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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eggplant Leafroller Moth reared on Potatoes

The following page from Biologia Centrali Americana, Insecta Lepidoptera-Heterocera v. 4 shows an interesting example of a proximity search we'd like to support with BHL Name Services - "find species x within n characters/words of species y."



http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/593637

Halfway through the entry for Lineodes integra you'll see a character that looks like a crosshair, followed by "Solanum spp. 4-5,8, S. radula4-5, S. jasminifolium4-5, S. tuberosum (=Potato)8." According to Wolfram Mey, the leading lepidopterist of the Museum of Natural History (MfN), Berlin:
The symbol means that the species has been reared from/on the particular plant. The symbol has been in use particularly by the old British authors, particularly Lord Walsingham, and is also used on the labels attached to the specimens. (translation by Dr. Michael Ohl)
What this tells us is Lineodes integra (Eggplant Leafroller Moth) is reared on a variety of Solanum species, including Solanum tuberosum (Potato). This example was uncovered during a Name search for Solanum tuberosum; the resulting bibliography included a link to this volume on insects from the Biologia Centrali-Americana, which seemed unusual given the search was for a plant species. This demonstrates why we'd want to facilitate proximity searches, so that users could find pages where both Lineodes integra and Solanum tuberosum occurred to aid in the discovery of predator-prey, plant-pollinator, or other coevolutionary relationships.

This example also suggests that our OCR algorithms are woefully inadequate to infer these kinds of relationships through automated means; the crosshair symbol was identified as ©.

-Chris Freeland

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"An amazing service ... "

"The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) today released a suite of name services that provide deep links into the rich and growing online collection of biodiversity materials. The BHL is a consortium of major natural history and botanical libraries, all of whom are contributing appropriate materials to be digitized and mounted online. These items are also contributed to the Internet Archive, and therefore are freely available for anyone to download. This alone would be worthy of attention, but the name services released today provide an amazing service to anyone interested in the literature of biodiversity."

Roy Tennant, Library Journal Blog, "Biodiversity Heritage Library Releases Name Services"
Roy Tennant discusses the BHL Name Service in his latest blog posting. Tennant also points out the usefulness of such tools in the digital library world.

- Martin Kalfatovic

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

BHL Name Services v.1.0 released

Name Services

Last updated: January 28, 2008 Mike Lichtenberg

Overview

The name services are XML-based web services that can be invoked via SOAP or HTTP GET/POST requests. Responses can be received in one of three formats: XML wrapped in a SOAP envelope, XML, or JSON.

If you want to use SOAP to invoke the service methods, you can navigate to http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.asmx to view the available methods. From that page, you can view the WSDL document for the web service, or click on each method to see detailed information about invoking the method and about the data that is returned.

If you are using HTTP to invoke the methods, the services are located at http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx. Note the difference in the extension on the service URL: ASHX for HTTP vs. ASMX for SOAP.

Descriptions of each service, as well as more details on invoking the methods via HTTP follow.

Methods

NameCount

Returns the number of unique confirmed names in the BHL database.

If the optional start and end dates are specified, then only names added or updated between the dates are counted.

Requests

SOAP:
NameCount()
NameCountBetweenDates(“01/01/2008”, “01/31/2008”)

HTTP returning XML:
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameCount&format=xml
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameCount&startDate=01/01/2008&endDate=01/31/2008&format=xml/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameCount&startDate=01/01/2008&endDate=01/31/2008&format=xml

HTTP returning JSON (with and without a user-specified callback):
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameCount&format=json
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameCount&startDate=01/01/2008&endDate=01/31/2008&format=json
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameCount&format=json&callback=MyCallback
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameCount&startDate=01/01/2008&endDate=01/31/2008&format=json&callback=MyCallback

Responses

XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<NameResponse xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
<Status>ok</Status>
<NameResult>436445</NameResult>
</NameResponse>

JSON:

{
"Status":"ok",
"ErrorMessage":null,
"NameResult":436445
}

These responses show that there are 436445 unique names.

NameList

Returns a list of unique names from the BHL database.

There are two required parameters. “startRow” identifies the first name to return, and “batchSize” indicates how many names to return. The maximum allowed “batchSize” is 1000.

Optionally, “startDate” and “endDate” parameters can also be specified. If the dates are specified, then only names added or updated between the dates are returned.

Each of the following request and response examples assumes a startRow value of 1 and a batchSize value of 5.

