Tuesday, August 21, 2012

@BioDivLib SXSW Interactive session, vote now!! #sxswLAM

2012.03.11-IMG_1082 VOTE NOW for the Biodiversity Heritage Library SXSW Internactive session: "Will Sea Monkeys Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?"

It's that time of year again, the SXSW Panel picker, this year, Chris Freeland and I have a session proposal called "Will Sea Monkeys Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?".

We're happy this year to again be part of the SXSWlam (librar*, archiv*, museum*) gang of incredibly great and cool people (I'm looking at @DetailMatters and @Audrey_renee). More info at SXSWLam.info.

Sounds a bit high concept, but the idea is all about organism names as they appear in nomenclatural taxonomy and the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Here are more details:

Will Sea Monkeys Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? It’s this, and other important questions from the world of biodiversity that at first glance might seem odd, but it’s only through the proper naming of organisms that we can understand both their current place in the ecosystem, as well as their past and future.

Questions Answered

  1. Will Sea Monkeys survive the Zombie apocalypse? Or, how does taxonomic nomenclature affect how humans interact with the rest of the earth's biota? Zombies eat humans (e.g. primates), sea monkey are crustaceans. So, will sea monkeys survive the apocalypse or is common name nomenclature destiny?
  2. How to find organism names in 40 million pages of text? The Biodiversity Heritage Library is the world's largest repository of computational bioinformatic text data. What purposes, outside of systematic taxonomy can it serve?
  3. The importance of names in biodiversity literature. Taxonomy has been systematically naming organisms for over 250 years. Only by knowing the names of organisms can we know where they were in the past and how their ecosystems have changed.
  4. You say Physeter macrocephelus, I say Physeter catadon; the problem of syonyms. Taxonomists change and reclassify the names of organisms on a frightfully regular basis (some studies show it to be upwards of 10% of names change every year. How can a legacy project, such at the Biodiversity Heritage Library work in this environment?
  5. What is the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and how can it help you survive the Zombie Apocalypse? With over 40 million pages of taxonomic literature available online in a fully open manner, we are just scratching the surface of how BHL can be used. The latest projects including data mining the content for illustrations that can be used in a variety of humanities projects.


  • names, library, taxonomy


  • Event
  • Interactive
  • Format
  • Dual
  • Category
  • Science and Space Exploration
  • Level
  • Intermediate


  • Chris Freeland Washington University/Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • Martin Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Libraries/Biodiversity Heritage Library


  • Martin Kalfatovic Smithsonian Libraries

Additional Supporting Materials

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