Today, February 12, 2008, we celebrate the 199th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Last year we honored the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Linné and next year will be the double celebrations for Darwin’s bicentenary and the sesquicentennial (mark your calenders now for November 24th!) of the publication of On the Origin of Species. 2008 is thus a good year for those of us involved with the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) to pause for a moment between these landmark anniversary years of 2007 and 2009.
The Feb. 2, 2008 issue of Science News includes an article by Susan Milius (“Biological Moon Shot”) on the Encyclopedia of Life and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. BHL member staff Tom Garnett and Martin Kalfatovic are quote in the article.
Smithsonian Institution Libraries staff members Martin Kalfatovic and Suzanne Pilsk gave a presentation on BHL to staff from the National Agriculture Library, the USDA Agriculture Research Service, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and others.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History hosted a day long symposium to celebrate 300 years of Linnaean taxonomy. In addition to the symposium, the museum featured an exhibition of a 1st Edition of Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae. The exhibition, “A Tribute to Carl Linnaeus, 1707-1778” (November 13-14) features the author’s own copy of Systema Naturae (courtesy of the Swedish Embassy), with illustrations by Georg Dionysius Ehret. At the evening reception, the Biodiversity Heritage Library displayed the online version of the 1758 edition of Systema (from the Missouri Botanical Garden Library) and there was also an appearance by Linnaeus [as envisioned by Hans Odöö].
The latest issue of Fine Books & Collections (November/December 2007) includes an excellent article on the Biodiversity Heritage Library. “Flora and Fauna: Creating a Global Library of Life, One Digital Page at a Time” by Rebecca Rego Barry and Scott Brown is an excellent overview of the BHL project.
BHL’s existence depends on the financial support of its patrons. Help us keep this free resource alive!
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. Headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives in Washington, D.C., BHL operates as a worldwide consortium of natural history, botanical, research, and national libraries working together to digitize the natural history literature held in their collections and make it freely available for open access as part of a global “biodiversity community.”
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