Requests

SOAP:
NameList(“1”, “5”)
NameListBetweenDates(“1”, “5”, “01/01/2008”, “01/31/2008”)

HTTP returning XML:

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameList&startRow=1&batchSize=5&format=xml
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameList&startRow=1&batchSize=5&startDate=01/01/2008&endDate=01/31/2008&format=xml

HTTP returning JSON (with and without a user-specified callback):

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameList&startRow=1&batchSize=5&format=json
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameList&startRow=1&batchSize=5&startDate=01/01/2008&endDate=01/31/2008&format=json
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameList&startRow=1&batchSize=5&format=json&callback=MyCallback
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameList&startRow=1&batchSize=5&startDate=01/01/2008&endDate=01/31/2008&format=json&callback=MyCallback

Responses

XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<NameResponse xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
<Status>ok</Status>
<NameResult>
<Name>
<NameBankID>3456919</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Aalius</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>8498321</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Aamia</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>1803753</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Aaronsohnia</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>4053043</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Ababactus</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>240834</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Abacina</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
</NameResult>
</NameResponse>

JSON:

{
"Status":"ok",
"ErrorMessage":null,
"NameResult":[
{
"NameBankID":3456919,
"NameConfirmed":"Aalius",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":8498321,
"NameConfirmed":"Aamia",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":1803753,
"NameConfirmed":"Aaronsohnia",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":4053043,
"NameConfirmed":"Ababactus",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":240834,
"NameConfirmed":"Abacina",
"Titles":null
}
]
}

Calling this method repeatedly, you can parse the entire list of names. Here is an example of how that might be accomplished:

x = 1;
numberOfNames = BHLService.NameCount();
while (x <= numberOfNames)
{
// Get the next 1000 names
Names = BHLService.NameList(x, 1000);

… do something with Names…

x += 1000;
}

In this example, “BHLService.NameCount()” and “BHLService.NameList()” represent calls to the Name Service methods. Implementation details for these will vary depending on the toolset (PHP, Java, .NET or other) and method (SOAP or HTTP) used to interact with the web service.

NameSearch

Returns a list of names that match exactly or start with the specified name.

The required “name” parameter identifies the name for which to search.

Each of the following request and response examples assumes a name search for “zea mays”.

Requests

SOAP:
NameSearch("zea mays")

HTTP returning XML:

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameSearch&name=zea+mays&format=xml

HTTP returning JSON (with and without a user-specified callback):

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameSearch&name=zea+mays&format=json
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameSearch&name=zea+mays&format=json&callback=MyCallback

Responses

XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<NameResponse xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
<Status>ok</Status>
<NameResult>
<Name>
<NameBankID>3875305</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Zea mays</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>5416258</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Zea mays ceratina</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>5416273</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Zea mays convar. ceratina</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>5416702</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Zea mays convar. mays</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>5416216</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Zea mays subsp mays</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
<Name>
<NameBankID>5416216</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Zea mays subsp. mays</NameConfirmed>
</Name>
</NameResult>
<NameResponse>

JSON:

{
"Status":"ok",
"ErrorMessage":null,
"NameResult":[
{
"NameBankID":3875305,
"NameConfirmed":"Zea mays",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":5416258,
"NameConfirmed":"Zea mays ceratina",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":5416273,
"NameConfirmed":"Zea mays convar. ceratina",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":5416216,
"NameConfirmed":"Zea mays subsp mays",
"Titles":null
},
{
"NameBankID":5416216,
"NameConfirmed":"Zea mays subsp. mays",
"Titles":null
}
{
"NameBankID":5416232,
"NameConfirmed":"Zea mays tunicata",
"Titles":null
}
]
}

NameGetDetail

Returns the publication details for the specified NameBankID.

The required “nameBankID” parameter identifies the NameBankID for which to retrieve publication details.

Requests

SOAP:
NameGetDetail("4906323")

HTTP returning XML:

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameGetDetail&nameBankID=4906323&format=xml

HTTP returning JSON (with and without a user-specified callback):

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameGetDetail&nameBankID=4906323&format=json
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/services/name/NameService.ashx?op=NameGetDetail&nameBankID=4906323&format=json&callback=MyCallback

