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Digitization Projects

Sharing our history

The Research Library has a large collection of historic photographs, field notes, and diaries that document research expeditions, collecting trips, and conservation work by early Museum naturalists.

Our Archives and Special Collections include rare books and fine art that have been digitized as part of our conservation work, and we are actively working to make digital versions of these treasures available online.

The Research Library has been in the process of digitizing these assets over the past nine years. A selection of our field notes is available on the Internet Archive. These include the collecting notes of Birds and Mammals curators Frank Stephens and Laurence M. Huey, botanist Charles Russell Orcutt, and herpetologist Laurence M. Klauber, among others.

Many volunteers, staff members, and library interns have contributed to the conservation, digitization, and cataloging of these treasures.

Laurence Klauber Field Notes

Herpetologist Laurence Klauber kept meticulous records of his work. The Research Library houses this special collection in addition to the Klauber Herpetological Library. Over 12,000 pages (43 volumes) of Klauber's field notes from 1923 to 1967 have been scanned and transcribed by the Herpetology Department and are available on the Internet Archive. More

Albert R. Valentien Collection

Our entire collection of 1094 large format slides, depicting the native plants of California painted by A. R. Valentien between 1908 and 1918, has been digitized. The history of this collection and a small number of the paintings are shown at our Plant Portraits exhibition pages. More

Historic Photo Albums

The archives hold 13 historic photo albums from the 1920s and 1930s, some prepared for presentation to the Museum's benefactor Ellen Browning Scripps. Photographs document collecting trips in southern California and Baja California, as well as exhibitions and events at the Museum in Balboa Park. Eleven of these albums, including 2952 images, are fully digitized and cataloged. More

Map Collection

The archives contains over 4,000 historic maps, some dating to the late 1700s. We have digitized 94 maps at high resolution to allow for detailed examination. For more information and to view some of these historic maps, visit our Map Collection page and the library's online catalog.

Laurence M. Huey Field Notes

Over 1000 pages of field notes of Laurence M. Huey, Curator of Birds and Mammals from 1923 to 1961, have been digitized and are available on the Internet Archive. These notes document Huey's field work from 1913 to 1960 and include trips to Baja California and Arizona as well as other localities. More

Flora Londinensis

During conservation work on the Flora Londinensis, all 886 pages were photographed at high resolution and cataloged. Our Flora Londinensis, a richly illustrated book depicting the plants within a 10-mile radius of London published in 1777, can be viewed in the in the permanent exhibbition, Extraordinary Ideas from Ordinary People: A History of Citizen Science.

Field Notes of Reid Moran

Reid V. Moran was Curator of Botany at the Museum from 1957 to 1982. Specializing in the systematics of the Crassulaceae (Stonecrop Family) and the flora of the peninsula of Baja California, Moran kept meticulous and often entertaining field notebooks documenting his travels and botanical collections. The Museum's Botany Department has digitized and indexed 18 volumes of Moran's field notes. More

Margaret Wood Bancroft Photo Album

Naturalist Margaret Wood Bancroft participated in several expeditions exploring Baja California and islands in the Gulf of California.  Her field notes and photo scrapbooks have been digitized and will be available soon.

Museum Publications

Dating back to the first issue of the Transactions of San Diego Society of Natural History in 1905, the Museum has produced a distinguished list of refereed scientific publications, including our current journal, the Proceedings of the San Diego Society of Natural History. In addition, the Museum has published the magazines Environment Southwest and Field Notes.  Thanks, in part, to scanning performed by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the majority of both the current and historical publications are available to download. More