Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BHL Modern

The reaction of the post on IPBES made me think why we all stick so much in the legacy literature. This is clearly a quagmire very expensive to move in what we need today, that is access to its content. To work on this needs a lot of tools that need be customized not only to different languages but different styles, fonts, almost anything one can imagine. What we experienced with our little effort to make all the ant literature available for the Malagasy ants is, that the conversion of a scanned image of a text into a semantically enhanced TaxonX is complicated and needs quiet some domain expertise. This is its own science. A science very different from publishing semantically enhanced publications from scratch.

What this really means, that besides best practices and pitfalls, working on prospective publishing is something very different. For that reason, I think we should create a BHL-Modern.

BHL-Modern would not be centered around articles but around treatments - the stuff the taxonomist and most of the users want. The main archive would not be scans of books or publications, but its content, treatments that are linked to the original source. It could also have a department of old literature that are extracted from BHL and then either linked to the digital source that is publicly available or then to BHL-Modern members only for stuff that is under copyright. Special sections would include ontologies, definitions of measurements, bibliographic records, abbreviations, some of which can be shared with BHL.


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