Responses

XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<NameResponse xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
<Status>ok</Status>
<NameResult>
<NameBankID>4906323</NameBankID>
<NameConfirmed>Ternatea</NameConfirmed>
<Titles>
<Title>
<TitleID>340</TitleID>
<MarcBibID>b11931073</MarcBibID>
<PublicationTitle>Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club.</PublicationTitle>
<PublicationDetails>New York : Torrey Botanical Club, 1870-</PublicationDetails>
<BPH>284.15</BPH>
<TL2>8194</TL2>
<Abbreviation>Bull. Torrey Bot. Club</Abbreviation>
<TitleUrl>http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/title/b11931073%3C/TitleUrl>
<Items>
<Item>
<ItemID>8004</ItemID>
<BarCode>21753000029560</BarCode>
<MarcItemID>i12323901</MarcItemID>
<CallNumber>QK1 .B9673</CallNumber>
<VolumeInfo>1899 v. 26</VolumeInfo>
<ItemUrl>http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/21753000029560%3C/ItemUrl>
<Pages>
<Page>
<PageID>710633</PageID>
<Year>1899</Year>
<Volume>26</Volume>
<Issue>12</Issue>
<Prefix>Page</Prefix>
<Number>658</Number>
<PageUrl>http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/710633%3C/PageUrl>
<ThumbnailUrl>http://images.mobot.org/viewer/viewerthumbnail.asp?cat=botanicus7&client=b11931073/21753000029560/jp2&image=21753000029560_0774.jp2%3C/ThumbnailUrl>
<ImageUrl>http://images.mobot.org/viewer/vieweronly.asp?cat=botanicus7&client=b11931073/21753000029560/jp2&image=21753000029560_0774.jp2%3C/ImageUrl>
<PageTypes>
<PageType>
<PageTypeName>Text</PageTypeName>
</PageType>
<PageType>
<PageTypeName>Index</PageTypeName>
</PageType>
</PageTypes>
</Page>
</Pages>
</Item>
</Items>
</Title>
</Titles>
</NameResult>
</NameResponse>

JSON:

{
"Status":"ok",
"ErrorMessage":null,
"NameResult":
{
"NameBankID":4906323,
"NameConfirmed":"Ternatea",
"Titles":[
{
"TitleID":340,
"MarcBibID":"b11931073",
"PublicationTitle":"Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club.",
"PublicationDetails":"New York : Torrey Botanical Club, 1870-",
"Author":null,
"BPH":"284.15",
"TL2":null,
"Abbreviation":"Bull. Torrey Bot. Club",
"TitleUrl":"http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/title/b11931073",
"Items":[
{
"ItemID":7997,
"BarCode":"31753002261557",
"MarcItemID":"i12323834",
"CallNumber":"QK1 .B9673",
"VolumeInfo":"1892 v. 19",
"ItemUrl":"http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/31753002261557",
"Pages":[
{
"PageID":653636,
"Year":"1892",
"Volume":"19",
"Issue":"2",
"Prefix":"Page",
"Number":"56",
"PageUrl":"http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/653636",
"ThumbnailUrl":"http://images.mobot.org/viewer/viewerthumbnail.asp?cat=botanicus6&client=b11931073/31753002261557/jp2&image=31753002261557_0083.jp2",
"ImageUrl":"http://images.mobot.org/viewer/vieweronly.asp?cat=botanicus6&client=b11931073/31753002261557/jp2&image=31753002261557_0083.jp2",
"PageTypes":[
{
"PageTypeName":"Text"
}
]
}
]
},
{
"ItemID":8004,
"BarCode":"21753000029560",
"MarcItemID":"i12323901",
"CallNumber":"QK1 .B9673",
"VolumeInfo":"1899 v. 26",
"ItemUrl":"http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/21753000029560",
"Pages":[
{
"PageID":710633,
"Year":"1899",
"Volume":"26",
"Issue":"12",
"Prefix":"Page",
"Number":"658",
"PageUrl":"http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/710633",
"ThumbnailUrl":"http://images.mobot.org/viewer/viewerthumbnail.asp?cat=botanicus7&client=b11931073/21753000029560/jp2&image=21753000029560_0774.jp2",
"ImageUrl":"http://images.mobot.org/viewer/vieweronly.asp?cat=botanicus7&client=b11931073/21753000029560/jp2&image=21753000029560_0774.jp2",
"PageTypes":[
{
"PageTypeName":"Text"
},
{
"PageTypeName":"Index"
}
]
}
]
}
]
}
]
}
}

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Discovered Bibliographies' through Natural Language Processing algorithms

"Names, especially those ascribed to organisms, serve as a primary entry point into the scientific, medical, and technical literature..."
- Garrity, Lyons, 2003, Future Proofing Biological Nomenclature

A characteristic of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) that distinguishes it from other mass digitization projects is the incorporation of service-based algorithms to identify scientific name strings throughout digitized content. These 'taxonomically intelligent' services, powered by uBio.org's TaxonFinder and NameBank, have been incorporated into the BHL Portal to provide names-based interfaces into taxonomic literature.

