University Libraries developed and has hosted for many years one of the foremost online resources for ornithologists – Searchable Ornithological Research Archive or SORA. SORA provides access to an extensive library of ornithological literature of international scope. The detailed material in the archive documents the history of ornithology in North America over the last 120 years.
A new online exhibit “Bird’s Eye View” features illustrations and photographs from SORA, spanning decades and geographical regions.
The exhibit highlights the decades of ornithological illustrations and photographs in the pages of scientific journals, accessible through SORA. This exhibit seeks to explore the evolution of ornithological documentation through illustration and photography. Originally conceived by Kevin Comerford, director of the University Libraries Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communications Program (DISC), “Bird’s Eye View” was curated and constructed by Master’s of Information Science student, Anna DeKoning who created the digital exhibit of as her capstone project.
The exhibit currently showcases 64 images that date as far back as 1884 and range to the current year. Many of the images are from historic journals such as The Auk and The Condor.
In addition to galleries organized by zoogeographic region, the exhibit features a map that pinpoints specific places where a selection of photographs were taken. With continued additions, this data could prove valuable for understanding geographic trends in ornithology.
Researchers from every continent use SORA. In the course of a year we have seen over 100,000 users of the site with over half a million pages viewed. 14 different organizations provide content to the site which is managed by the University Libraries Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communications Program (DISC).