[Taxacom] Finding articles

Francisco Welter-Schultes fwelter at gwdg.de
Thu Dec 15 09:23:40 CST 2011

John you wrote "some early articles", not all, and this is 
absolutely in agreement with the situation as I see it.

I checked the nomenclaturally relevant literature for the non-marine 
molluscs in Europe, 2000 papers, 1000 from before 1923. Of the 
pre-1923 works, 80 % were online, mostly at BHL. Papers between 1924 
and 1990 only 10 %, papers after 1990 15 %. Papers after 1995 were 
easier to obtain in electronic form because of many semi-illegal PDFs 
poking around, and you can often consult the author to send you a 
PDF. Most problematic are those from 1923-1990, most of this 
literature must still be ordered in the hard copy form in a public
library, as it had been 30 years ago. 

Missing 20 % of the pre-1923 literature: gaps in serial runs, 
non-biological literature (travel reports etc.), rare works, Italian 
and Scandinavian works, local European journals that were published 
in languages other than English. 

I anticipate that it will be very expensive to fill the gaps. 
Filling gaps in serial runs is technically the easiest problem and 
could be done by BHL libraries. Rare works can result to be almost 
impossible. Non-biological literature can be done by BHL but 
requires manual imput by users. European non-English non-German 
journals could partly be done by BHL libraries (they have holdings of 
perhaps 20-40 % of the Italian, Scandinavian and local French 
serials), other non-English literature must be done in local projects 
and depends on local and national funding resources. 

In summary, it will take a long time until the last 10 % or the 
pre-1923 works will be online, and I see still no solution 
visible at the horizon how to get the literature from 1923-1995 
online in any legal form. European and US libraries have no chance. 
If we are very happy, Australians and Chinese will help us some day 
for the works until 1955.

I strongly recommend to help BHL by using the BHL scanning request 
function. BHL libraries cannot know which travel literature and 
otherwise non-biological literature might contain biodiversity 
related content. They definitely need direct input from the taxonomic 

University of Goettingen, Germany

More information about the Taxacom mailing list