Monday, December 21, 2009


Today I finally got a project out the door. BioStor is my take on what an interface to theBiodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) could look like. It features the visualisations I've mentioned in earlier posts, such as Google maps based on extracted localities, and tag trees. It also has a modified version of my earlier BHL viewer.

There are a number of ideas I want to play with using BioStor, but the main goal this site is to provide article-level metadata for BHL. As I've discussed earlier (see also Chris Freeland's post But where are the articles?), BHL has very little article-level metadata, making searching for articles a frustrating experience. BioStor aims to make this easier by providing an OpenURL resolver that tries to find articles in BHL.

BioStor supports the OpenURL standard, which means it can be used from
within EndNote and Zotero. Web sites that support COinS (such as Drupal-based Scratchpads and EOL's LifeDesks) can also be uses BioStor (see for details).

My approach to finding articles in BHL is to take existing metadata from bilbiographies and databases, and use this to search BHL using techniques ranging from reasonably elegant (Smith-Waterman alignment on words to match titles) to down-and-dirty regular expression matching. Since this metadata may contain errors, BioStor provides basic editing tools (using reCAPTCHA rather than user logins at this point).

There's much to be done, the article finding is somewhat error-prone, and the search requires a local copy of BHL, and mine is rather out of date. However, it is a start.

To get a flavour of BioStor, try browsing some references:

or view information for a journal:

or an author:

or a taxon name: