BHL Welcomes CONABIO as newest Member and Global Node!

BHL is thrilled to welcome CONABIO as its newest Member and Global Node!

Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity, or CONABIO) joined on December 16, 2014 and will also serve as the BHL’s newest global node, BHL Mexico.  CONABIO brings a strong conservation perspective and is positioned to help expand BHL’s reach to Spanish-speaking communities.

To kickoff their membership, CONABIO hosted representatives from BHL Central, December 15 – 17, at their offices in Mexico City.  Dr. Nancy E. Gwinn (Chair of the BHL Executive Committee and Director of Smithsonian Libraries), Martin Kalfatovic (BHL Program Director and Associate Director of Smithsonian Libraries), William Ulate (BHL Technical Director), and Carolyn Sheffield (BHL Program Manager)

participated in the meetings which included presentations, discussions on ways to participate in BHL, and a signing ceremony. Constance Rinaldo, Vice-Chair of the BHL Executive Committee participate in the meetings via teleconference.

CONABIO attendees included:
Dr. José Sarukhán (CONABIO National Commissioner), Dr. Patricia Koleff (Director of Analysis and Priorities), Dr. Carlos Galindo (Director of Scientific Communication), Hesiquio Benitez (Director of International Cooperation and Implementation), Karina Sánchez (Legal Coordinator), Juan Kasa (Director of Systems), Dr. Ana Isabel González (Invasive Species Coordinator), Dr. Esther Quintero (Priority Species Coordinator), Diana Hernández (Coordinator of Taxonomic Catalogues), Bernardo Terroba (Coordinator of Editorial Production), Jacinta Ramírez (Specialist in Documentation and contents), Dr. Raúl Sierra (Coordinator of Ecoinformatics), Alejandro Molina (Ecoinformatics), and Ana Luisa Guzmán (Technical Secretary)

On the first day, Dr. Patricia Koleff opened the meeting with a warm welcome to both BHL and CONABIO staff and an overview of the goals for the next few days. Martin Kalfatovic provided an overview of the various organizational and operations aspects of BHL.  In the afternoon, Dr. Patricia Koleff provided an overview of the history and operations of CONABIO.  Dr. Carlos Galindo presented on CONABIO’s numerous collaborations and provided a demo of their website.  The afternoon also included discussions on CONABIO’s goals for participating in BHL and the formation of an initial work plan for 2015.

December 16 was the big day with Dr. José Sarukhán joining the group for further discussions on the work plan and to formalize CONABIO’s new partnership with BHL.  Early that afternoon, Dr. José Sarukhán, Ana Luisa Guzmán, and Dr. Nancy E. Gwinn signed the BHL Memorandum of Understanding, officially making CONABIO the 17th BHL Member!


The next day, CONABIO staff were invited to attend presentations to learn more about BHL. Martin Kalfatovic presented on BHL’s organizational structure, financial overview, scanning and permissions priorities, website usage and social media engagement, and collaborations.  William Ulate provided a technical overview of BHL‘s scanning workflows, APIs, website functionality such as OCR and indexing capabilities, and current projects. Overall, it was a very successful session with 33 CONABIO staff in attendance and an engaged question and answer session in both English and Spanish.

We’re thrilled to have CONABIO on board and look forward to the exciting contributions that they will make to BHL, both locally and globally!


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Carolyn Sheffield served as the BHL Program Manager from July 2013 - February 2019. She is currently the Associate Director of Library Technology and Digital Strategies at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds a Masters of Library Science from the University of Maryland.