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From the TDWG and BHL Africa Workshop, BHL Director Martin Kalfatovic traveled to Madagascar for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) 22nd Meeting. He met up with Constance Rinaldo (BHL Vice Chair and librarian at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard).
Problems with the custom PDFs created on the BHL website on 11/22 and 11/23 have now been resolved. The links to access any PDFs that were generated during this time should now work. If you still experience problems, please send us feedback: http://biodiversitylibrary.org/contact. Thanks for your patience!
Eight years ago I attended my first Biodiversity Heritage Library staff meeting at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and it was there I was asked to report at the meeting on what I thought the philosophy behind a project to build a global freely accessible online biodiversity library was. My thoughts at that time hovered somewhere around deeply idealistic and altruistic ideas having to do with like-minded libraries collaborating to make the foundation of legacy scientific literature, then accessible only to few, accessible to all. These ideas also related to the growing open access movement.
William John Burchell is credited “with having been the most prolific collector of botanical and zoological specimens.”  During a four-year scientific exploration of South Africa, he amassed a collection of over 63,000 specimens. And yet, Burchell’s contributions to science have been largely overlooked. As William Swainson bemoaned, “science must ever regret that one whose powers of mind were so varied…was so signally neglected in his own country.”  2015 marks the 200th anniversary of Burchell’s return to Cape Town following his four-year expedition in South Africa.
Have you ever stumbled across a caterpillar and wondered what kind of adult moth or butterfly it would metamorphose into? Short of catching the caterpillar and actually observing what adult it becomes, this answer might be harder to come by than you might think. Most taxonomy and identification has been performed on the adults of various Lepidopteran species, and there are still many species whose caterpillar forms are not readily known. This is particularly true for many Australian species whose early life stages remain a scientific mystery.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library was honored to receive the Internet Archive’s Internet Heroes award at the 2015 Library Leaders’ Forum in San Francisco, 21-23 October 2015. Hosted by Brewster Kahle and Wendy Hanamura, the Leaders’ Forum was attended by Internet Archive partners from across the world of cultural heritage institutions.
How could you make a visual record of a collection before the advent of photography? Through illustrations, of course. It was a desire to produce just such a record that prompted the creation of the magnificent plates accompanying De uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen, Asia, Africa en America (-1782), by Pieter Cramer, which has been digitized for BHL by Mann Library, Cornell University. Pieter Cramer was a wealthy linen and wool merchant from Amsterdam. Born in 1721, he had a keen interest in natural history – particularly Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).
The Biodiversity Heritage Library is an open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL’s global consortium of natural history, botanical, and research libraries cooperate to digitize and make their collections accessible as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.”