, visit Look Around Cornwall's site and be patient--wait for the large image to load and begin playing to enjoy a lovely 360 degree panorama. (For more information on controlling the panorama, click on the little "i" icon on the lower left of the image.) And do enlarge it to full screen (the control on the far right).

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The pearl from the black dragon

"A fisherboy dived into the water and brought up a pearl from beneath the chin of a black dragon," facing page 138 in:

The Chinese Fairy Book
Editor: Wilhelm, Richard, 1873-1930
Illustrator: Hood, George Washington, 1869-1949
Translator: Martens, Frederick Herman, 1874-1932

New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company, c1921

Now available at Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Garbage Patch updates: Project Kaisei & SETI

On Monday I was delighted to see the Kaisei sailing past my window on her way home from her research voyage to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The San Jose Mercury News published an article this morning by Paul Rogers covering her return, the results of her voyage, and the next steps in testing the samples of plastics. (More information is also available on the Project Kaisei website.)

Then yesterday I heard an excellent interview with Charles Moore, who discovered the patch in 1997, on the episode Earth, a millennium hence of one of my favorite radio programs, "Are We Alone?" from the SETI Institute.

An interesting subject addressed by both the newspaper article and the interview is plastic's role in transmitting pollutants up the marine food chain--to humans. And Charles Moore's opinion of our archaeological future is also intriguing.