Charlotte Tancin will speak on

"The Changing Face of Visual Communication
in Botany"

Digital Imagers Meeting Field Trip

Sunday Feb. 1, 2009 at 1:15, CMU Hunt Library, 5th Floor, on Frew Street


An interesting aspect of our collection is how it documents the changing importance and role of visual information in Scientific and scholarly communication. In Europe for four centuries before photography, a succession of techniques provided the means to include images in printed books. From Medieval and Renaissance herbals, through books about garden plants entering Europe from around the globe, pictures have been a key component of scientific communication. When photography was introduced into the mix, there was considerable discussion about how it could be used to further plant knowledge. My talk will give an overview of various techniques used to reproduce images in publication in the 19th century, looking at the aims of botanical illustration and showing how photography initially fit into the picture. 15th century books will be on display, in addition to prints, drawings, watercolors and some photographs.


Ms. Tancin earned her B.A. in Philosophy from Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg Maryland, and a Masters in Library Science with advanced certificate in preservation management from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a longtime member of the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries, and in 2008 received the Charles Robert Long Award of Extraordinary Merit. She is a member of the Society for the History of Natural History, and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, representing Hunt Institute in the internatonal Linnaeus Link project. She is interested in the history of literacy and spread of ideas, and, on the personal side, is working on several projects documenting the history of her home town, Freeland Pennsylvania. She hasd been with Hunt Institute since 1984, and has been Librarian and Research Scholar there since 1987.