This episode of In The Know Podcast is something a little different—it’s a video, so you’ll only receive it automatically if you’re subscribed to the media feed, or you can view it in your browser in this post after the jump.
Earlier this month, I had a unique opportunity to attend a meeting held at the Natural History Museum, here in Washington, DC. The meeting was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, the Internet Archive, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library—which itself is a collection of ten major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions.
These groups are working together to gather the wealth of knowledge in institutional libraries in biodiversity, and make the literature available to all online, via what they call a “global biodiversity commons.”
Already, the Biodiversity Heritage Library scanned and categorized over 1.124 million pages of key taxonomic literature, and made it available to anyone around the globe with a web browser and an Internet connection.
With just my digital camera (sorry for the quality), I was able to record a good portion of the two-hour presentation and have edited the video down into two parts. In this first video, we’ll see Tom Garnett from the Smithsonian who will talk about how the Institution got involved in scanning books and then Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive who discusses the process of digitally scanning, formatting, organizing, and distributing the hundreds of thousands of books. In the next video, we’ll watch a representative from the BioDiversity Heritage Library show-off the website (which is currently active), and how they have used open-apis to mash-up this old, but newly digitized knowledge with online resources to provide new and exiting ways to research and learn.