[Taxacom] Life and Literature Code Challenge

Chris Thompson xelaalex at cox.net
Wed Aug 31 15:28:58 CDT 2011


I appreciate the CHALLENGE, but I should remind ALL that "supposedly" the 
BHL literature is automatically linked to species pages of the Encyclopedia 
of Life (EoL). That is, as BHL literature is digitized, the contents are 
scanned by uBio for scientific names. And then a link is made to the 
appropriate species page.

So, the real challenge is getting the programmers of EoL to find a way so as 
to properly prioritize the order in which references to BHL literature is 

And that may be in part something that taxonomists must do manually. That 
is, make a taxonomic judgment about what are the most important references 
beyond the obvious first (original description) and see that the links 
appear in the proper order from most important to insignificant.

For you all who do not know our Encyclopedia of Life, go to www.eol.org and 
look, for example, at the species page for Musca domestica Linnaeus, the 
common house fly and click on the BHL link [beware, the EoL will be changing 


You will see more than a hundred or so links, but none to the original 
description (Linnaeus 1758) simply because Linnaeus NEVER made the 
combination Musca domestica in the TEXT. The genus name is in the running 
header and the epithet is left justified in the margin! So, the combination 
is not picked up in the automatic scanning by the uBio people, etc.

But also just look at the mass of links. Sam six-pack who might was to learn 
what was buzzing about his bud would be totally confused!


Chris Thompson
from home

-----Original Message----- 
From: John Mignault
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 3:40 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Life and Literature Code Challenge

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is sponsoring a Code Challenge as
part of the Life and Literature conference being held in Chicago
November 14-15.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of 12 natural
history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make
accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their
collections and to make that literature available for open access and
responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” BHL also
serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of
Life (EOL). BHL content may be freely viewed through the online reader
or downloaded in part or as a complete work in PDF, OCR text, or
JPG2000 file formats.

Your challenge is to provide

    a new, innovative way to use, disseminate or display BHL data
    a description of what your project is trying to accomplish
    the source code to reproduce the application
    any libraries or supporting code needed to reproduce the application
    any build instructions or scripts are needed to build application
or instructions how to run it
    any notes about your experience implementing this code: how you
came up with your design, blind alleys you went up, or surprising
problems you ran into or anything else you want to share.

The dataset
Through local and global digitization efforts, BHL has digitized over
32 million pages of taxonomic literature, representing over 45,000
titles and 87,000 volumes (January 2011). The entire -corpus- dataset
is freely available and accessible via many open methods.


Deadline for entries is October 17, 2011. The winner will be announced
on November 1, 2011.

More details are available on our website at

Thanks, and enter!


John Mignault
Systems Librarian
The LuEsther T Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden


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