Dr. F. Christian Thompson, past Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board member and a research entomologist for the United States Department of Agriculture, established the Smithsonian Libraries Endowment for Serials and Acquisitions in 2000.
In recent years, many academic publishing companies have raised the prices of serial subscriptions, which often provide the most up-to-date scientific information. Recent digitizing projects, such as the successful world-wide Biodiversity Heritage Library provide rare book material up until 1923; these digitizing efforts revolutionize the way rare book material is accessed around the world, but the information that is available among recent scholarly journals is not as readily available on the internet without coming with a steep price. Without serial subscriptions, the research of Smithsonian scientists can become compromised.
Dr. Thompson established this endowment because he says that endowments “last forever.” “They return to the organization and provide a lasting legacy,” says Dr. Thompson. He was compelled by endowments abilities to provide a steady income and ensure success for the future. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is the “best place environment for scientists” and they need to have the “best library available to them.”
Dr. Thompson is a dedicated and vocal philanthropist who believes in giving back to those organizations that have affected his life and work. He has authored over 130 scientific publications and is one of 25 specialists from throughout the world elected to advise on the International code of Zoological Nomenclature.