“Advancing Microscopy”: New Media and Citizen Microscopists in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America


In the nineteenth century, science, technology and medicine (STM) underwent drastic changes, becoming specialised, professional domains. Simultaneously, new media emerged – cheap periodicals and popular science books. As microscopy was immensely popular at the time, many of these publications dealt with the use of microscopes. These publications were participatory, inviting amateur and professional microscopists from various disciplines to contribute and exchange material. This research regards circulating media as a primary factor in connecting microscopists, asking how new kinds of media – like the burgeoning microscopy publications in nineteenth-century Britain and America – spur the formation of heterogeneous STM communities.

As present-day online platforms are similarly facilitating STM lay participation, research into nineteenth-century microscopy offers an opportunity for placing present-day citizen science in historical perspective. This research drew on that parallelism, inviting amateur scientists to a crowdsourced investigation into nineteenth-century microscopy publications on the Zooniverse citizen science platform.

The data contains one excel file summarizing the crowdsourced aggregated data on illustrations in nineteenth-century microcopy publications. In accordance to this there is also a python script that allows you to search through the excel file. The data also contains a python script that collects images from the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Finally, there are referrals to archives holding materials related to microscopy in the nineteenth century.

Python, 3

DOI https://doi.org/10.34894/LRBQF5
Metadata Access https://dataverse.nl/oai?verb=GetRecord&metadataPrefix=oai_datacite&identifier=doi:10.34894/LRBQF5
Creator Beiermann, Lea ORCID logo
Publisher DataverseNL
Contributor Mody, Cyrus; Assink, Sven; Lea Beiermann; Maastricht University
Publication Year 2021
Funding Reference NWO; NWO, PGW 18 033
Rights CC0 Waiver; info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess; https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/
OpenAccess true
Contact Mody, Cyrus (Maastricht University); Assink, Sven (Information Manager Maastricht University)
Resource Type Excel file data on illustrations; Dataset
Format text/csv; text/plain
Size 14420506; 5095; 12380
Version 2.3
Discipline History; Humanities