BHL LEADS Project at the 2019 iConference

Gretchen Stahlman (left), LEADS Fellow and doctoral candidate at University of Arizona, and Carolyn Sheffield (right), former BHL Program Manager now based at the Albin O. Kuhn Library of UMBC, presenting their poster at the 2019 iConference.

BHL was pleased to have the results of their participation in the 2018 LIS Education and Data Science for the National Digital Platform (LEADS-4-NDP) shared via a poster at the 2019 iConference held at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) from 31 March – 3 April, 2019. The LEADS program, funded by the Institution of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and led by Drexel’s Metadata Research Center, supported ten Fellows in 2018 to develop data science skills by contributing to fast-paced, 10-week projects at several different host sites throughout the US. This conference provided an opportunity to present BHL’s LEADS project alongside those from two other 2018 LEADS Fellows as well some Fellows who were recently selected for the 2019 program.

Jointly hosted by UMD, Syracuse University, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the conference theme was Inform, Include, Inspire. Keynotes included ‘Libraries in the Digital Age: Now What?’ presented by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and ‘Opening Our Libraries: Millions of Books Online Through Controlled Digital Lending’ delivered by Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. The conference itself was well-attended with strong international representation.

The poster session was held on the afternoon of April 2 and included about 90 posters. The BHL poster was authored by Gretchen Stahlman, LEADS Fellow and doctoral candidate at University of Arizona, and Carolyn Sheffield, former BHL Program Manager now based at the Albin O. Kuhn Library of UMBC. The poster, entitled ‘Geoparsing Biodiversity Heritage Library Collections: A Preliminary Exploration’ provided an overview of an investigation into different approaches for identifying and disambiguating geographic names, and then translating toponyms to polygons or point locations on a map.

The poster abstract, along with others from the conference, is available on the University of Illinois IDEALS website.

Geoparsing Biodiversity Heritage Library Collections: A Preliminary Exploration’ poster by Gretchen Stahlman and Carolyn Sheffield, presented at the 2019 iConference.

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.

Gretchen Stahlman is a PhD candidate in the School of Information at the University of Arizona (UA). She holds a Master of Science degree in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and she previously worked in United States and Chile as a Documentation Specialist for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. As a UA iSchool graduate student, Gretchen has participated in several projects exploring curation and cyberinfrastructure strategies for hidden or at-risk datasets in biology and astronomy, including assisting in development of the new “Astrolabe” repository and suite of tools for analysis and management of astronomical data. Gretchen also served as a Research Development Fellow in the UA Office for Research, Discovery and Innovation during the 2015-16 academic year. Currently, Gretchen is focused on a dissertation project that implements a mixed-methods approach to identifying indicators of potentially uncurated astronomical data in the scholarly literature. Overall, her work aims to provide deeper insight into scholarly communication and data practices in astronomy, situated within broader initiatives and discussions related to open science.