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 .

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william.jpgWilliam Ulate R.

Former Technical Director, BHL
Sr. Project Manager, Center for Biodiversity Informatics, Missouri Botanical Garden.

Studies and first works developing software.
After graduating from the Universidad de Costa Rica in Computer Science and Informatics in 1990, he worked for 7 years in several major software development companies in Costa Rica (, involving projects dealing with R&D and later on a medium-sized ERP and SCM for Windows and Client-Server environments.

In 1996, at Universidad Fidelitas (, a private university in Costa Rica, he lectured a course on event programming, object-oriented techniques and advanced database and client-server concepts for a couple of years.

Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio)
Since 1997, he was enrolled in the Atta project ( at INBio ( as co-responsible for the analysis and design process of the biodiversity information management system developed to handle the National Species Inventory, which currently comprises an Oracle database of almost 3 million specimen records, including related eco-geographic and taxonomic information. This project was developed with the collaboration of national and international taxonomists, curators and technical staff from different disciplines such as Botany, Entomology, Malacology, Arachnology, Nematology and Fungi collections. He was also in charge of coordinating and lecturing at the biodiversity informatics training activities carried out in all Central American countries (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama) as part of the INBio's project "Biodiversity as an instrument for development in Central America" financed by the Norwegian Agency of Development (NORAD) and completed by October, 2003.

In 2003, he was appointed as Informatics Developments Unit Coordinator, in charge of INBio's Informatics personnel to implement the institution's technology strategies, particularly in charge of managing INBio's activities in Biodiversity Informatics: development and maintenance of biodiversity information systems, integration of biodiversity information databases and web development and informatics support. Aside, from this, he is also responsible for coordinating, designing and developing INBio's web-based geographic information systems using ESRI's ArcIMS Internet map server for internal and external users.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
After 11 years, William moved on to work in a new area he loved: Geographic Information Systems. From 2007 til 2010, he worked as the Regional Conservation Data Node Manager for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) from the Regional Science Office in Costa Rica. As such, he was in charge of implementing the Conservation Information Systems Strategy for the Mesoamerican and the Caribbean Region until July 1 2009, later appointed for the Latin American Region. Design and implementation of the Conservation Information System for the whole Region to support staff on the several Conservation Programs that comprise the Region. William will also coordinate project tasks with Field staff, Scientists, GIS Specialists and IT support personnel throughout the Region to gather, upload, distribute and make available, through the Data Node Server, the integrated core datasets that the organization works with at an enterprise-wide level (all ecoregional assessments information, protected areas data and their management status and conservation projects detailed information) and the geospatial datasets that the Region and its Conservation Programs need for their Work at the regional, country and field office levels. He administering the Latin America Regional Node data and the synchronized ArcSDE Database Servers in Quito, Ecuador and San José, Costa Rica; develop LAR Information Workflow and optimize the geospatial web services and oversee the development of applications that run on the ESRI's ArcGIS Application Server and Microsoft SQLServer backend in San José, Costa Rica, these serve data through different mechanisms (database direct connection, web service connections and a web browser interface) to users within and outside TNC. William also prepared the course materials and trained Regional GIS Specialists on ESRI's ArcGIS Server technology.

Independent Consultant
William has also worked as independent consultant in San José, Costa Rica between 1996 and 1997 and then again in 2010 where he provided advise to several companies and projects on Geographic Information Systems, Biodiversity Informatics and Biodiversity Information Systems and Databases Development.

Missouri Botanical Garden
On January 18th, 2011, William was appointed Sr. Project Coordinator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis, Missouri, as well as Global Coordinator for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) Project. As Project Coordinator, he has been working with stakeholders and other key staff to successfully plan, design and complete grant-funded technology projects within the Center for Biodiversity Informatics. These projects are highly technical and scientific, including software development tasks and high resolution digital imaging activities, as all projects are related to international of biodiversity data. As Global Coordinator for BHL, William has provided coordination to the Global Biodiversity Heritage Library consortium for activities among colleagues in six continents while stationed at the Center for Biodiversity Informatics at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. This position requires frequent travel to develop relationships with colleagues around the globe when reaching out for BHL's expansion.
From August 23, 2012 to December 31, 2015, William was appointed as Technical Director for the BHL-US/UK project. With the support of a newly created BHL Technical Advisory Group, comprised of developers and systems librarians at BHL member institutions, William's role is to advise on technical and development issues, coordinate with the BHL Program Director and the BHL Members Committee and advise them in technical issues.

William has being active member of Regional and International Initiatives in Biodiversity Informatics. He was part of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility and appointed member and Chair of the Science Subcommittee for several years, he's also a member of the Biodiversity Information Standards Organization (TDWG) and currently functions as its Treasurer.
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