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Fall Newsletter 2013

The Biodiversity Heritage Library
Inspiring discovery through free access to biodiversity knowledge

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) works collaboratively to make biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.


Building and Strengthening Global Initiatives
Left to right: Martin Kalfatovic, Connie Rinaldo, Trish Rose-Sandler, 
Lucy Waruingi, William Ulate, Jiri Frank 
On October 30, BHL hosted a symposium, "Crafting the Future of a Global Biodiversity Heritage Library for Diverse Communities' Needs," at the 2013 TDWG Conference in Florence, Italy. In keeping with the conference theme of "Virtual Communities for Biodiversity Science," six members of the Global BHL community (pictured above) participated in the symposium, presentating on strategies for creating, expanding and maintaining a multinational digital library programme; digitisation platforms, standards and services; creating value-added features for discipline-specific communities; use of social media and outreach to increase use and build new audiences; and migration from projects to sustainable programmes. The symposium took place on 30 October 2013 and was attended by over 50 TDWG participants. 
Learn more about each of the presentations delivered at the Symposium:

NESCent-EOL-BHL research sprint
In September, BHL co-announced a research sprint inviting applications to participate in an event to pioneer the mining of the Encyclopedia of Life ( and the Biodiversity Heritage Library (  Successful applicants will be matched with an informatician, in 2 person teams, who will receive support to travel to and work on-site at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) for 4 days.  The event will be designed to make actual discoveries through joint activities and to test the "computability" of major biodiversity databases like BHL and EOL.  Proposals were accepted through November 15, 2013 and are being evaluated in terms of the scientific value of the project and the qualifications of the applicant.  We look forward to seeing some very exciting research projects grow out of this!  To learn more, please visit: 
Celebrating Alfred Russel Wallace! 
In honor of the 100th Anniversary of Alfred Russel Wallace's death, BHL coordinated with Wallace100 events, including those organized by our partners at the Natural History Museum, London, to celebrate his life and contributions to science through a social media campaign November 4 - 7, 2013.  A contemporary of Darwin, Wallace was a naturalist, explorer, environmentalist, and human rights activist who independently reached similar conclusions on evolution and natural selection.  BHL Marketing Intern Kirsten Hostetler highlighted his autobiography as part of our Book of the Week series on the BHL blog. Tweets, Facebook posts, and an iTunes U collection rounded out the campaign.  


See the Alfred Russel Wallace collection in BHL:  

BHL at Conference and Events

In addition to BHL's participation at the TDWG 2013 meeting in Florence, BHL Members maintained an active presence at library and natural history conferences this fall.  Trish Rose-Sandler and Daron Dierkes presented two BHL projects at the Digital History and Philosophy of Science (Digital HPS) meeting held at Indiana University, Bloomington, September 6-7. Trish Rose-Sandler presented on The Art of Life and Daron Dierkes spoke about the George Engelmann Correspondence Project. Both projects are providing new content types to the BHL portal and help to contextualize BHL's published literature and expand its audiences.  On October 3, Alison Harding of the Natural History Museum, London presented at the 8th Meeting of European Bird Curators, held in Prague.  Her presentation, "BHL: The Vast Library of Life," provided an overview of the Biodiversity Heritage Library and showcased the tools and resources which BHL offers as a free, open access project.  On October 11, Doug Holland and Trish Rose-Sandler of the Missouri Botanical Garden delivered a presentation, "Breathing New Life into Old Date - How Opening Your Collection Can Spark Imagination and Inspire Creative Re-use," at the Missouri Libraries Association conference held in St. Louis, MO.  A week later on October 18, Jackie Chapman, Becky Morin and Bianca Crowley delivered a joint presentation for the completely virtual Library 2.013 conference, "Greasing Squeaky Wheels - A user-centered approach to collection management, technical development and resource allocation for a digital library". The presentation detailed the functionality of BHL's issue tracking system, Countersoft's Gemini product, as well as the strategy to focus on only the specific feedback received from actual users, thus maximizing the output of BHL's highly distributed and limited staff resources to resolve issues "just-in-time". 

BHL Launches Appeal for Donations!


The BHL's substantial growth and activity is supported in part by our dedicated patrons whose gifts we depend on to fund the digitization of additional literature, technical development for the program, and improvement of data curation. This November, the BHL Secretariat worked with the Smithsonian Library's Office of Advancement to craft a BHL Appeal to help foster the continued growth of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.  Within the first week of the Appeal, 10 donors from 5 countries--the United States, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, and Jamaica--contributed a total of $523.36.  We're honored by the quick response of these donors and very grateful for their generosity! 


Considering making a contribution of your own? Please visit: 




In This Issue
Building and Strengthening Global Initiatives
NESCent-EOL-BHL research spring
BHL Celebrates Alfred Russel Wallace
BHL at Conferences
BHL Appeals Launched!
Staffing Changes
BHL at a Glance
Volumes Online: 120,000+

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