Hello from the NDSR Residents!

Over the next 11 months we will be collaborating as National Digital Stewardship Residents on several projects to develop recommendations and best practices for enhancing tools, curation, and content stewardship for the Biodiversity Heritage Library. As recent graduates of Master’s programs in Library and Information Science, we are excited to contribute to the field of digital stewardship through our work on the Biodiversity Heritage Library and develop leadership skills through the Residency model.
Alicia Esquivel is the Resident at Chicago Botanic Gardens where she is working on completing a content analysis of the quantity of literature in the field of biodiversity, the amount of that literature in the public domain, the representation of each discipline within BHL and an exploration of the methodologies to scope the collections and areas where BHL may target development to better serve the research population.
Marissa Kings is the Resident at the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County, where she is focusing on identifying high value tools and services used by large-scale digital libraries which might be applied to the next generation of BHL. She will also be exploring digitization workflows at NHMLAC and identifying items to be contributed to BHL.
Pamela McClanahan is the resident at Smithsonian Libraries where she will be conducting a user needs and usability analysis working with the larger taxonomic and biodiversity informatics community to determine user needs and services for providing increased value to BHL content. Pam will analyze this information and input to define recommendations and requirements for expanding the BHL digital library functionality.
Katie Mika, Resident at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology’s Ernst Mayr Library, is developing tools and methodologies for crowdsourcing full-text transcriptions and structured data from BHL’s manuscript items, including field notebooks, specimen collection records, correspondence, and diaries. Katie’s background is in Archives Management and building digital repositories to support description and access to digitized and born digital photograph, multimedia, and software collections.
Ariadne Rehbein is the Resident at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where she is focusing on natural history illustrations sourced from digitized biodiversity literature. Building upon the successful work of the “Art of Life” team members and citizen scientists, her project will incorporate user research and knowledge of digital scholarship to produce user interface requirements and a report on image discovery best practices.
As a cohort, we residents are collectively tasked with proposing options for substantial improvement to version 2 of BHL on the understanding that the underlying data structures and metadata schemas will be somewhat, if not completely, rebuilt. We therefore have quite bit of latitude to introduce cutting edge technology and incorporate various “wish list” features that BHL staff have collected over several months.
The NDSR at BHL blog will function as a dynamic record of our work with BHL and the NDSR program through December 2017. You can expect to read posts about our projects’ successes, challenges, and probably some failures in the next several months as well as some interesting discussions about biodiversity librarianship and content and data management in digital libraries. Occasionally we’ll also be posting about attending and presenting at professional conferences, participating at workshops, and engaging in other activities within the wider digital libraries community.
We also hope that our blog will serve as a tool to facilitate communication with other librarians and archivists and anyone interested in the future of BHL. To learn more about BHL or the NDSR program head over to the About page, which includes an overview of the IMLS supported “Foundations to Actions” grant that is funding each of our Residencies and the mission of the Biodiversity Heritage Library as well as some useful links.