BHL paper delivered at 8th Shanghai International Library Forum in Shanghai

I had the honor of delivering an invited paper to the 8th Shanghai International Library Forum in Shanghai, China, 8 July 2016. The paper, Enabling Progress in Global Biodiversity Research: The Biodiversity Heritage Library, co-authored with Constance Rinaldo (Mayr Library, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University and BHL Vice-Chair) covered BHL’s growth from a project to a cornerstone of biodiversity infrastructure, where sustainability, appropriate expansion, and collaboration with national and pan-national digital libraries (Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America) became more important. With significant contributions relevant throughout the world, the BHL is integral to key databases and data aggregators (e.g. Tropicos, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, the Encyclopedia of Life), and has engaged the research community in tool development and content reuse. The paper was published in Libraries: Enabling Progress, The Proceedings of the Eighth Shanghai International Library Forum. Shanghai Scientific and Technological Literature Press, Shanghai, 2016, pp. 406-418.

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About the Forum:

It is organized by the Shanghai Library (Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of Shanghai) and co-organized by the Shanghai Society for Library Science and the Shanghai Society for Scientific & Technical Information. At this year’s event, approximately 300 delegates from 27 countries attended.

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The theme of the forum is “Libraries: Enabling Progress”. The conference focused on hot issues and topics, the latest research achievements, innovative ideas, advanced technology and the latest developments related to the theme. It included in-depth and extensive academic discussions. Well-known experts and scholars were invited to present keynote speeches and thematic reports. To ensure the academic quality of this forum and attract more submissions, scholars of library and information science, managers of libraries and information agencies, and professionals from all fields at home and abroad were invited to submit papers and attend the conference.

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After opening congratulatory speeches by national and local politicians, the program began with a series of plenary sessions:

  • Libraries: A Call to Action. Donna SCHEEDER, IFLA President
  • Change and Innovation: Reflection on the Future Development of Librarianship in China. HAN Yongjin, Director, National Library of China
  • The Library and Cultural Transmission by YU Qiuyu, Chairman, Shanghai Library Council, China
Yu’s talk was a highlight. A famous Chinese cultural scholar, theorist, cultural historian and writer, he discussed the key role of the library concept in the transmission and preservation of culture.


A second plenary session was chaired by Ai Cheng TAY, Deputy Chief Executive, National Library Board, Singapore and include the following talks:

  • Fiat Lux (Let there be Light!): a Vision for Re-imagining McGill Library Space for 2050. C. Colleen COOK, Trenholme Dean of Libraries, School of Information Science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada
  • New Digital Tools of the Jalisco Public Library as Mobile App, Renewal of Website and Intranet. Juan Manuel DURÁN JUÁREZ, Director, Public Library of Jalisco State, Mexico


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The BHL presentation followed on the second full day of the Forum and was well received by the audience.

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Marc GILBERT, Lyon Municipal Library, France, introducing the session (above)

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.