Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BHL Program Director gives keynote talk at the EOD Conference 2014

Helge Knuettel
(University of Regensburg)
introducing talk
On 11 April 2014, BHL Program Director Martin Kalfatovic gave a keynote address at the EOD Conference 2014. The conference, "EOD Conference 2014: Sustaining the networked future: use and reuse of digital content", was held at the University of Innsbruck. The talk was attended by about 150 librarians from around the European Union. EOD (eBooks on Demand) is a EU funded project to provide for digitization on demand for consortia members and this conference marked the close of the multi-year project.

The talk, entitled “Building for Demand: The Growth of the Biodiversity Heritage Library as Global Digital Library” can be found online here (and embedded below). More information on the conference.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Biodiversity Heritage Library Adds Washington University as New Member

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries, welcomes Washington University Libraries (St. Louis, Missouri) as a new member. The 14th member of the BHL consortium, Washington University Libraries will help identify and digitize historical science literature from its collections and add these to the BHL’s online holdings, where all materials may be accessed free by the public.
Olin Library at Washington University in St. Louis.
Photographer and copyright holder: Robert Benson.   

Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis is a medium-sized independent research institution widely recognized for its teaching, research, patient care and service to society. Washington University operates seven academic divisions (art and architecture, arts and sciences, business, engineering, law, medicine, and social work and public health), served by 12 libraries whose print holdings number nearly 4.5 million, in addition to millions more books and journals available electronically. For more information about Washington University Libraries, visit

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library is the preeminent global repository for historic science literature,” said Martin Kalfatovic, BHL program director and associate director for digital services at the Smithsonian Libraries. “We are excited that the Washington University Libraries are joining us in building a vast information center that provides resources to researchers, students and anyone interested in biodiversity.”

The current members of the BHL include: the American Museum of Natural History (New York, N.Y.), the California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco, Calif.), Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.), the Botany Libraries (Harvard University), the Ernst Mayr Library at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Cambridge, Mass.), the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), the Marine Biological Laboratory of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Woods Hole, Mass.), the Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, Mo.), the Natural History Museum (London), the Kew York Botanical Garden (Bronx, N.Y.), the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew, United Kingdom), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.), and the United States Geological Survey. Additionally, the three institutions participate at the affiliate level: the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, Ill.), American of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pa.) and the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County. Beyond the English-language efforts, BHL-Europe was founded and includes 28 institutions that are working to digitize European literature. In addition, China, Australia, Brazil, and Africa have created national or regional nodes that may be accessed through the BHL portal.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

BHL Technical Advisory Group meets at the Missouri Botanical Garden

For the 2014 BHL Technical Meeting, the BHL Technical Advisory Group (TAG) met at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) (2-3 April 2014) with William Ulate (Technical Director) and Martin Kalfatovic (BHL Program Director). Also joining the meeting were the BHL tech team based at MBG (Trish Rose-Sandler and Mike Lichtenberg), Carolyn Sheffield (BHL Program Manager), Bianca Crowley (BHL Collections Coordinator, by phone), and Connie Rinaldo (BHL Executive Committee Vice-Chair, by phone).

From left: William Ulate, Siang Hock Kia, Carolyn Sheffield, Mike Lichtenberg, John Mignault, Keri Thompson, Trish Rose-Sandler, Martin Kalfatovic, Joel Richard. Not pictured: Chris Freeland, Connie Rinaldo, Joe de Veer, Bianca Crowley)
The group met to review BHL technical development priorities, staffing and communications concerns, and related topics.  Over the course of the two-day meeting, the group discussed priorities in terms of both core BHL technical operations as well as special projects that BHL participates in.  Core operations include things such as server and website maintenance for  The Tech Team also works closely with the BHL Secretariat and BHL Staff to review user feedback related to technical issues as they arise as well as suggested improvements to BHL functionality.  For example, one area for technical development that has come to the top of the list is full text searching and we're excited to share that work is getting underway to make that a reality.

In addition, the Tech Team is also actively involved in three grant-funded projects to enhance BHL: Art of Life (NEH), Purposeful Gaming & BHL (IMLS), and Mining Biodiversity (IMLS via the Digging Into Data Challenge).  BHL also participates in technical discussions with the larger biodiversity community.  This past December, William Ulate (Technical Director) and Joe DeVeer (TAG Member) virtually attended the iDigBio CITScribe Hackathon in Gainesville, Florida.  In February, Ulate and TAG Member John Mignault participated in the NESCent-EOL-BHL research sprint.

All in all, the Tech Meeting was an opportunity to review several aspects of BHL's technical direction, identify priorities, and strategize communication workflows for existing and new priorities.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PDF Generation restored...

Dear BHL users:

We are glad to inform you that our IT staff has solved the technical difficulties found with our PDF Generation process.  We have tested the service and it seems to be working well.

We apologize for the inconveniences this may have caused you. Please let us know through our Feedback form if you find any issues with this or any other BHL functionality again.


William Ulate
BHL Technical Director