SIL staff attend meetings on new book technologies

Nancy Gwinn, Martin Kalfatovic and Suzanne Pilsk attended two meetings sponsored and hosted by the Internet Archive. Held at the facilities of the Internet Archive in San Francisco, the gatherings focused on providing content and the future of books and reading in an online, and increasingly mobile, environment.

Medical Heritage Library invites Smithsonian Libraries’ staff to talk about the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Martin R. Kalfatovic, Assistant Director, Digital Services Divsion, was invited by the recently formed Medical Heritage Library (MHL) to share some some thoughts about the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The meeting was held in Rochester, MN, just around the corner from the famed Mayo Clinic. The MHL was formed in late 2009 using BHL as a model. Though the content of the two projects is much different, the congruent similarity is the focus on the heritage literature of the respective disciplines. Working with funding from the Open Knowledge Commons through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the MHL is a consortium of many of the top history of medicine collections in the United States. Members are: The National Library of Medicine (Bethesda, MD) Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine (Harvard Medical School) New York Public Library Long Health Sciences Library (Columbia University) Cushing/Whitney Medical Library (Yale University) Also on the presentation panel with me was Lori Jahnke (The College of Physicians of Philadelphia), CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Academic Libraries who is more »

Coalition for Networked Information Spring 2010 meeting

I attended, along with Marcia Adams, the spring meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) in Baltimore. Also attending were staff from the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). CNI holds both a spring and fall meeting. One of the great things about CNI is that it brings together library staff and staff from information technology (IT) departments from some of the world’s largest research institutions. Major topics at this meeting were open access to scholarly output; the role of institutional repositories; the increasing importance of data sets in the research environment (and the difficulties of handling them from both the library and IT perspective). I found the report on the “Faculty Attitudes 2009: Findings from the Latest Ithaka S+R Survey” particularly interesting; this report, which focuses on university faculty attitudes towards libraries is a must read. (you can find the full report here). Clifford Lynch, CNI Director, always gives a good summary of trends and hot topics; you can find “Cliff’s Roadmap for Spring 2010” here more »

A National Conversation on the Economic Sustainability of Digital Information

No kidding, on April 1, I attended the meeting, "A National Conversation on the Economic Sustainability of Digital Information" here in Washington.  The meeting was hosted by the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. Assembled to study economic sustainability of digital information, the task force was truly "blue ribbon". Among the members were Sayeed Choudhury (Associate Dean/Director of the Hodson Digital Research & Curation Center, Johns Hopkins University), Fran Berman (Vice President of Research, Professor of Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Brian Lavoie (Research Scientist, OCLC), Clifford Lynch (Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information), and the Smithsonian's own, Anne Van Camp (Director, Smithsonian Institution Archives). After a keynote address by Thomas Kalil (Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President of the United States), the full day meeting was organized around a series of "conversations" in which invited interlocutors conversed on topics related to digital preservation.  Secretary Clough, participating in the "Conversation about Research Data", in his 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 »

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