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Ernst Mayr Library Blog - Sat, 2013-12-07 10:16
I was privileged to attend and present as part of a symposium at the Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) meeting October 28-November 1, 2013. The theme for 2013 was “Virtual Communities for Biodiversity Science”, an apt theme for the global virtual Biodiversity Heritage Library. The venue was beautiful Florence, Italy and the weather was warm.
Six members of the Global BHL community participated in the symposium, “Crafting the Future of a Global Biodiversity Heritage Library for Diverse Communities’ Needs“. My contribution to the symposium was a review of feedback the BHL has received through surveys, interviews and messages, looking for common threads and what has been resolved.The most common thread throughout the years and echoed by the 50 or so audience members is: “Scan more!!”.
TDWG is a long and information-packed meeting that incorporates many topics of interest to the Biodiversity Heritage Library and librarians. Metadata, vocabularies for taxonomy, interoperability and linked open data are common themes at TDWG to which librarians, particularly those engaged in biological information, can relate. I particularly enjoyed the poster sessions. There were 31 posters and I will highlight a few in this post.
BHL partners such as ViBRANT http://vbrant.eu/), OpenUp http://open-up.eu/), BioStor http://biostor.org/), and Zookeys http://www.pensoft.net/journals/zookeys/) and others were represented at TDWG ensuring lively discussions. The poster “Bibliography of Life: Comprehensive services for biodiversity bibliographic references” (https://mbgserv18.mobot.org/ocs/index.php/tdwg/2013/paper/view/339) addressed de-duplicating and parsing the components of references from a variety of sources to improve and expand literature searching. Other posters highlighted object digitization and the TDWG Audubon Core (http://www.tdwg.org/standards/638/)metadata standard. The Naturalis Biodiversity Center reviewed their work digitizing collection objects, including videos, (https://mbgserv18.mobot.org/ocs/index.php/tdwg/2013/paper/view/395) using the Audubon Core standard for metadata. Another poster from Belgian institutions, Agora 3D Evaluating the Digitisation of Scientific Collections, reviewed scanning technology and techniques for biological specimens to develop a set of standards and protocols for museums (https://mbgserv18.mobot.org/ocs/index.php/tdwg/2013/paper/view/398). Other posters highlighted taxonomic information such as “From Dendroeca blackburniae to Dendrceca blackburniae: what’s in a name” https://mbgserv18.mobot.org/ocs/index.php/tdwg/2013/paper/view/344 citing the need for clean, correct scientific names to support names-based architecture and ” ComTax: Community-driven Curation for Taxonomic Databases”, a project designed to support manual correction and verification of name data (http://taxoncuration.myspecies.info/). The TDWG meeting has much to offer archivists and librarians looking for the biological perspective on metadata and curation. For the curious, you can find the uploaded presentations at the TDWG site.
Biology News - Thu, 2013-12-05 18:14
Biology News - Thu, 2013-12-05 18:14
Although it lived roughly 65 million years before the earliest known occurrence of figs, the fossil wasp's ovipositor closely resembles those of today's fig wasps. A 115-million-year-old fossilized wasp from northeast Brazil presents a baffling puzzle to researchers. The wasp's ovipositor, the organ through which it lays its eggs, looks a lot like those of present-day wasps that lay their eggs in figs. The problem, researchers say, is that figs arose about 65 million years after this wasp was alive.
Nature Newsblog - Thu, 2013-12-05 07:37
Science played only a minor role in today’s key statement on government spending from George Osborne, the United Kingdom’s chancellor of the exchequer. But he did promise more funding for science courses at universities, as the government seeks to expand the number of students in higher education. To this end, 30,000 extra university places will be created next year, and the current cap on numbers will be abolished entirely the year after that.
Osborne also promised that the United Kingdom would “push the boundaries of scientific endeavour, including in controversial areas”, and confirmed yesterday’s announcement that £270 million (US$441 million) will be invested in quantum technology. A road map for how the long-term capital spending announced earlier this year will be spent is to be produced for next year’s autumn statement.
Green issues also featured in today’s speech. The government has been criticized recently for apparently rowing back on its promise to be the ‘greenest ever’. Osborne confirmed that some taxes on energy — including some so-called green levies — will be removed, but he said this would be done in a low-carbon way. A planned increase in tax on petrol will also be cancelled.