So, what exactly do seed and nursery catalogs tell us?
Seed catalogs themselves started to change, incorporating black-and-white photography alongside traditional, brightly-colored illustrations. The widespread availability of color film in the 1940s changed the look of catalogs yet again.
As the genetic landscape of our food continues to change, many people look to historical seed catalogs to understand what previous generations were eating, and what it means for GMOs and current agricultural practices. Seed catalogs are a treasure trove of information about heirloom vegetable varieties and organic gardening. As technology continues to evolve however, they face an uncertain future: does the Internet make printed seed catalogs obsolete?
|An example of material that computers have a hard time transcribing|
Whether the Internet means the end of printed catalogs or not, it provides some new and exciting IMLS-funded Purposeful Gaming Project. Because they are printed in unconventional formats, with many tables and abbreviations, seed catalogs make poor candidates for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This means that in order to make them searchable in BHL, individuals must transcribe their contents by hand.
opportunities to use them as part of the
Stay tuned for how you can help transcribe seed and nursery catalogs, and look for Tiltfactor’s new game after the holidays! If you’re eager to start transcribing now, check out the diaries and journals of ornithologist William Brewster. And don’t forget to browse a century’s worth of horticultural history in the BHL’s Seed and Nursery Catalogs collection.