The purpose of SISP is to continue the rich history of scholarly publishing by the Smithsonian, sustained since 1848, by publishing research and other scholarly and educational contributions of Smithsonian curators and researchers, including monographs, collection catalogs, exhibition catalogs, technical studies and analyses, and edited collections and proceedings.
Smithsonian Contributions Series
New and current volumes from these series are available digitally on Open SI, SISP's digital publishing portal.
Legacy volumes from these series are available digitally on D-Space, the digital repository of Smithsonian Libraries.
Scholarly Books - Smithsonian Contributions to KnowledgeSISP has a distribution agreement with Random House, Inc., allowing continued circulation of some older Smithsonian books as well as new books published by SISP. Titles co-published with academic publisher Rowman & Littlefield are distributed through R&L. See our list of all currently available books.
Proposed works that fall outside of the scope of the discipline-specific Smithsonian Contributions Series and are deemed marketable to a wider audience are considered for publication as scholarly books. New scholarly books published by SISP follow different submission and production processes than the Series and are published as "Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge."
History of Scholarly Publishing at the Smithsonian
"The worth and importance of the [Smithsonian] Institution are not to be estimated by what it accumulates within the walls of its building, but by what it sends forth to the world."
Prior to the current Smithsonian Contributions Series, the Institution issued its publications in various serials and special publications, including Contributions to Knowledge, Miscellaneous Collections, Bulletins, Proceedings, Annual Reports, Circulars, and Special Bulletins.
Smithsonian Contributions and Studies Series
• Smithsonian Annals of Flight (1964–1974)
Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge (1848–1916)
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections (1862–1968)
Serial Publications of the Former United States National Museum
Proceedings of the United States National Museum (1878–1968): Each volume contained multiple papers that reported on new facts in biology, anthropology, and geology; on descriptions of new forms and revisions of limited groups; and on the collections of the United States National Museum. Copies of each paper, in pamphlet form, were distributed as they were published. The publication date for each separate paper was recorded in the table of contents of each volume. The final volume was number 125.
Annual Reports (1881–present): This serial has had various names, including Report on the Progress and Condition of the United States National Museum for the Fiscal Year Ended . . .; The United States National Museum Annual Report for the Year Ended . . .; and Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution. The format and content have varied over the years. Before 1905 the annual reports were large volumes that contained administrative reports as well as scholarly papers. After 1905 they reported mostly administrative information but did include a list of all accessions received by year-end. The publication continues today as Smithsonian Year and serves as a public relations tool. Supplements to Smithsonian Year included the annual accession information and lists of publications and donors. In 1993 the supplement became a separate publication, Annals of the Smithsonian Institution, and has been expanded to include not only the former information, but also administrative reports and lists of board members and awards.
Circulars (1881–1929): The circulars were short works, often only one page, and primarily addressed curatorial and exhibition issues. A total of 53 circulars were published. Circulars 1–18 were reprinted in Proceedings of the United States National Museum, volume 4; circulars 19–23 in volume 6; circulars 24–31 in volume 7; circulars 32 and 33 in volume 8; circular 37 in volume 10; and circular 35 in the Report of the United States National Museum for the Year Ending June 30, 1886.
Special Bulletin of the United States National Museum (1892–1915): Four volumes were published.
The first complete list of all the serial publications of the United States National Museum was issued in 1902 in Bulletin of the United States National Museum, number 51. It covered the years 1875–1900. A supplement brought the list up to date through 1906. In 1946 a cumulative volume, Bulletin 193, was issued. It contained the two earlier lists plus all titles published in the intervening 40 years. A supplement brought the list up to date through June 1958. Bulletin 298, the final volume, was issued in 1971. It included all titles published from 1947 to 1971, including those listed in the supplement to Bulletin 193.
Serial Publications of the Bureau of American Ethnology
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