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Friday, March 30, 2012

A Walk Down History Lane: Introducing the New BHL Facebook Timeline



In 1516, Conrad Gessner was born. His work Historiae Animalium is considered the beginning of modern zoology. In 1707, Carl Linnaeus, the Father of Modern Taxonomy, was born. In 1735, his monumental publication, Systema Naturae, forever changed the scientific world. In 1809, Charles Darwin, the force behind the Theory of Evolution, was born. His famous title On the Origin of Species revolutionized the way we think about the development of life when it was published in 1859.

Fastfoward to 2005. The Biodiversity Heritage Library was founded, with a website launch in 2007. Each of these events represent major milestones in the evolution of biodiversity research (if we may be so bold as to include ourselves among them). But these are just a few of the dates worth remembering, and more and more are occurring everyday as we build our scientific knowledge. How can we keep track of all these dates, we ask?

Cue the BHL Facebook Timeline!

Today, Facebook is rolling out its new timeline feature - a visual representation of the major milestones in a Facebook page owner's life. Using the feature, page owners create entries for the noteworthy events in their lives/projects, and these entries are added in chronological order to the timeline. By scrolling further down the Facebook page, visitors are taken on a journey through the highlights of the person's or project's life. You can even fast-travel to a specific year by clicking on it in the bar on the right-hand side of the new page layout.

But while our page includes our important project milestones, we thought, "Why stop there?" Why not create a timeline that not only showcases our major accomplishments, but also the important achievements in scientific and taxonomic history? So that's what we did. Scrolling through our timeline, you'll see entries for both the birth of our project as well as the birth of people like Charles Davies Sherborn and Carl Linnaeus. Look further and you'll discover markers for both the incorporation of new member libraries to the BHL consortium as well as the publication of ground-breaking works like Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands and Audubon's The Birds of North America. The list goes on and on.

Our timeline is far from complete. We'll be adding new events to the lineup regularly. Still, we think it's a pretty cool start to the documentation of scientifically-important people and events, especially since each milestone entry also provides us with space to give a description of the event and provide links to content about it in BHL. And don't worry; While the timeline is a cool new aspect of our page, you can still find the daily quizzes and news updates you've come to love.

So, take some time to explore our new Facebook page. You might be surprised at what you learn!

P.S. Got an idea for our Timeline? Tell us about it! Send us feedback, write a tweet to @BioDivLibrary, or post directly on our Facebook page!

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