Suzanne Pilsk – Unlocking the Index Animalium: From paper slips to bytes and bits

Event Date: 28 October 2011
Flett Lecture Theatre
Natural History Museum

 

Anchoring Biodiversity Information:

From Sherborn to the 21st century and beyond

Suzanne Pilskordon
Unlocking the Index Animalium: From paper slips to bytes and bits

Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
Co-authors: Joel Richard, Martin Kalfatovic
Email: PilskS@si.edu

Smithsonian Institution Libraries received funding in 2004 to digitize Sherbornís Index Animalium. The initial project was to digitize the pages images and re-key the data into a simple data structure. As the project evolved, a more complex database was developed to enable quality searching to retrieve species names and to search the bibliography. The OCRed, scanned Index Animalium was re-keyed to the specifications of 99.995% accuracy rate. Working off the lessons learned by MBL WHOI Libraryís project for Neaveís Nomenclator Zoologicus, simple expressions were used to break apart the re-keyed text.  Coinciding with the development of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (2005), it became obvious there was a need to integrate the scanned Index Animalium, BHLís scanned taxonomic literature, and taxonomic intelligence. The challenges of working with legacy taxonomic citation, computer matching algorithms, and making connections have brought us to todayís goal of making Sherborn available as open linked data. The goal is to allow repurposing of data, partnering with others to allow machine-to-machine communications and sharing information for broad discovery and access..

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