The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Project

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Presentation by Graham Higley, Natural History Museum. Given at the London Museum, Libraries and Archives Group conference April 2007.

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The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Project

  1. 1. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Project Graham Higley
  2. 2. What is BHL trying to do? <ul><li>Digitize the core published literature on biodiversity and make available for open access on the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Work with the global taxonomic community, rights holders and other interested parties to ensure that the functionality of the BHL meets their needs </li></ul>
  3. 3. Beginnings… <ul><li>Library and Laboratory: the Marriage of Research, Data and Taxonomic Literature, London, February 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The librarians present agreed that scanning the whole biodiversity literature was now a possibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Open access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10c per page </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tractable domain </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The ‘Environment’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Library Directors Meeting, Washington, May 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Libraries represented at the London meeting gathered in Washington to lay out the ground work for the Biodiversity Heritage Library </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many meeting since then …… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More partners…. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Taxonomic Literature <ul><li>Over 250 years of the systematic description of life </li></ul><ul><li>Systema naturae (10 th ed. 1758) by Carl von Linné </li></ul>
  5. 5. Taxonomic Literature <ul><li>The cited half-life of publications in taxonomy is longer than in any other scientific discipline </li></ul><ul><li>The decay rate is longer than in any scientific discipline </li></ul><ul><li>- Macro-economic case for open access, Tom Moritz </li></ul>
  6. 6. Taxonomic Literature <ul><li>The essential requirements for accessing and utilising this global information are that: </li></ul><ul><li>There is access to information held in national/regional/global collections </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic data is efficiently captured and provided in useable form </li></ul><ul><li>Existing information held in literature and by current experts is made available electronically </li></ul><ul><li>Stability of scientific names of organisms, used to access this information, is promoted </li></ul><ul><li>- Darwin Declaration, 1998 </li></ul>
  7. 7. Scale of the problem <ul><li>Core biodiversity literature pre-1923 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>400,000 volumes (80 million pages) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All biology literature pre-1923 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>600-750,000 volumes (120-150 million pages) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All biology literature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.4-1.6 million volumes (280-320 million pages) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. What is BHL trying to do? <ul><li>Digitize the core published literature on biodiversity and make available for open access on the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Work with the global taxonomic community, rights holders and other interested parties to ensure that the functionality of the BHL meets their needs </li></ul>
  9. 9. BHL Partners <ul><li>American Museum of Natural History </li></ul><ul><li>Field Museum </li></ul><ul><li>Harvard University, Botany Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Harvard University, Ernst Meyer Library of Comparative Zoology </li></ul><ul><li>Marine Biological Laboratory / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution </li></ul><ul><li>Missouri Botanical Garden </li></ul><ul><li>Natural History Museum </li></ul><ul><li>New York Botanical Garden </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Botanic Garden, Kew </li></ul><ul><li>Smithsonian Institution </li></ul>
  10. 10. Benefits of BHL <ul><li>Taxonomists will have access to biodiversity literature – globally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This will fundamentally change the way they work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Will provide the developing world with access to the historical literature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They have the biodiversity, but not the libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scientists working in many biological domains – and other areas like meteorology, geology, farming, ecology, etc – will get access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently poor integration across biological sciences </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Advance objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (GBIF, ABS, GTI, etc) </li></ul>
  11. 11. Components <ul><li>Store all bibliographic metadata from the member libraries, with commitments </li></ul><ul><li>Create volume, part, piece metadata </li></ul><ul><li>Ingest page level metadata at scanning level </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of page level Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) for linking to other taxonomic services </li></ul>
  12. 12. Components <ul><li>Scan pages! </li></ul><ul><li>OCR the pages (and repeat regularly) </li></ul><ul><li>Taxonomic Intelligence – name management and linking to other name servers </li></ul><ul><li>Serve from 4 global locations </li></ul>
  13. 13. Rights <ul><li>Open Access: all content can be reused, repurposed, reformatted, sliced, diced, scraped </li></ul><ul><li>Creative Commons licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Opt-in Copyright Model: The BHL will actively work with professional societies, associations and commercial publishers to integrate their publications into the BHL </li></ul>
  14. 14. Internet Archive ‘Scribe’
  15. 15. Scribe Productivity <ul><li>Single Scribe Machine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human operated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>30 volumes per person per week </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>~ 7,500 pages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>18 Scribes running 2 shifts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>36,000 volumes per annum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>~ 12,500,000 pages </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Encyclopedia of Life <ul><li>Major project to create a single Web page for each species (1.8 million!) </li></ul><ul><li>EOL needs the literature underpinning in the BHL project </li></ul><ul><li>BHL now integrated into EOL </li></ul><ul><li>$25M of funding in place </li></ul><ul><li>Launch on 9 th May </li></ul><ul><li>BHL represented on EOL Board </li></ul>
  17. 17. BHL Costs and Income <ul><li>Total cost about $20-30M </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May be reduced by partners, in-kind contributions, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Available now about $12.5M </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainly from EOL and EOL founding partners </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Balance from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Private foundations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Governments </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. What next? Europe, the World… <ul><li>BHL is US/UK focused. </li></ul><ul><li>The NHM plans to engage European partners – through projects such as EDIT and SYNTHESYS – in a similar attempt to capture the non-English language publications </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions have already taken place with the Chinese Academy of Sciences </li></ul><ul><li>G8 Environment Ministers identified need for ‘Global Species Information System’ – first EU meeting to address response </li></ul>
  19. 19. www.biodiversitylibrary.org

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