First look: the BHL-Europe portal

The Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe aims to make early published biodiversity literature accessible to anyone who’s interested. One of the most important access points to this content will be the BHL-Europe portal, which will be available in no less than 12 languages! The portal’s development now nears its end – and it’s high time we take a look at the homepage’s design and functionality.

The BHL-Europe portal

Simple search

The simple search function lets you search for the most frequent metadata: title, author, year (date of publication) and scientific name. Obviously, you need to enter at least one of those to perform a search. Several web services are integrated in the simple search: these include autocomplete search, fuzzy search and taxon finder for a scientific query.

In addition to this simple search, an advanced search option will also be available. More info on this function in the next development update!

Content highlights

One of the coolest features of the homepage is the rotating carousel. This carousel demonstrates some content highlights which are randomly generated from the content highlight archive whenever you visit the page.

Clicking on one of the books in the carousel will lead you to its bibliographic page (see next update). From there, you can simply read the book or download it in various formats. A pretty nifty way to uncover some hidden treasures in the BHL, don’t you think?

Help and tutorial

The rotating hint bar shows the user some useful information on the portal and gives him hints on how to effectively use its functionalities. A link to the BHL-Europe tutorial is also prominently displayed.

Social media bar

Finally, there’s the social media bar, which displays the last 3 posts on the BHL-E blog, Twitter and Facebook. This way, visitors directly see what we’ve been up to – and can easily click through to subscribe, like or follow. You can also subscribe to the BHL-Europe RSS-feed to keep up to date.
That’s it for our first look at the portal. Our next update will feature much more info (including on the advanced search option), there’s an interview with one of our developers coming up… stay tuned!

Authors: Jiří Frank and Nicolas Van Audenhove

BHL-Europe featured on regional Czech radio

On 6 January 2012, the BHL-Europe project was mentioned in the talk show “Our Guest”, on the regional Czech radio station Český Rozhlas Plzeň. This station covers one quarter of the Czech Republic and is also broadcast online.

The project was mentioned by Jiří Frank senior, the father of BHL-staffer Jiří Frank. Even though he is retired now, Frank sr. is a consultant for the Biodiversity Library Exhibition - a virtual exhibition of the content found in the Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe. Frank always did have a thing for literature – since his retirement, the former sailor and professional chef cook has become a succesful writer with two published story books!

The goal of the programme was to talk about stories on mariners, spices and modern pirates – but we’re very grateful that he was willing to mention our project on the radio. Thanks!

The two Jiří's with their dogs Šerina (L) and Sára (R) 

Authors: Jiří Frank and Nicolas Van Audenhove

Farmers Market welcomes BHL-Europe

The Farmers market in Prague (Czech Republic) was held several days before Christmas. Given that the farmers market attracts thousands of people (especially before holiday seasons), we jumped on the opportunity to present the BHL-Europe project!

But what does BHL-Europe have to do with a farmers market? The answer lies in the Biodiversity Library Exhibition – a virtual exhibition of the content found in the Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe. The first such exhibition focuses on spices, and their representation in old biodiversity literature. That’s why we decided to organize a “Get to know the spice”-event. Children and families were treated to a degustation, as well as to a variety of games and puzzles.
The BHL-Europe virtual exhibition BLE will officially be launched in February, but visitors to the Farmers market already got a good taste of what’s coming!

Check out more photos of the event on our Facebook page!

Author: Jiri Frank (National Museum, Prague)

BHL-Europe Newsletter and Website News

You want to stay up to date on the Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe? Then don’t forget to subscribe to the BHL-Europe newsletter! It will keep you posted on the project’s development status, meetings between consortium members, other digitization projects and much more…

The last newsletter dates from November 2011. It contains a variety of news worth checking out. Previous newsletters are found in the archive.

In other news, the BHL-Europe’s official website is now also available in Polish and Finnish, bringing the total of languages that the site is available in to ten. Soon to come: Portuguese, Hungarian and Dutch! Just like the BHL-Europe portal, the official website will eventually be available in 14 languages. Take a look!