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An Introduction to the Biodiversity Heritage Library


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An Introduction to the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Martin R. Kalfatovic. BHL Australian Node Meeting: National Library of Australia. 4 June 2010. Canberra, Australia.

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An Introduction to the Biodiversity Heritage Library

  1. 1. An Introduction to the Biodiversity Heritage Library Martin R. Kalfatovic Smithsonian Institution Libraries & Biodiversity Heritage Library BHL Australian Node Meetings National Library of Australia 4 June 2010
  2. 2. Topics Covered • Background on BHL • Scope of the BHL • Content for BHL • Internal BHL communications, structure, working organization • Communication • Use & Users • Going Global
  3. 3. How Did We Get Here?
  4. 4. The Taxonomic Impediment Yet another physical difficulty is the task of assembling the library and indexes which will enable the student to work under proper conditions…. the beginner must now be prepared to spend liberally, or else must establish himself in an institution where a large library exists; if he work by himself with only a few books, he will have to confine himself to a very narrow specialty indeed. 'The Limitations of Taxonomy' by J.M. Aldrich, Science, April 22, 1927, vol. LXV, no. 1686, p.381
  5. 5. BHL Timeline 2003. Telluride. Encyclopedia of Life meeting February 2005. London. Library and Laboratory: the Marriage of Research, Data and Taxonomic Literature May 2005. Washington. Ground work for the Biodiversity Heritage Library June 2006. Washington. Organizational and Technical meeting August 2006. New York Botanical Garden. BHL Director’s Meeting. October 2006. St. Louis/San Francisco. Technical meetings February 2007. Museum of Comparative Zoology. Organizational meeting May 2007. Encyclopedia of Life and BHL Portal Launch. Washington DC.
  6. 6. American Museum of Natural History (New York) Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco) Field Museum (Chicago) Natural History Museum (London) Smithsonian Institution Libraries (Washington) Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis) New York Botanical Garden (New York) Royal Botanic Garden, Kew Botany Libraries, Harvard University Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University Marine Biological Laboratory / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  7. 7. Encyclopedia of Life …imagine for a moment that all the diversity of the world were finally revealed and then described, say one page to a species. The description would contain the scientific name, a photograph or drawing, a brief diagnosis, and information of where the species if found. If published in conventional book form … this Great Encyclopedia of Life would occupy 60 meters of library shelf per million species … 100 million species of organisms … would extend through 6 kilometers of shelving … E.O. Wilson (1992)
  8. 8. Education + Learning Smithsonian & Harvard OH H Synthesis Center O Field Museum HN Species Pages & Secretariat 2 Smithsonian Informatics Marine Biological Laboratory OH Missouri Botanical Garden
  9. 9. Funding  Initial grant from the MacArthur and Sloan Foundations (as part of the Encyclopedia of Life grant)  Additional support from parent institutions  Additional grants from the Moore Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  10. 10. Scope of BHL
  11. 11. How Much Is There? Define Core literature using major indicies, viz. TL-2, ZooRecord, Index Animalium, BPH, etc. Estimate number of pages for serials and monographs based on BHL statistics. Estimate ratio of pre-1923 literature to post-1923 literature from Zoo Record Estimated 495,000,000 pages of core biodiversity literature. 100,000,000 of the core biodiversity literature is pre-1923 and likely, though not certainly, in the public domain.
  12. 12. Content for BHL
  13. 13. The Internet Archive • 501(c)(3) organization • Dedicated to “Universal Access to Human Knowledge” • Founder of the Open Content Alliance • Provides: – Mass scanning – Archival storage of files – Image processing – Technology development
  14. 14. Scanning Facilities • Northeast Regional Scanning Facility (Boston) • Jersey City Facility • Natural History Museum, London • Fedscan (Library of Congress) • Smithsonian Libraries • Missouri Botanical Garden (Non-Scribe operation) • Local library solutions
  15. 15. Permissions • Seek permissions from copyright holders • Opt in Copyright Model: The BHL will actively work with professional societies and associations to integrate their publications into the BHL in a way that serves the societies’ missions and goals • BHL will digitize learned society backfiles and mount them through the BHL Portal at no cost. • Will provide a set of files to the publishers for reuse as they see fit
  16. 16. Successes • Entomological News • Journal of Hymenoptera Research • Herpetological Review • Publications of the San Diego Natural History Museum • California Academy of Sciences publications • And more ...
  17. 17. Now Online More than: 79,707 volumes 29.9 million pages Avg. monthly growth rate 1,500 volumes 600,000 pages
  18. 18. Now Online More than: 79,707 volumes 29.9 million pages Only 465 million to go! Avg. monthly growth rate 1,500 volumes 600,000 pages See you in 2088!
  19. 19. Use & Users
  20. 20. BHL is all about OPEN & SHARING • Librarians & libraries • Taxonomic community • Educators • Students • Policy makers • Unknown new users
  21. 21. An inordinate fondness for data Access Putting biodiversity literature in the hands of researchers Set the data free Suck it; mash it; broadcast it Increase Reuse, recyle, expand
  22. 22. Organization & Communication
  23. 23. BHL Organization • Executive Council • Institutional Council • Staff Group • Technical Group • Collections Group • Field Notebooks • Ad hoc groups
  24. 24. Communication
  25. 25. Management by Flying Around Chris & Martin's 2009 Roadshow
  26. 26. New Tools & Tech
  27. 27. New Tools & Tech
  28. 28. Metadata: Feedback Assigned to library staff for review & resolution
  29. 29. Going Global
  30. 30. And so...
  31. 31. The cultivation of natural science cannot be efficiently carried on without reference to an extensive library Charles Darwin, et al. (1847) Darwin, C. R. et al. 1847. Copy of Memorial to the First Lord of the Treasury [Lord John Russell], respecting the Management of the British Museum. Parliamentary Papers, Accounts and Papers 1847, paper number (268), volume XXXIV.253 (13 April): 1-3. [Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online]
  32. 32. Extensive.
  33. 33. Extensive. Open.
  34. 34. Extensive. Open. Global.
  35. 35. 1.9 million known species … most described once in a hard to find article … Wouldn't it be nice to know more about your neighbors ...
  36. 36. And now, stick around!
  37. 37. Picture Credits Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber Richard Lydekker Die Saugthiere in Abbildungen A hand-book to the marsupialia nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen and monotremata (1896) (1826-) Jacob Christian Schäffer Frederick McCoy Elementa entomologica (1766) Prodromus of the Zoology of Charles Wilkes Victoria set out to describe the Narrative of the United States Colony's fauna (1885-90) Exploring Expedition during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842. Volume 3 (1845)