Biodiversity Heritage Library staff attend the 7th Annual Global Plants meeting in Panama

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BHL Program Director Martin Kalfatovic and Harvard Botany Librarian Judy Warnement attended the 7th Annual Global Plants meeting. Chuck Miller (Missouri Botanical Garden) serves on the GPI Steering Committee. The Global Plants Initiative, originally sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, has provided funding for the digitization of herbarium specimens and related materials that are made available via the JSTOR Global Plants platform.

JSTOR Global Plants/GPI provides a worldwide audience with invaluable access to botanical information. BHL member institutions (New York Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Natural History Museum, London, and the Smithsonian Institution) have contributed herbarium and other data to JSTOR Plants/GPI since its inception.

Key topics at the meeting included methods to achieve sustainability in the post-Mellon environment; performing gap analyses to see which areas of botany are underrepresented; partnerships with other biodiversity organizations; and reports from participants’ projects. The meeting brought together nearly 150 people from 39+ countries.

Poster sessions were interesting and informative. Illustrations from BHL were featured in a number of the posters. At left is a poster from Sofie De Smedt from the Botanic Garden Meise (Belgium) which included BHL illustrations.

From Global BHL, Geoffrey Mwachala (National Museums of Kenya) and Serena Lee (Singapore Botanic Garden) participated. The meeting provided plenty of opportunities to meet with users of BHL. As always, it was gratifying to hear that BHL has become a key resource for taxonomists and other biodiversity researchers. Opportunities for socializing included a dinner at the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal and another in the Casco Antiguo (the old part of Panama City that overloops the Bay of Panama and the Pacific mouth of the canal). There were also excursions to Parque Natural Metropolitano (Metropolitan Natural Park), a large rainforest park in the middle of Panama City; and Parque Nacional Soberanía (Soberania National Park).

In addition to some amazing flora and invertebrates, we spotted toucans, turtles, frogs, howler monkeys, and an agouti (Dasyprocta punctataor) or two.




Avatar for Martin R. Kalfatovic

Martin R. Kalfatovic is BHL Program Director and Associate Director, Digital Programs and Initiatives Division, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. As the BHL Program Director, Mr. Kalfatovic functions as the executive director and manager of the international consortium of over 80 natural history, botanical garden, government, and university libraries engaged in the mass digitization of taxonomic literature. The position also serves as a key contact for government, NGO, and academic leaders at both the national and international level. Within his role at Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, Mr. Kalfatovic is responsible for the Libraries’ active Digital Library program. This program includes the creation of digital editions of library materials, online exhibitions, and new digital publications.