Libraries Receives $1.5 Million from Seidell Fund

American marine conchology; or Descriptions and coloured figures of the shells of the Atlantic coast of North America. By Timothy A. Conrad. Philadelphia: Printed for the author, 1831. The Libraries has received $1.5 million from the Smithsonian’s Atherton Seidell Endowment Fund. This award will support the Libraries’ participation in the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) for the next five years. The award will fund various BHL projects, including purchasing a high-speed digital camera for the digitization of folio volumes and large fold-outs, designing an effective digitization work flow to incorporate locally scanned materials into the BHL portal, subsidizing two library technicians for ongoing digitization and purchasing storage material for the potential rehosting of the Libraries’ and BHL content. In addition, the award will provide for increased scanning onsite, as well as through the FedScan facility at the Library of Congress, and support a metadata technician to work on portal editing, bibliographic control and pagination to broaden the awareness and usability of BHL content. Previous Libraries’ digital projects funded by the Seidell Endowment include Biologia Centrali-Americana, Index Animalium, more »

BIREME Headquarters In the afternoon of February 11 I visited the headquarters of BIREME and met with technical and library staff. BIREME is an important technical and library project in Brazil. Founded in the 1960s, it has played an important role in the dissemination of health science and related information within Latin America. Most recently, BIRMEME has launched SciELO (Scientific electronic library online), an important aggregation of science publications online. SciELO participants include much of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Portugal and Spain. SciELO is both a publication platform as well as a delivery tool and is used by a wide variety of journals. SciELO is also fully open access with no subscription or access charges for users. At BIREME, I met with Marcia Y. Barretto (overseeing IT infrastructure and related activities), Fabiana Montanari (on the library side of things) and Renato Toshiyuki Murasaki (the lead technical developer). Marcia also introduced me to a number other support staff and also gave me a tour of the physical more »

Visit to the Instituto Evandro Chagas, Belém, Brazil

Instituto Evandro Chagas, Belém, Brazil Along with Abel Packer and Marcia Barretto of BIREME, I paid a visit to the library and director of the Instituto Evandro Chagas.  The Institute is a basic and clinical research institution located in Belém with an extensive campus. A wide variety of research is carried out there, with a specialization in diseases of the Amazon. It is a recognized leader in these areas. The library is nearly totally virtual with very few print collections. Serving the researchers of the Institute, the library is located in an beautiful new building on the campus, the library reading room was filled with researchers working at terminals. Following on the library meeting, we met with Elizabeth Conceição de Oliveira Santos, director of the Institute. Dr. Santos discussed the need for increased online materials, and integration of these materials in the learning environments. – Martin R. Kalfatovic

Visit to the Museum of Zoology, University of São Paulo

Museum of Zoology,  University of  São Paulo On February 11, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Zoology, part of the University of  São Paulo. The museum has a collection of over eight million specimens and a fine library. The library of the museum will be an important part of Brazil's collaboration in the Biodiversity Heritage Library. After arriving, I was given a tour of the museum which helped to set the context for the library collection. Currently, the major temporary exhibition is on Charles Darwin. As part of the exhibition, the museum has pulled numerous examples of the types of species Darwin collected and ingeniously displayed them in cases that emulate the look and feel of type types of packing cases Darwin would have used on the voyage of The Beagle. Also included in the exhibition were editions of Darwin's works and publications related to Darwin from the library's collections. Moving behind the scenes, I was given a tour of the entomology collection (one of the museum's more »

Biodiversity Heritage Library presentation in Belém, Brazil

 At the conclusion of the Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial, I traveled from São Paulo to the northern city of Belém to attend the XXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia. Belém was founded in the 17th century and served as a major trading port and capital of the rubber boom of the 19th century. A key gateway to Amazonia, Belém is a fascinating place with an abundance of exotic fruits and freshwater fish. At the Congress, I presented on the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The Congress was attended by over 2,500 zoologists from around Brazil and the world. My session. which focused on various aspects of scientific literature. My fellow presenters were: Dr. Abel Packer, Director of BIREME and Dr. Hussam Zaher, Director of the Museum of Zoology, São Paulo. Our session was introduced by Dr. Nilson Gabas, director of the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi (in Belém). There was also a presentation by Dr. Bráulio Dias, Director of the National Biodiversity Program, Ministry of Environment. About sixty people  attended the more »

British Beetles

British beetles. Transferred from Curtis's British entomology. With descriptions by E.W. Janson. (1863) Contributed by the Smithsonian Institution Here is a wonderful image from a volume that was previously highlighted on the Biodiversity Heritage Library blog by Erin Jean Thomas. The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the digitization component of the Encyclopedia of Life, is a consortium of 12 major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions organized to digitize, serve, and preserve the legacy literature of biodiversity.  Prior to digitization, the resources housed within each BHL institution have existed in isolation, available only to those with physical access to the collections. These collections are of exceptional value because the domain of systematic biology depends–more than any other science–upon historic literature.  Consequently, the relative isolation of these collections presented an antiquated obstacle to further biodiversity investigation. This problem is particularly acute for the developing countries that are home to the majority of the world’s biodiversity.

Biodiversity Heritage Library meetings in São Paulo, Brazil

Tom Garnett and myself, along with our colleague Chris Freeland from the Missouri Botanical Garden, traveled  to São Paulo, Brazil to attend the Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial (Workshop Essential Rare Works Collection in Biodiversity). The purpose of the workshop was to explore collaboration between the Biodiversity Heritage Library and a recently funded project to digitize biodiversity literature in Brazil. We met for three days with a group of nearly thirty librarians and technical staff  from libraries throughout Brazil. Our host for the meeting was Abel L. Packer, Director of BIREME. Also attending the meeting were Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Director of the National Biodiversity Program, Ministry of the Environment, and David C. Oren, Coordinator of Biodiversity in the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Hussam Zaher, Director of the Museu de Zoologia. A meeting agenda and list of participants can be found online. (pictured above, left to right, Abel Packer, Tom Garnett, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, and Hussam Zaher) – Martin R. Kalfatovic

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