To begin a search, visit http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/NameSearch.aspx, or view an example 'discovered bibliography' for Tapirus bairdi (Baird's Tapir), including an illustration, at http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Tapirus_bairdi. The ability to generate these 'discovered bibliographies' for taxa will enable users to data mine taxonomic literature for references and resources in ways not previously possible.

How it works
Each digitized page image in BHL has an accompanying OCR text file. As users navigate to a page, the uncorrected OCR file is sent to uBio's TaxonFinder, which identifies text strings that match the characteristics of Latin binomials. Those potential name strings are then compared to the 10.7 million+ names in uBio's NameBank, and the results, both matched and unmatched, are stored in the BHL database. BHL also has automated processes to reindex pages at regular intervals since NameBank is a growing repository.

What we've found
As of 20 Nov 2007 more than 6.8 million potential name strings have been identified throughout the BHL corpus, with more than 3.8 million matched to a corresponding NameBank identifier. There are more than 431,000 unique names within that 3.8 million set. Of those, more than 156,000 are known by a single occurrence. These results will be evaluated more thoroughly in the coming months to determine potential errors such as false positives and how to refine the TaxonFinder algorithm to reduce them.

Caveat: These results are generated from uncorrected OCR, which range in quality from pretty good (contemporary publications, such as modern issues of Rhodora) to downright terrible (18th century Latin texts, such as Species Plantarum). Again, further evaluation is required to determine the full scope of this problem.

Where we're headed
To see a simple example of how this can be used from external sites, check out the 'External Links' at the bottom of the Wikipedia article for Mimosa pudica L., the sensitive plant:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimosa_pudica

Up next is development of a service layer on top of the names index so that other application providers can query & display 'discovered bibliographies' within their own applications. This service will be deployed in early 2008. These services are now available for use.


Chris Freeland
chris.freeland (at) mobot (dot) org

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Three Hundred Years of Linnaean Taxonomy


The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History hosted a day long symposium to celebrate 300 years of Linnaean taxonomy. In addition to the symposium, the museum featured an exhibition of a 1st Edition of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae. The exhibition, "A Tribute to Carl Linnaeus, 1707-1778" (November 13-14) features the author's own copy of Systema Naturae (courtesy of the Swedish Embassy), with illustrations by Georg Dionysius Ehret. At the evening reception, the Biodiversity Heritage Library displayed the online version of the 1758 edition of Systema (from the Missouri Botanical Garden Library) and there was also an appearance by Linnaeus [as envisioned by Hans Odöö].

The Linnaean Systema was previously on display at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden (November 8-10).

Friday, November 9, 2007

Flora, Fauna, and Fine Books


The latest issue of Fine Books & Collections (November/December 2007) includes an excellent article on the Biodiversity Heritage Library. "Flora and Fauna: Creating a Global Library of Life, One Digital Page at a Time" by Rebecca Rego Barry and Scott Brown is an excellent overview of the BHL project.

Interviews with Doug Holland (Director, Missouri Botanical Garden Library), Graham Higley (Chair, BHL board and Head of Library and Information Services, Natural History Museum, London), and Tom Garnett (BHL Director).

Bibliophiles will enjoy the illustration from Herbarius (1484) from the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) Library collections.

Doug Holland also steps out from behind his desk to pose with a portion of the MBG rare book collection.

- Martin Kalfatovic

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

BHL Portal, an early review

This site displays an elegantly designed simplicity that the web developer in me finds irresistible. It’s a marketing nightmare, but a researcher’s dream - a system to quickly and easily find the information you want with minimal distractions.

Is this any way to run an archive? You bet it is!

The above quote is from the "Family Matters" blog, a site dedicated to family historians. And now, it's not discussing the latest and greatest genealogy site, but rather the Biodiversity Heritage Library portal.

This is an encouraging notice - not only for the fact that the outstanding usability and functionality that Chris Freeland and his team at the Missouri Botanical Garden is building into the site - but also for the fact that the BHL literature will have uses beyond the taxonomic community in areas we can't even think of at this time!
- Martin Kalfatovic

Saturday, October 27, 2007

More BHL material online


The Biodiversity Heritage Library is currently scanning material five locations around the world. As materials are scanned, they are deposited directly into the Internet Archive repository. The links below will provide you with feed information on materials from the individual scanning centers as it becomes available:
Internet Archive scanned materials will eventually be processed for delivery through the BHL portal site

BHL Presentation at LITA National Forum

Suzanne C. Pilsk and Martin R. Kalfatovic (Smithsonian Institution Libraries) made an hour long presentation, "The Biodiversity Heritage Library Mass Digitizing Project: A Grandeur in this View of Digital Libraries", on the BHL at the LITA National Forum held in Denver, Colorado, October 6, 2007.

