Inspiring discovery through free access to biodiversity knowledge.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
BHL also serves as the literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life .

By Invitation Only

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is pleased to announce the 2017 BHL Open Day Symposium, to be held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on March 15, 2017.



Speaker Bios

Morning Session
Dr Nigel Taylor (Group Director, Singapore Botanic Gardens, National Parks Board)
Presentation title: “The Singapore Botanic Gardens’ History & Archives”.
Bio: Nigel Taylor has led the Singapore Botanic Gardens since September 2011, following a career spanning 34 years at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K. At both institutions he has been involved in obtaining UNESCO World Heritage status and in promoting the understanding of the gardens’ history.

Mr Martin R. Kalfatovic (Program Director, Biodiversity Heritage Library)
Presentation title: “Empowering Global Research in Biodiversity: The Biodiversity Heritage Library”
Bio: Martin R. Kalfatovic is the Program Director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library and Associate Director for Smithsonian Libraries. As the Program Director for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), a consortium of sixteen natural histories, research, and botanical garden libraries, he participates in the global coordination of the BHL project working with BHL partners in China, Brazil, Australia, the European Union, Egypt, Singapore, Mexico, and Africa. At Smithsonian Libraries, he is involved with scholar communications, mass digitization, education and outreach, and product development and licensing. He earned his Master of Science in Library Science from School of Library and Information Science at the Catholic University of America. He can be found on Twitter @BHLProgDirector and has an inordinate fondness for dodos.

Mrs Wai Yin Pryke (Director, National Library Singapore)
Presentation title: “BHL Singapore: The Story So Far”
Bio: Wai Yin Pryke worked in Education for 30 years before becoming Director of National Library, Singapore on 3 January 2016.
In the field of education, Wai Yin taught General Paper and English Literature for Junior College students for 10 years, before joining the Ministry of Education, Singapore as a pioneering officer of the National Education Unit. She became Vice Principal of a primary school in 2002, and was selected to attend a Leaders in Education Programme for aspiring Principals in 2003. Upon completion of the course in 2004, she became principal of St Andrew’s Junior School. In 2010, she became founding Principal of the English Language Institute of Singapore (ELIS).
Wai Yin joined the National Library Board in January 2016. Her interest is in organizational change management, having led changes in the different roles she has been assigned to. In her current portfolio as Director of National Library, she is sharpening the focus of the organization to articulate its role and value to the nation, as well as engaging with the public to uncover the rich documentary heritage in its collection.

Afternoon Session
Professor Peter K. L. Ng (Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Head, Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, Faculty of Science, NUS)
Presentation title: “Community-Curated Collections in BHL (And Other Items on a Taxonomist’s Wish List)”
Bio: Professor Peter Ng is an expert in aquatic biodiversity, particularly in the systematics and diversity of decapod crustacean (crabs, lobsters, prawns). His scientific contributions have helped established NUS and Singapore as a significant regional and international centre for the study of crustaceans.

When NUS realised the nation’s vision for a centre for Singapore’s natural heritage in the form of the $46 million Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM), Prof Ng was tasked to head it and implement the research and education mission for the institution. NUS had started planning for this as early as 2004 when, as the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity, started informal talks with various organisations on the possibility of setting up a natural history museum in Singapore. This gained traction in late 2009 when an anonymous donor pledged $10 million to the cause. NUS succeeded in raising the remaining $40 million needed for the building and three near-complete diplodocid sauropod fossils that are now the star attraction of the LKCNHM. The museum opened to the public on 28 April 2015. Complementing the public gallery, the museum’s research collections are housed in a state of the art climate-controlled facility.

The museum’s staff conducts important biodiversity research and conservation genetics through its cryogenic laboratory and collection cum research expeditions. Its research strength has also achieved a high regional and international reputation. A number of local organisations, government agencies and international organisations work with the museum with regards to environmental impact assessments and management options. The museum also has a strong array of education programmes for students of all ages as well as the public. In 2013, the museum managed to persuade the Secretariat of the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature to move its office from London.

Ms Grace Costantino (Outreach and Communication Manager, Biodiversity Heritage Library)
Presentation title: “The Story of Engagement: Outreach Strategies at the Biodiversity Heritage Library”
Bio: Grace Costantino is the Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library. In this capacity, Ms. Costantino developed and manages BHL's outreach and communication strategy, oversees social media initiatives, and engages with the public to excite audiences about the wealth of biodiversity heritage and knowledge available in BHL. Prior to this role, Ms. Costantino served as the BHL Program Manager from 2012-2013 and a Digital Collections Librarian at Smithsonian Libraries from 2008-2012. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Graphic Design and a Master of Science in Information Systems and Management from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently completing a Communication Management graduate program at the University of Denver.

Dr Elycia Wallis (Manager of Online Collections, Museum Victoria)
Presentation title: “The strange, the exotic, and the marvellous – revealing Australian flora and fauna to the world through biodiversity literature”
Bio: Dr Elycia Wallis is the Manager of Online Collections at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. In this role, Elycia works with a team of content specialists and developers to create innovative ways to publish information about the museum’s collections to websites, apps and into exhibition interactives. Dr Wallis holds a PhD in Zoology and a Masters in Knowledge Management. Dr Wallis is the Project Lead for the Biodiversity Heritage Library in Australia, which is coordinated by a team at Museum Victoria and is run under the auspices of the Atlas of Living Australia.

About the Venue

Learn more about the Singapore Botanic Gardens here:

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