Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A specimen of the botany of New Holland.

The book "A  specimen of the botany of New Holland" was the first book on the flora of Australia. The book consist of 16 colour plates  based on paintings by James Sowerbie based on sketches by John White. This book can be found on Wikisource.

My growing interest in historic material made me find my way to Wikisource and now I am intriqued to learn why the scans of those 16 colour plates have not been uploaded to Commons. After all, Commons is the repository for all the Wikimedia projects.

I am as interested in learning about other aspects of these illustrations. It says: "This is a cropped version that eliminates the indexing information" and to be honest such a crop is the last thing I would expect of a Wikisource project. It seems to me that such information is what gives this material extra relevance as a source object.

It is not clear where the original material can be found; is this book part of a private collection or of a GLAM, is it possible to redo the scans at a much higher resolution and without compression? This material is relevant and when this is the best we can have, it will suffice. It is however also an example why annotations are important because that would enable me to find out.

By pointing out these opportunities, these images may be revisited, moved to Commons and become even more relevant.
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