Monday, March 4, 2013

Coming Soon! A New and Improved Biodiversity Heritage Library

Sneak Peek! The soon-to-be-released BHL homepage!

The BHL team has been hard at work for the past year developing a new user interface (which will become live on March 18, 2013!) based on usability studies and the design and functionality of the BHL-Australia portal. BHL-Australia staff* partnered with BHL-US/UK staff to merge the user-praised aesthetics and book viewer of the Au portal with the functionality of the US/UK portal.

Besides a whole new look and feel, users will be able to navigate more easily within books, with the ability to view multiple columns of pages on screen at once, scroll quickly to a specific page within the book, and view the book's OCR text alongside page images.

The new book viewer, which will include options to view multiple columns of pages on the screen at once and view OCR text alongside page images!

Users will also be able to select pages for their custom PDFs while in the book-viewer mode, allowing for easier PDF construction. They will also have the ability to review all pages in their PDF before generating it. And don't worry! You'll still be able to download the entire PDF and redirect easily to Internet Archive for more download options.

The new PDF generation process, which will allow you to select pages for your PDF while in book-viewer mode and review your PDF before generation.

Download options in the new book viewer.

Perhaps the most exciting enhancement, however, will be the ability to search for articles, chapters, and other book segments within BHL. Using algorithms developed by Rod Page of BioStor, a selection of BHL content has been broken down to individual articles and parts, which will be indexed and searchable on BHL. Furthermore, a new tab in the advanced search screen will make it even easier to search for specific articles. And, when you're viewing a book that has been broken down into its articles/chapters, a new Table of Contents feature will allow you to see all of those parts and redirect to each one with a single click. And of course, BHL's APIs, OpenURL interface, and Data Exports will be modified to include available article and chapter information.

The new advanced search, which includes the option to search specifically for articles, chapters, and other book segments.

At the time of release, we expect to have over 81,000 articles, chapters, and other segments available in BHL. Additional articles and chapters will become available as the collections continue to be indexed.

We've also been working to improve our name-finding algorithms. Shortly after the release of the new interface, we'll be implementing a new algorithm which will be able to identify more scientific names throughout the BHL corpus than ever before. That means, when you search for a species name in BHL, you'll get more results, thus receiving a more accurate reflection of the species' publication history.Test applications of this algorithm on a portion of the BHL corpus have already resulted in an increase in nearly 50 million name instances in BHL, translating to over 20 million new unique names identified. These newly-identified names are currently available in BHL.

When can you expect all of these wonderful improvements? The new user interface will launch on March 18, 2013! To get a sneak peek at the new interface and its functionality, check out "A Guide to the New BHL."  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates, and be sure to check back on our blog and BHL for the official announcement of the new BHL! 

* Thanks to the following BHL-Australia staff who contributed to the original BHL-Australia Design and the BHL-Au and BHL-US/UK merge: First, to those who designed and developed the original BHL-Australia portal on which our new website is based, we thank Simon O'Shea (Designer) and Michael Mason (Developer). Secondly, to the BHL-Australia staff that worked with the US staff to merge the two UIs, we thank Simon Sherrin and Ajay Ranipeta (Developers) and Simone Downey (Designer - design based on original design by Simon O'Shea). And finally, a special thanks to Ely Wallis, BHL-Australia Director and Chair of the Global BHL Executive Committee, who has selflessly supported the dedication of her staff's time to this process.