Sherborn: Pilsk, Joel Richard & Kalfatovic - Unlocking the Index Animalium: From paper slips to bytes and bits

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Smithsonian Institution Libraries received funding in 2004 to digitize Sherborn’s Index Animalium. The initial project was to digitize the pages images and re-key the data into a simple data …

Smithsonian Institution Libraries received funding in 2004 to digitize Sherborn’s Index Animalium. The initial project was to digitize the pages images and re-key the data into a simple data structure. As the project evolved, a more complex database was developed to enable quality searching to retrieve species names and to search the bibliography. The OCRed, scanned Index Animalium was re-keyed to the specifications of 99.995% accuracy rate. Working off the lessons learned by MBL WHOI Library’s project for Neave’s Nomenclator Zoologicus, simple expressions were used to break apart the re-keyed text. Coinciding with the development of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (2005), it became obvious there was a need to integrate the scanned Index Animalium, BHL’s scanned taxonomic literature, and taxonomic intelligence. The challenges of working with legacy taxonomic citation, computer matching algorithms, and making connections have brought us to today’s goal of making Sherborn available as open linked data. The goal is to allow repurposing of data, partnering with others to allow machine-to-machine communications and sharing information for broad discovery and access.

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  • 1. Unlocking the Index Animalium:From Paper Slips to Bytes and Bits Smithsonian Institution Libraries Suzanne C. Pilsk Joel M. Richard Martin R. Kalfatovic
  • 2. Smithsonian Institution
  • 3. Smithsonian Institution LibrariesAfrican Art History of Science and TechnologyAfrican American History and Culture Latino History and CultureAnthropology Materials ResearchAmerican Art Modern and Contemporary ArtAmerican History MuseologyAsian and Middle Eastern Art Native American History and CultureAviation history and Space Flight Natural HistoryDesign and Decorative Arts Postal HistoryEnvironmental Management and Tropical Biology Ecology Trade Literature World’s Fair Ephemera
  • 4. Libraries and Librarians
  • 5. Metadata
  • 6. How to make THIS into 1’s and 0’s
  • 7. Digitization
  • 8. Metadata Fail
  • 9. The Squire
  • 10. Metadata Successes
  • 11. Connecting Index to Sources
  • 12. Bibliography = Metadata
  • 13. Lost… Just Lost
  • 14. Steps to Improve
  • 15. Vision of Global Natural History Library In any well-appointed Natural History Library there should be found every book and every edition of every book dealing in the remotest way with the subjects concerned. Charles Davies Sherborn, Epilogue to Index Animalium, March 1922
  • 16. Taxonomic Literature 2nd EditionTaxonomic Literature: A selective guide to botanical publications and collections with dates, commentaries and types (second edition)15 volumes guide to the literature of systematic botany published between 1753 and 1940 Organized by author ~ Citation for the author’s surname Numbered entries of the author’s publications ~ Suggested short-title & abbreviation of short-title for use in taxonomic publications TL2 is a standard by which author’s names and titles should be abbreviated
  • 17. ★ Linked Open Data – 5 Stars ★★ Available on the web (whatever format), but with an open licence★★ Available as machine-readable structured data (e.g. excel instead of • Shareable image scan of a table)★★★ as (2) plus non-proprietary • Extensible format (e.g. CSV instead of excel)★★★★ All the above plus, Use open • Re-Usable standards from W3C (RDF and SPARQL) to identify things, so that • International people can point at your stuff★★★★★ All the above, plus: Link your data to other people’s data to provide context
  • 18.
  • 19. Future
  • 20. Contact information: Thanks To Many• Joel Richard • Gilbert Borrego• Martin Kalfatovic • Carolyn Sheffield• Grace Costantino • Bianca Crowley• Courtney Shaw • Becky Morin• Keri Thompson • Mike Lichtenburg• Interns too numerous to • David Remsen name • Patrick Leary• Volunteers too numerous to • Chris Freeland name And The Birthday Boy: Charles Davies Sherborn
  • 21. Interesting SourcesIndex Animalium Taxonomic Literature New Version Smithsonian Institution Libraries Connecting Content Smithsonian Institution The Field Book Project Biodiversity Heritage Library Linked Open Data Internet Archive