Dr. Aaron J. Sharp and Dr. Stanley Cain
taking field notes in the Smokies, circa 1935
Have you ever wished that there was a place to go when you wanted information on the Smokies — one site where you could research history, plants, animals and culture, and find links to online articles and digitized photographs? The Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project at the University of Tennessee Libraries proudly announces the official release of the new Database of the Smokies (DOTS), a free online bibliography of Smoky Mountains material published since 1934, the date of the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
DOTS contains searchable records of books, scholarly and popular journal articles, government and scientific reports, theses and dissertations, maps, and digitized photographs, as well as travel and recreational guides. Wherever copyright restrictions permit, citations are linked to scanned copies of the published item. DOTS can be visited on the UT Libraries’ website at: dots.lib.utk.edu.
DOTS is intended to compliment Terra Incognita: An Annotated Bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains, 1544–1934, scheduled for publication by the University of Tennessee Press in the summer of 2013. With DOTS and Terra Incognita, researchers will have access to a wealth of published material documenting over 400 years of human activity in the Smokies and surrounding region.
Dr. L. R. Hesler at work in his laboratory,
DOTS currently contains about 2,000 citations, focused within the fields of biology and ecology, and includes the research publications of distinguished former University of Tennessee botanists Aaron Sharp, Stanley Cain, and L. R. Hesler. In addition to important early studies of Smokies biology, DOTS contains citations to published material from the areas of history, psychology, genealogy, archaeology, economics, tourism, environmental studies, geology, literature, cultural studies, and park management. In the future, the curators of DOTS will add links to digitized photographs from the UT Libraries’ online collections and to other content freely available on the internet. As the content expands, DOTS should become a comprehensive resource for “all things Smokies.”
The project team has been hard at work on DOTS since May 2011, building the database around Drupal, an open-source platform particularly suited for managing content. Drupal is both versatile and flexible. It affords not only easy-to-use search functions but also allows expansion of the bibliography through crowd-sourcing, an innovative collaborative web technique. Calling on the collective knowledge of a community of users, crowd-sourcing will allow users of DOTS to become contributors, as well, by identifying new publications and uploading citations.
The Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project will continue to update the online database with new content. Together, Terra Incognita and the Database of the Smokies will be the most comprehensive bibliography of the Great Smoky Mountains ever compiled.
Research expedition on Mount LeConte with Dr. L. R. Hesler (far left) and Stanley A. Cain (far right) in front row and Aaron J. Sharp in back row (far right), circa 1935