Friday, October 02, 2009

Biodiversity Heritage Library sparklines

Time for a quick and dirty Friday afternoon hack. Based on responses to the BHL timeline I released two days ago, I've created a version that can compare the history of two names using sparklines (created using Google's Chart API). I use sparklines to give a quick summary of hits over time (grouped by decade).

The demo is here. It's crude (minimal error checking, no progress bars while it talks to BHL), but it's home time. As an example, here is a screen shot comparing the occurrences in BHL for two rival names for the sperm whale, Physeter catodon and Physeter macrocephalus:

There is a link to the full timeline for each of these names so you can investigate more. Note that the sparklines will be heavily biased by BHL coverage, but it may yield some interesting insights into the history of the usage of a name.