[Taxacom] HHDB: hemihomonyms

Roderic Page r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
Mon Jan 18 11:59:46 CST 2010


Dear Francisco,

On 18 Jan 2010, at 17:27, Francisco Welter-Schultes wrote:

>> Sounds a gruelling process. I guess this is one reason why big
>> projects don't scale linearly -- throwing 10x as much money at
>> something doesn't get you 10x the results.
> Certainly. But with 1/10th of the money you can't do it either.
>
> Creating pizza is no option for a library. Interconnecting with
> databases that provide such tools is something else.
> BHL currently digitizes until 1920. The published geographical data
> background in the previous times is not so accurate. What would be
> your GPS record for "in Indiis"?
>
> An important step would be going beyond 1920. Librarians alone will
> not be able to make pressure for politicians changing copyright laws
> for scientific literature. I'd wish there were people in the
> bioscientific community getting themselves in positions where they
> have decisive influence on such political decisions. They would merit
> the Nobel prize. For literature...

The "BHL only digitises prior to 1923" is a bit of a myth. Yes, this  
is the default cut off, but there's a lot of post 1923 content. Take a  
look at the sparkline on the home page of http://biostor.org . The  
bulk of the 14,000 articles I've located in BHL are in the second half  
of the century (i.e., post 1950).

A lot of taxonomic content is published by scientific societies and  
natural history museums. One way forward is for those societies &  
museums to look at the copyright for their content, and if they  
haven't waived all rights to publishers, then they could make it  
available to BHL.

Obviously there are issues with georeferencing older literature. But  
there are various ways to do this, some of which might not seem  
obvious. For example, if a paper lists museum specimens examined, and  
those have been subsequently georeferenced (say, prior to uploading  
into GBIF), then we could use that to georeference the paper.

My concern with BHL-Europe is that if it's thought of as a library  
project, it's in big trouble at the outset. Google Books shows us a  
glimpse of what can be done with digitisation and text mining. The  
project is controversial, but one benefit has been to expose just how  
messy library catalogues are.


Regards

Rod



>
> Francisco
>
> University of Goettingen, Germany
> www.animalbase.org
>
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---------------------------------------------------------
Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
DEEB, FBLS
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

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