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The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
Attendees of the Biodiversity Heritage Library annual meeting pose for a group photo in front of the greenhouses in Jardin des Plantes in Paris, France

2023 BHL Annual Meeting – Together Again in Paris

The BHL Consortium gathered for its Annual Meeting in Paris, France, from 17-21 April. Hosted by the library of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN), the event included BHL business meetings, tours of library and museum sites, and a public symposium. Delayed since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting gathered 38 attendees (both in-person and virtually) from 22 BHL partners from around the world.

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BHL Day 2023

As part of our Annual Meeting, BHL and the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN) hosted a public symposium on 19 April at the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution in Paris. With the theme "Fostering Data Driven Natural Science through Open Digital Libraries," BHL Day 2023 brought together librarians, data scientists, researchers, and more from across the biodiversity and digital library communities.

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Ukrainian Українська Collection with BHL and USDA National Agricultural Library logos

Ukrainian Українська Collection

In April, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Library (NAL) partnered with BHL to release the Ukrainian Українська Collection. This collection includes rare and unique titles covering biodiversity research in Ukraine over the past two centuries, including previously uncataloged material. Through the digitization of historic materials related to biodiversity research in Ukraine, this project will help support Ukraine’s scientific community by providing access to these important resources.

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Diagram of the 8 steps of the BHL wikidata round trip.

BHL is Round Tripping Persistent Identifiers with the Wikidata Query Service

BHL's Cataloging and Metadata Committee partnered with Wikimedians to test an experimental data pipeline between the BHL database and Wikidata in order to enhance BHL author records, improve the committee's ability to disambiguate author names in BHL, and to support a user request to expose BHL's author data through the BHL user interface and include links out to other authoritative knowledge bases.

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Page 18 of the Kew Record Book with handwritten list of plants

Travelling Plants:

A Collaborative Project

During 2020, the Archives team at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew developed a collaboration with the University of Roehampton, the University of the Third Age (U3A), and BHL to create a model for the archive sector which uses volunteer-driven, remote methods to transcribe and research collections, making them easily shareable and accessible using TEI-XML encoding. The team selected one of Kew’s most important, but inaccessible volumes to digitize, transcribe, encode, and make accessible in BHL – the Kew Record Book

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Technical development: year in review. Critical updates. New features and enhancements. Data quality improvements.

BHL Technical Development: Year in Review

In January, we took a look back at the major technical developments of 2022, including critical upgrades to the BHL infrastructure, new features to our user interface, and data quality improvements through OCR reprocessing and metadata corrections to provide better taxonomic name recognition and more relevant search results across the collection. Thanks to the dedicated work of the BHL Technical Team and feedback from users like you, BHL is delivering on its strategic goal to provide tools and services that facilitate the discovery of BHL content to improve research efficiency for all potential users.

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In Memoriam: David Remsen

In December, BHL lost one of its key founding figures - David Remsen. As a staff member of the MBLWHOI Library working with BHL’s inaugural Vice-Chair, Cathy Norton, David’s innovative and groundbreaking work in taxonomic name finding (uBio) and parsing taxonomic index (Nomenclature Zoologicus) laid the groundwork for much of BHL’s taxonomic infrastructure. In 2006, at the Smithsonian meeting that formalized the creation of BHL, David led the work that incorporated groundbreaking taxonomic bioinformatics in the eventual BHL user interface. 

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