BHL members attend Open Content Alliance in San Francisco


Eight BHL member staff attended the 3rd Open Content Alliance meeting held in San Francisco on October 17, 2007. In addition to the main meeting, BHL member staff took to time to arrange a number of technical meetings with Internet Archive staff, the development team of the OpenLibrary.org project, and others in the Bay Area.

The BHL was also featured in the Open Content Alliance article that appeared "above the fold" on the front page of the New York Times (October 22, 2007): "Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on the Web"

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New name finding functionality

We've released new functionality in BHL to allow users to search across all the scientific names we've indexed throughout our digital library and view a bibliography of occurrences - what we're tentatively calling a "discovered bibliography". To view in action, begin here:

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/NameSearch.aspx

You can search by any taxonomic name, such as Poa annua, or Poaceae, to return results.

Next steps will be to allow users to search for a taxonomic name & return results for it and its synonyms, or taxa below. But before implementing that advanced functionality, we'd like to make sure this works well for a single taxonomic name. Please give it a try and leave comments below. --Chris Freeland

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2 Million pages!


BHL member libraries have approached the 2 million page mark on digitized taxonomic literature. In addition to the 717,000 pages hosted on the BHL portal and approximately 800,000 pages currently hosted on member library websites, there are now nearly 400,000 pages available through the Internet Archive. Work is underway to integrate all pages within the BHL portal with applied taxonomic intelligence.

Internet Archive scanning operations are underway at four locations:
  • Natural History Museum (London): 247,357 pages
  • Boston Library Consortium (Boston Public Library): 135,482 pages
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Fieldiana and others): 12,638 pages
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries: 12,514 pages

BHL members gather at Missouri Botanical Garden


September 12-13, 2007. St. Louis. Twenty-six BHL member staff gathered at the Missouri Botanical Garden to discuss technical and organizational meetings. BHL members were joined by Jim Edwards (Encyclopedia of Life), Betsy Kruger (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), and Robert Miller (Internet Archive).

Right: Dr. Peter Raven (Director, Missouri Botanical Garden), welcomes the BHL to the Garden.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Scanning starts at Smithsonian Libraries


On August 15, 2007, Internet Archive staff (Melissa Bell) began scanning BHL materials at Smithsonian Libraries. The Smithsonian Libraries' Scribe joins operations in Boston, London, and Urbana-Champaign that are contributing to the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

BHL @ SIL Presentation


On June 25, the Smithsonian Libraries hosted over 40 librarians at the "BHL @ SIL" event held in conjunction with the American Library Association conference in Washington, DC.

Links to all the talks will be available shortly.

Program:Welcoming Remarks. Nancy E. Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

The Biodiversity Heritage Library: A Cornerstone of the Encyclopedia of Life”. Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

An Overview of the New York Botanical Garden Digitizing Program”. John Mignault, Systems Librarian, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, The New York Botanical Garden

“Universal Access to Human Knowledge: Book Scanning at the Internet Archive.” Robert Miller, Director of Books, Internet Archive

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

BHL Presentation: Washington, DC: June 25, 2007

The Biodiversity Heritage Library: An Overview Hosted by Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Join Smithsonian Libraries’ staff and others for an overview of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) project. The BHL is a cooperative mass-scanning project done in collaboration with the Internet Archive. The BHL plans to digitize a significant portion of the legacy taxonomic literature (pre-1923 and selected titles after) and provide open access for all users.

In addition to an overview of the BHL project by two member librarians, Robert Miller of the Internet Archive will discuss the Internet Archive scanning project. There will also be time of a visit to the Smithsonian Libraries’ Internet Archive Scribe Scanning station located down the hall from the meeting room.

Program:
Welcoming Remarks. Nancy E. Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library: A Cornerstone of the Encyclopedia of Life”. Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

“An Overview of the New York Botanical Garden Digitizing Program”. John Mignault, Systems Librarian, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, The New York Botanical Garden

“Universal Access to Human Knowledge: Book Scanning at the Internet Archive.” Robert Miller, Director of Books, Internet Archive

LATEST LOGISTICS

WHEN:
The talks will last from 10 – 11:30 am. Please try and arrive at about 9:45 am to get into the building and to the room. There will be a mild security check (bag check, etc.). I hope to have visitor passes prepared ahead of time for everyone.

