Royal Society Digital Archive Free Until November 30

A big thanks to Criss Library for the pointer to the news about the Royal Society Digital Archive, which is celebrating the 350th anniversary year of the Royal Society by making its archive contents free until November 30th. The archive goes back to 1665 (!!) and contains over 66,000 articles.

The Royal Society: “The Royal Society is a fellowship of 1400 outstanding individuals who represent all areas of science, engineering and medicine and who form a global scientific network of the highest calibre. It exists to expand knowledge, support science and guide policy in the UK, the Commonwealth and all over the world.” (from its Web site.)

The Digital Archive: several journals, including Biology Letters, Interface Focus, and Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

I did a search for amphibian and got 797 results.

The results have title, journal information, and a little context. An abstract is just a click away but so is the entire article, available either as plain text or as a PDF. (The PDF did seem to take a little extra time to load.) There was no registration required to access the material.

As I noted, this archive is free only until November 30, so if you want to take advantage better hurry up…

Quaternary Science Journal Has 50 Years of Archives Online

Hat tip to Arizona Geology, which noted that the Quaternary Science Journal has put its back issues from 1951 to 2010 into a freely-available archive. It’s located at

(I had to look “Quaternary” up — now I’m just trying to remember it for my next game of Lexulous — it means “of, relating to, or being the geological period from the end of the Tertiary to the present time or the corresponding system of rocks”.)

On the front page, you’ll see a lot of German, but actually articles in the archive are available in German, English, and sometimes French — articles are sometimes translated into multiple languages but sometimes now. You can either browse through individual back issues or do a keyword search. I did a keyword search for sedimentary and got something over 40 results. Google Chrome offered to translate the page results for me, which were mostly in German.

Page results included article title, list of tags, and the date it was published. The article titles were generally meaningful enough that I didn’t lack for a summary (“Stratigraphic and geomorphic analysis of rubble limestone layer ceiling before combing and layer stages in Lower Saxony’s mountain country” — this is translated.) You have the option of downloading the article as a PDF file or viewing it onscreen. You can also order printed copies but this costs — the ones I saw costs for were €10, about $13.90 USD at this writing.

The only downer to this site is that the article viewer is a Flash device which apparently doesn’t allow Google Chrome to work its translating magic. So while you can read the article titles and summaries, when it comes to the full article you can’t get an automatic translation via Google Chrome. It seems the only workaround would be to download the PDF of the article, pull out the text, and use a different tool to translate it.

Health Posters from the NLM

Last week I had a terrible cold. So when I read about this new exhibit from the National Library of Medicine, I knew I had to write about it. (GAHCHOO!) Sorry.

The new exhibit is An Iconography of Contagion: A Web Exhibition of 20th-century Health Posters, and it’s available at This exhibit is adapted from an exhibitition that was hosted by the National Academy of Sciences in 2008. There is explanatory text but the heart of the exhibit is about two dozen posters. The posters date from the 1920s to the 1990s, are from all over the world, and address a variety of health concerns.

Items include a 1935 poster from China about tuberculosis (summary: don’t spit on the sidewalk), an odd 1944 poster featuring a fly wearing shoes (many shoes) and a Kenyan poster about sleeping sickness. Posters not in English are translated.

This is a pretty brief exhibit (especially if you’re used to Library of Congress exhibits where you might see jillions of posters and prints in one place) but the commentary is good and the choices for the exhibit interesting.

Woo Hoo! Popular Science Archive Free Online For the Win!

I read an article in Wired last week that made me very happy: Popular Science is now online as entire archive, and it’s free! The magazine has teamed up with Google Books to make its archive available.

To search, you can start at, but I found the page a little narrow to go through the results. So I did a little messing around at Google Books and found that got me a cover view of 1,327 magazine results matching the title “Popular Science”. Or you can start with the Google Books query intitle:”popular science” and add any keywords in which you’re interested. (Make sure you go into advanced search and get your results from magazines only.) A cleaner URL to browse all issues is

I did a search for intitle:”Popular Science” monsters and got 547 results, from “New evidence spurs hunt for Loch Ness monster‎” to “SPLIT Logs Easily, Without Expensive Splitters, Monster Mauls.” Results include a thumbnail of the cover and details about which issue it is. It doesn’t look like you can get results by order of date, which is unfortunate — looks like results are in order of relevance.

Results take you to individual pages with your search terms highlighted. May I please recommend the 1967 article “I used at real computer at home and so will you”.

Google Books (or in this case Magazines) still drives me a bit nuts because of the ways that you can’t sort results, and sometimes the “scrolling down” through the pages makes me overshoot things I want to read, but man, they’re adding some great content.

Start Your Tuesday with a Database of 3D Bird Bones

Last week, the College of the Holy Cross launched a new 3D online database of birds. Extant, recently extinct, and fossil birds. This new Web site is called the Aves 3D Web site and is available at This site contains about 200 three-dimensional models of bird bones from 98 different species. The models were made by non-contact laser scanning of skeletons.

From the front page you can do a keyword search or you can browse several different ways, including by scientific name, common name, or skeletal element. I browsed through the common names which goes from “American Flamingo” to “Stout-Legged Moa”. I thought the “Bohemian Waxwing” looked interesting, so I chose that bird. The Aves 3D Web site had one model available for that bird: a breast bone.

You will have to have Java enabled (and in my case even though I did have Java enabled, the site repeatedly complained that I didn’t, much to my bemusement, though I could certainly view the models) but if you do an applet will start that will allow you to click and drag the model around and view it from all angles. You can also zoom. There are instructions for moving the model but I couldn’t get those to work.

After you’ve finished goofing around with the model, scroll down. You’ll see additional bits of information including some notes on the bird, specimen and technical information (who scanned it and when) and some still photographs of the specimen. If you register for a free account on the site, you’ll find that some of the models (though not all) have free digital models available for download.

Holy Cross plans to add new models to the site weekly so I expect it’ll grow significantly from its current listings. I can’t say this is a resource I’m going to refer to every day, but being able to interact with all these skeletal elements was fascinating! Plus I was very impressed with how quickly the Java applets loaded. Take a look.