IFLA Presentation on Expanding Access to Natural History Illustrations

BHL was invited to give a talk at a one day session called “Worth a Thousand Words: A Global Perspective on Image Description, Discovery, and Access.” This session was part of the IFLA World Library and Information Congress held in Columbus, Ohio from August 13-19th 2016.

The talk, entitled “Expanding Access to Natural History Images: the Biodiversity Heritage Library and its Global Consortium,” focused on the ways that BHL has sought to improve access to its images, which are mostly hidden within the books and journals on its portal. It featured the image content found on our Flickr and Science Gossip sites and emphasized the cross-disciplinary importance of this content, which appeals to a wide variety of audiences including artists, biologists, humanities scholars, historians of science, librarians, educators and outreach professionals. The talk concluded with a discussion of how to gauge the success of our sites, which we do by looking at statistics, user engagement, coverage by the media, and the extent to which we reach new audiences.

Reception to the talk was very positive. The presentation also allowed us to reach new audiences, particularly since most of the librarians present work mostly with humanities materials and at least half of the audience was not familiar with the BHL and its content.

The session was also held in an unusual location – a cartoon museum! Specifically, it was the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum on the campus of Ohio State University. Attendees to the session were also treated to lunchtime discussion with artist Jeff Smith, who is an American cartoonist who created the comic book series Bone, as well as a tour of the library and museum.

Slides from the talk are available here. All slides from the session are here.

How do citizen science activities like Flickr tagging and Science Gossip help transform research? Find out below and start contributing today!

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Trish Rose-Sandler is a Data Project Coordinator at the Center for Biodiversity Informatics (CBI) of the Missouri Botanical Garden.