Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gould Archive, Library Go to Stanford

The Stanford News Service reports that the papers and library of Stephen Jay Gould, the famed paleontologist and writer of fascinating essays on natural history, has been acquired by Stanford. The collection includes some 1,500 rare books on early paleontology, more than 8,000 volumes from Gould's working library, as much as 500 linear feet of documents, plus many artifacts and specimens

"So how did all the books, papers and artifacts from a scientist who spent his professional career at Harvard University end up at Stanford?

'Stanford was the only institution really prepared to make a commitment to digitize and cross-link all of Steve's work, and this is something that Steve wanted,' said [Gould's widow Rhonda] Shearer. 'Even though he called himself a Luddite and really had anxiety about technology, he saw that for ideas to compete, they really had to be out on the Internet.'

[Stanford librarian Michael] Keller said the plan is to digitize Gould's articles, as well as the sources from which he drew both inspiration and information, and cross-link the source materials to the endnotes and citations in his writing. The goal will be to make all of Gould's papers freely available over the Internet to anyone who wants to see them, whether schoolchildren or scholars."

The project is expected to take at least three years.

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