OA Week 2012: For Your Repository Viewing Pleasure–Letters from the Smithsonian Digital Repository

To celebrate Open Access Week 2012 Oct. 21-28 DuraSpace will post a new "For Your Repository Viewing Pleasure" each day (and beyond) to highlight the "splendid stuff in YOUR repository".

Most of the items collected in the Smithsonian Digital Repository, a component of Smithsonian Research Online managed by the SI Libraries, are written by and for scholars. These publications can be quite technical, dense and specific to a particular field and its experts. However there is one collection of digital material that is both scholarly in nature but also easily read and understood by non-experts. The monthly, Letter from the Desk of David Challinor was produced between 1989 and 2008 and includes over 200 well-written, interesting pieces on a variety of topics such as forestry, evolution, animal behavior, anthropology and the history of natural science. What's best is that these 2-3 page essays, although authoritative, are written at a level which can be understood by most high school students.

Dr. David Challinor was a former assistant secretary of the Smithsonian but spent his later years at the National Zoological Park where among other things, he wrote his monthly Letter. It was distributed in print to a variety of people, mostly friends and associates of the Institution. Later in his life he distributed the Letter electronically via email to the same group. It is interesting to note that he continued to write until just before he passed away in March 2008.

You can search the full text of Dr. Challinor's letters here: http://si-pddr.si.edu/dspace/handle/10088/1074.

This information was contributed by Alvin Hutchinson, Scholarly Communication and IT Services Librarian at Smithsonian Libraries, from a blog post he wrote in 2009.

Please continue to send descriptions of the "Splendid Stuff" that can be found in YOUR Open Access repository. DuraSpace will highlight availability in the "For Your Repository Viewing Pleasure" series this week and throughout year. Please contact Carol Minton Morris cmmorris@duraspace.org for more information.

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