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Inside this Section YOU ARE HERE> SIL Home Page: Giving to the Libraries: Partners in Discovery Campaign
Message from the Director
SIL Board
Partners in Discovery Campaign

Giving Opportunities

Partners in Discovery Campaign

Thomas Garnett, Assistant Director for Information SystemsCreating a Galaxy of Knowledge

It wasn't so long ago that, if you wanted to find something out, you walked to the library, fingered your way through a card catalog, wrote down a number, and then went to a shelf to find the book. Yet in the span of less than a generation, low-cost household computers and the Internet have forever changed the way that people seek information. The Libraries has adapted to this new world. In addition to our print collections, our staff members now employ more than 200 computers and other technological equipment in their daily work, and these must be replaced every three to four years. Far from being made obsolete, the skills of librarians have never been more important to helping users navigate this new world, while reminding them that the traditional print world still exists.

Galaxy of KnowledgeGalaxy of Knowledge, the Smithsonian Libraries' public Web site, opens the treasures of the Smithsonian Libraries to all. Devoted to sharing our collections and interpreting them for the American public and the world, Galaxy of Knowledge presents beautiful, full-text digital editions of rare and valuable Smithsonian books along with expert reference service and guides to many of our specialized collections. No longer will it be necessary to visit our locations in person to see and use these materials. From the exploring fingers of kindergartners to senior citizens, a worldwide audience of book lovers, students, scientists, and bibliographers will find beautiful illustrations and texts organized in the areas of Science, American Discovery, Art and Design, and Technology and Industry. Each digital edition carries historical background material prepared by Libraries' staff and subject specialists that is valued by researchers, book connoisseurs, and teachers.

Ornithologie, Francois Nicolas MartinetOf equal interest are the Libraries' online exhibitions, which are designed to showcase portions of the Libraries' collections in conjunction with museum artifacts that add meaning to the stories they tell. Both a complement to the Libraries' exhibition gallery in Washington, D.C., and a means of organizing far more exhibitions than are physically possible in the gallery alone, the Libraries can bring many of its riches to light on the Internet.

To help fill the Galaxy of Knowledge with stars from our collections and to deliver digital collections and exhibitions that meet the highest professional standards, partners in discovery can

  • create a vastly expanded program for digitizing the collection
  • establish a digital library internship program
  • fund the additional imaging equipment and staff needed to mount more than 500,000 pages from our books, manuscripts, exhibitions and specialized collections
  • provide the state-of-the-art equipment and software needed to constantly improve the Libraries' technological infrastructure

next: Preserving and Exhibiting Collections

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