On May 20th, Graham Higley, head of library and information services at the Natural History Museum in London, accepted the 2010 John Thackray medal, which was awarded to the BHL in recognition of our past three years of work building our digital library. Mr. Higley (pictured left) accepted this award on behalf of Tom Garnett, Director of the BHL.
The John Thackray medal "recognizes significant achievements in the history or bibliography of natural history." According to the website for The Society for the History of Natural History, which awards this medal, "significant achievements" specifically include "making available ... collections and/or information in new and novel ways." While the 34 million + pages of literature that BHL has now made available for open access use, in addition to several of our special features, such as species name finding, the ability to generate your own custom PDF, and the opportunity to nominate titles for scanning, is a great start, this award serves as an encouragement to all of us at BHL to continue pushing the envelope and developing new ways to provide meaningful information and services to our users.
When asked to comment about the significance of this award for BHL, Mr. Higley responded,
"John Thackray was a past President of The Society for the History of Natural History (SHNH) and also the Archivist at the Natural History Museum, London (NHM) for several decades. It is particularly fitting that the BHL should be recognized by this award, since John and his colleagues in the SHNH made avid use of the historic collections at the NHM. It is now possible for their successors to look at or obtain copies of these rare early texts directly from the BHL, which is a truly global resource for historians as well as current scientists."
We send a special thanks to The Society for the History of Natural History for honoring us with this award. We plan to continue to provide rare, important, and relevant biodiversity information to our users, and promise to continue developing novel ways for our users to interact with and use this content.
For more information on the John Thackray Medal, see our previous blog post regarding the award and visit The Society for the History of Natural History website to see their official announcement of the award.