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Co-creating Global Natural History Networks
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Co-creating Global Natural History Networks


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  • 1. Co-creating Global Natural History Networks Boris Jacob Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium Bianca Crowley Biodiversity Heritage Library, Smithsonian Institution, USA [email_address] Constance Rinaldo Ernst Mayr Library/MCZ/Harvard University, USA [email_address] DISH Conference 2011 The Netherlands
  • 2. Overview
    • 3 Ideas from Yesterday
    • What is Biodiversity Heritage Literature
    • About
      • Biodiversity Heritag Library (BHL)
      • Biodiversity Heritag Library for Europe (BHL-Europe)
      • Global Biodiversity Heritag Library (gBHL)
    • Communication strategy and tools
    • What can you/we do?
  • 3. 3 Ideas from Yesterday
    • DISH is not only presenting, but questioning, talk to people, make judgements on what is relevant for your institution.
      • Chris Batt, DISH 2011 Opening Speech
    • Speed of change makes research on the job impossible. Make informed choices with the best possible information today.
      • Katherine Watson, DISH 2011 Keynote Speech
    • Thinking for ourselfs as networks, movement, ideology, rather than institutions.
      • Charles Leadbeater, DISH 2011 Keynote Speech
  • 4. Biodiversity Heritage Literature
    • Huge amount of out of copyright works to scan
    • Heterogeneous
      • Text types (Scientific literature, Exhibition reports...)
      • Audiences (Scientists, Humanities, Artists, Education, ...)
      • Media (Print Text, Illustrations Photographs, Annotations, ...)
      • Form (Oversize, Fold-outs, ...)
  • 5.
    • Example 1
    • Scientific descriptions of animals, plants, nature in general (Taxonomic literature)
    • Type in a taxon name and find all detected occurrences in the text corpus.
  • 6.
    • Example 2
    • Literature on expeditions
      • Research on cultural practices.
      • Natural history in cultural contexts.
      • Scientific understanding of nature over time.
    • Search in Darwin ’ s Library.
  • 7.
    • Example 3
    • Illustrations of Nature
      • History of scientific illustrations.
      • Research on one artists work.
      • Inspiration for artists.
      • Cool dinosaur and skeleton pictures.
    • Find illustrations on Flickr.
  • 8. BHL in a Nutshell
    • Over 36 million digitised pages and counting, page level access.
    • Connection to taxonomic names via uBio & connection to EOL species pages.
    • Open data services - BHL makes available: 
      • All book, or bibliographic, data
      • All taxonomic name data
      • for free to download, re-use, re-purpose, and re-mix by anyone, anywhere
    • User engagement, interaction, feedback.
    • A Portal, Darwin library, the article repository Citebank , Develper tools, API, OpenURL.
  • 9.
  • 10. BHL-Europe in a Nutshell
    • European biodiversity knowledge freely available globally to everyone.
    • 28 partner institutions and companies
    • Mobilising and preserving digital European biodiversity heritage literature and facilitating the open access to this literature through a multilingual community portal
      • the Global References Index to Biodiversity
      • the Biodiversity Library Exhibition
      • and Europeana.
  • 11.
  • 12. Comparing BHL and BHL-Europe
    • BHL (US/UK)
      • Emphasis on scanning
      • Cultural and language similarities
      • Mostly private funding initially
      • Librarian/Scientist partnership at start
      • Integration of scientific names services
    • BHL-Europe
      • Emphasis on aggregation
      • Multicultural and multilingual setting
      • EC funding
      • Scientist driven
      • Multilingual portal, integration of various names services (e.g. common names)
  • 13. gBHL in a Nutshell
    • BHL nodes in Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Europe, USA, more to come
    • A distributed network with different countries, different cultures, different institutions/projects/organisational models, different policies, different partnerships, different funding
    • Staff working within the gBHL
      • works in 9 different time zones
      • in nearly 50 different institutions worldwide
      • speak over 10 different languages
      • technologists, scientists, and librarians
      • most are not BHL (US) employees
      • No institutional mandate, Regional governance , bottom up development
    • One Mission
  • 14. gBHL Mission
  • 15.  
  • 16. Communication Strategy
      • Know your mission, share your vision
      • Forget about hierarchy 
      • Open up all lines of communication
      • Encourage trial-and-error problem solving
      • Share best practices, technologies, workloads
      • Empower decision making at all levels
      • Welcome all ideas  
      • Foster excitement and dedication
      • Trust each other to do what is best for the project
      • Be flexible
      • Reward experimentation and creativity
      • Failures are simply lessons learned
  • 17. Communication Tools
    • Skype, Wikis, Email, Phone, Issue tracking systems, Twitter, Slideshare, Blogs, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Chat, Google docs, Google calendar, Whiteboards, Photos, Videos, Posters, Presentations, Papers, Tutorials, Documentation, Doodle, Meetings, GitHub, Google code, and Face-to-face communication whenever we can get it.
  • 18. Communication Tools
    • What we need to make the tools work: Moderators, Mediators, Committees, Cheerleaders, Praise, Passion, Patience, Criticism, Cooperation, Being proactive, Flexibility, Time, Prioritization, Funding, Institutional support, Creativity, Rapid prototyping approach
  • 19. Pros & Cons
    • People feel free to contribute
    • Rapid rollout
    • Sharing of
      • Content
      • Knowledge
      • Ideas
      • Technology
    • Funding is uncertain
    • Staffing is uncertain
    • Mistakes are made
    • Time intensive
    • Timezones
  • 20. What can you/we do?
      • Donate , Contribute content
      • Spread the word, Lobby government agencies and policy makers for support
      • Provide feedback , Participate in crowdsourcing initiatives
    Photographs by R. Paul Skeehan (skee 2