WHERE:
Please come to The National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution). Please enter the building through the entrance at 10th St. and Constitution Ave. The building does not open to the public until 10 am. If you arrive early, come in and identify yourself as attending the BHL meeting and the security staff will pass you in. Smithsonian Library staff will be waiting to escort you to the presentation room. If you arrive after 10:15 or so and there are no escorts, please call the Smithsonian Libraries’ Director’s Office (202.633.2240 – this can be done from the security desk or via cell phone) and staff will come and get you.

Logistics:
When: June 25, 2007, 10 am to 11:30 am
Where: Smithsonian Libraries, National Museum of Natural History, Cathy Kerby Seminar Room, East Court, CE340
Contact: Please RSVP to Martin Kalfatovic (kalfatovicm@si.edu ; tel: 202.633.1705). Staff will be on hand to escort visitors to the Kerby Seminar Room
Details: visit the BHL blog for additional information on this event: http://biodiversitylibrary.blogspot.com/

Links:
BHL Blog: http://biodiversitylibrary.blogspot.com/
BHL portal: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org

BHL Member Institutions:
American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY)
The Field Museum (Chicago, IL)
Harvard University Botany Libraries (Cambridge, MA)
Harvard University, Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Cambridge, MA)
Marine Biological Laboratory / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Woods Hole, MA)
Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, MO)
Natural History Museum (London, UK)
The New York Botanical Garden (New York, NY)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Richmond, UK)
Smithsonian Institution Libraries (Washington, DC)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Discussion of ZooBank and BHL at the Smithsonian


The Smithsonian hosted the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature's meeting on ZooBank on May 11th. The Biodiversity Heritage Library was a key discussion point of a number of the talks.

Speakers included Andrew Polaszek (ICZN), David Patterson (MBL, pictured left), David Remsen (GBIF, pictured right), Richard Pyle (Bishop Museum), and Donat Agosti (AntBase).

BHL mentioned on NPR's Science Friday

Thanks to Dr. Gary Borisy from MBL for mentioning BHL on NPR, and to Brewster Kahle from the Internet Archive for calling the Biodiversity Heritage Library a "shining example" of open access!

From the NPR web site:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10136879
This week, scientists announced a new effort to create an online encyclopedia of life. Pulling information from labs, libraries and museums around the world, organizers aim to make a multimedia Web page for every known species on the planet. Gary Borisy, a project leader, discusses the effort.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10136882
Several organizations are working to digitize and make available online all the information that might be hiding on the shelves of libraries around the world. Leaders in the digital libraries community talk about how they intend to go about putting every book published online.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Biodiversity Heritage Library and Encyclopedia of Life Launch!


2007-05-09-dscn0229
Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic.
The BHL officially went live today with the launch of the Encyclopedia of Life. After a press event at the National Press Club (Washington), EOL, BHL, friends, and supporters gathered at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington to celebrate the official launch of the project.

Please view the EOL website (www.eol.org).

The EOL demo pages featured BHL content related to Polar Bears, Rice, the yeti crab, and the death cap mushroom.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

1.25 million pages

The BHL member libraries now have approximately 1.25 million pages online or queued for delivery. Over half of these pages are available through the BHL portal (www.biodiversitylibrary.org).

Two major collections not yet available through the portal include:

Monday, April 30, 2007

BHL Meetings

Organizational and Technical BHL Meetings

  • BHL Executive and Technical Meetings, Missouri Botanical Garden, September 12-13, 2007
  • BHL Executive Committee Meetings, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, May 8-10, 2007. General meetings organized around the Encyclopedia of Life launch.
  • BHL Workshop Organizational and Technical Meeting. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University. February 7-8, 2007
  • BHL Member staff will attend the Open Content Alliance meeting in San Francisco (October 20, 2006)
  • BHL Member staff will attend the TDWG meetings in St. Louis (October 17-18, 2006) for technical discussions
  • BHL Member directors or their representatives will meet at the New York Botanical Garden, August 31, 2006
  • BHL Members and invited participants met at the Smithsonian Institution on June 12, 2006

BHL Presentations

Presentations on the BHL by staff from BHL member institutions

2008
  • The Biodiversity Heritage Library by Martin R. Kalfatovic and Suzanne C. Pilsk. National Agriculture Library: Issues and Answers Seminar. January 30, 2008. Beltsville, MD.
2007
2006