More volumes from the Wilson Ornithological Society are now on BHL! Spanning back to 1893, the publications The Wilson Bulletin and The Wilson Journal of Ornithology are a great example of the kind of legacy literature that distinguishes BHL.
The Wilson Ornithological Society is the second largest ornithological society in North America. The organization of professional scientists and dedicated amateurs is named for Alexander Wilson, known as the “Father of American Ornithology”.
The Wilson Journal of Ornithology is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal that replaces its predecessor, The Wilson Bulletin. BHL had previously added some earlier public domain volumes of The Wilson Bulletin (contributed in BHL by the American Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Libraries), but was able to expand the collection thanks to the Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature (EABL) project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Wilson Ornithological Society granted permission to share these titles on BHL with a 5-year embargo on the most recently published volumes, so that now BHL has The Bulletin from 1894-2005 and The Journal from 2006-2010.
The story of the Wilson Ornithological Society begins in 1886 with the ‘Young Ornithologists Association’ founded by L. O. Pindar and J. B. Richards. This group changed names several times, morphing into the Wilson Ornithological Chapter of the Agassiz Association in 1888, to the Wilson Ornithological Club, and eventually the Wilson Ornithological Society (WOS) in 1955. The first five volumes published by the evolving group went by several different titles, all of which are available on BHL (added prior to EABL). They are:
- The Ornithologists’ and oologists’ semi-annual (v. 1-2 and 3.1, 1889-1891, contributed by Smithsonian Libraries)
- The Wilson quarterly (v. 4, 1892, contributed by the American Museum of Natural History)
- The journal of the Wilson Ornithological Chapter of the Agassiz Association (5th volume in WOS series, 1893, contributed by Smithsonian Libraries)
The Wilson Ornithological Society is headquartered at the University of Michigan, where it established the Josselyn Van Tyne Memorial Library in association with the University’s Bird Division Library.
The Wilson Bulletin and the The Wilson Journal of Ornithology were digitized for BHL as a group effort, with digitized volumes contributed by the Ernst Mayr Library of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, the American Museum of Natural History, and The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
For a look at digitization behind the scenes, here’s the view from my desk as I work in the Ernst Mayr Library at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology:
These bound volumes (51-122) were pulled from the shelf at the Mayr Library and checked page by page to make sure each was in good condition for scanning: no pages missing or out of order, no extensive damage, and margins wide enough for scanning to capture all of the text. (This is what I do when I’m not writing blog posts!) Some of the volumes were scanned here at the Mayr Library using our Table Top Scribe (see next image), and the rest were sent to Internet Archive scanning facilities. To fill in the gaps where our volumes weren’t suitable for scanning, we reached out to the American Museum of Natural History (v. 51, 54, 76, 86-87, 96) and to The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (v. 123-124; currently being digitized).
Gratitude to Wilson Ornithological Society for granting permission to share these volumes on BHL, and to the Ernst Mayr Library of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, the American Museum of Natural History and The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for digitization!