BHL-Europe Final Meeting: 4 June 2012 – 6 June 2012

Officially, the BHL-Europe project already came to an end on 30 April. But for the BHL-Europe consortium members, the end came last week – after the final meetings and final review of the project in Berlin. It’s safe to say we went out with a bang… Here’s a recap of the final events, which included a symposium on the Convention on Biological Diversity, a BHL-Europe “Show and Tell”-moment and the final review!

BHL-Europe team in Berlin 2012

4 June 2012 – Communicating Biological Diversity
The first day saw the organization of a symposium on the topic of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was adopted 20 years ago.  We had speakers covering a broad range of aspects concerning the CBD implementation. Collaboration and integration are equally important for scientists and policy makers. We need a science-policy dialogue facilitated by a network of knowledge, where also BHL-Europe need to be part of via IPBES, the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services ( Global collaboration is necessary to facilitate knowledge, data and technology sharing, which also requires standardization. Another aspect is participation and training: we need scientific literate citizens all over the world to support the discovery of biodiversity and its sustainable use. We have seen tools and projects during the day that demonstrate a successful collaboration between experts and citizens.  Acknowledging the importance of citizen participation should not forget the work of taxonomists that need the right credit and support to deliver high quality biodiversity information.

Dinosaur hall of the Museum für Naturkunde

At night, a reception was held in the majestic dinosaur hall of the Museum für Naturkunde. BHL-Europe collaborators shook hands and mingled, while they ate, discussed the project or engaged in small talk.

 5 June 2012 – BHL-Europe Show & Tell
On Tuesday 5 June, the BHL-Europe Show and Tell was held, which mainly consisted of a roundup of the major milestones achieved over the course of the project. Henning Scholz of the Museum für Naturkunde kicked off a series of presentations, praising the consistency of the staff and the technical developments. He once again underlined BHL-Europe’s mission to make biodiversity knowledge available globally to anyone, which can now be achieved thanks to BHL’s high quality network of libraries, developers, taxonomists etc.

BLE and posters section in main meeting hall of Jerusalem Church 

Martin Kalfatovic of the Smithsonian Institute Libraries gave the next presentation, focusing on the Global BHL. He explained to us that BHL now has about 1.6 million users from a staggering 233 countries! Martin was followed by Lizzy Komen of Europeana, who among other things highlighted some of the content and several other Europeana projects, such as a collaboration with Wikipedia. Presentations on OpenUp!, the Biodiversity Library Exhibition and the GRIB (Global References Index to Biodiversity) were also held, as well as training sessions for future and current content providers and content users.

Chris Sleep and Jiří Frank during the portal demonstration

The end of the day was marked by a dinner cruise on the river Spree. BHL-Europe team members could just kick back and relax!

6 June 2012 – BHL-Europe Final Review
Wednesday 6 June saw the BHL-Europe Final Review by the European Commission. This closed session could only be attended by members of the BHL-Europe consortium, but we can give you a sneak peek of what happened.

Henning Scholz during discussion with reviewers 

The EC members were treated to several presentations presenting the project and its outcomes (not unlike the presentations on 5 June), after which they had the opportunity to ask questions. After a short deliberation, they came back to pass the final verdict … which was positive. The entire consortium was treated to a resounding “well done!” by the European Commission!  

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