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Tuesday, October 3 • 16:00 - 17:30
[S10 - Topic] 500 Years of Big Data from the Biodiversity Heritage Library

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With 89.9 terabytes of data spanning over 500 years of data collection, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is an important galaxy in the universe of biodiversity data. Embedded in those 89.9 terabytes are over 174 million species name occurrences and a currently unknown number of species occurrences, descriptions, identified traits, and related data--all locked in the over 500 years of data captured in the BHL. As a consumer of name occurrence data, BHL works closely with the GNA and data providers such as ITIS. Recent developments and activities of ITIS and how these enhance BHL will be discussed.
A current IMLS funded grant, "Foundations to Actions," has funded five post-grad residents to gather data for requirements of BHL Version 2.

An international consortium, the BHL partners work to make biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community. Through its extensive network of Members and Affiliates, over 52 million pages of biodiversity literature are now available through the BHL portal. Providing deeper access to the data contained in this literature is a goal of an ongoing project to provide full-text search capability to BHL. Technical details and use-case examples for this will be discussed.

BHL is not only data, but generates new data via wide-ranging and successful outreach activities. From tagging of images on Flickr, transcription of archival materials, and OCR correction from gaming activities, BHL has been able to leverage crowd-sourced input from users to better understand our collections. Outreach strategies designed to encourage citizen science activities will be discussed, as well as the importance of community engagement to sustain crowd-sourcing initiatives. Next steps and challenges related to incorporating crowd-sourced data into the BHL collection will also be addressed.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library has grown to be an important part of the infrastructure of biodiversity. In an attempt to solve the literature component of the taxonomic impediment, the BHL continues to provide access to legacy print publications and make this data widely available for reuse in collections support systems. This symposium will include a brief update on BHL activities since that 2016 TDWG. The final section of this symposium will be a guided discussion of desideratum and enhancements TDWG participants see as important for BHL.

Symposium participants will include representatives from the BHL Secretariat, BHL-related projects, ITIS, and other BHL partners.

avatar for Martin Kalfatovic

Martin Kalfatovic

Associate Director, Smithsonian Libraries / Biodiversity Heritage Library

Carolyn A. Sheffield

Smithsonian Libraries/Biodiversity Heritage Library

Tuesday October 3, 2017 16:00 - 17:30 EDT