University of Wisconsin-Madison Library Director Kenneth Frazier says the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture could be the first step toward creating "a virtual encyclopedia of the decorative arts." Ultimately, this site will include digital facsimiles of all types of material documenting American decorative arts. Currently, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, two-volumes of text and illustrations produced by naturalist Mark Catesby in 1754, is available in its entirety at the site. Catesby's work is usually regarded as the first accurate depictions of birds, fish, insects, and plants of the New World seen by Europeans. Visitors to the Website can search and browse more than 500 digital versions of color plates and text. Graphics are available in three resolutions, including "normal" size for easy browsing, higher quality for printing, and a still higher quality for examination of fine details. One of the next items scheduled for digitization is William Pain's Practical House Carpenter, published in 1792, a book of patterns, including information on eighteenth-century carpentry and supply prices.
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