University of Delaware
Blue jay from 'The Birds of America: From Original Drawings,' reissued by J.W. Audubon, chromolithography by J. Bien. Special Collections. University of Delaware

Bird draws attention to UD

Google tribute to Audubon uses image from UD Library


3:41 p.m., April 26, 2011--Google, which is well-known for its Google Doodles that tailor its nameplate to celebrate important dates and events, honors artist John James Audubon on his 226th birthday, Tuesday, April 26, with the word "Google" recreated using Audubon's images of birds.

That tribute had a special -- and measurable -- impact at the University of Delaware. It resulted in an extraordinarily high volume of traffic on the main web server of the University of Delaware Library.

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Turns out the blue jay on the right side of the Google design is a picture from an Audubon book that is in the University of Delaware Library and which is hosted on the Library web server.

"By mid-afternoon today, the blue jay has been viewed more than 125,000 times from sites all around the world, from Portugal to Brazil to Norway, with the heaviest from Western Europe," said Susan Brynteson, vice provost and May Morris Director of Libraries. "The ever-growing number of views is increasing at a rate of 135 view per minute. The hit comes directly from Google to the bluejay. European bloggers are also picking the image up at a great rate."

Clicking on the blue jay brings the image and ultimately the website for the University of Delaware Library Special Collections webpage for "Discovering American Animals." The image is from an 1860 edition of "The Birds of America: From Original Drawings," reissued by J.W. Audubon, chromolithography by J. Bien. The book was a gift of C. Porter Schutt to the Library in 1992.

Mark Grabowski of the Library Computing Systems Division compiled the statistics on the web traffic.

Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library include books, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, broadsides, periodicals, pamphlets, ephemera, and realia from the 15th century to the present. The collections complement the Library's general collections with particular strengths in the subject areas of the arts; English, Irish, and American literature; history and Delawareana; horticulture; and history of science and technology.

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