Wednesday, October 08, 2008

One million pages!

Today we passed an important milestone in the life of Botanicus. Overnight we published our one millionth page!

It has been a pretty amazing journey getting to one million pages. Botanicus started years ago with a vision and humble beginnings. Scanning for Botanicus started with one single black and white Indus 5001 scanner and somewhat of a makeshift database in which basic information was entered about the books being scanned. Since then Botanicus has grown and changed in ways that even we never imagined that it would! The procedure of getting a book online is now a streamlined series of events that requires little action on behalf of the imaging, library, or information technology (IT) staffs. Thanks to the efforts and innovations from our staff members in these various departments, this streamlining has increased our output well beyond what we thought was possible years ago at the beginning of the project! Our staff that is actively working on Botanicus has grown and currently includes six full-time imaging technicians, two library staff members, and two members of the IT department as well with the assistance of countless others in these departments. We have five full-color book scanning stations (three Indus 5002 scanners, one Kodak i280 sheet feed scanner, and a Better Light copy stand setup) that lately have all been running full shifts five days a week. This is certainly a far cry from our humble beginnings of that single black and white Indus 5001 scanner being used for Botanicus scanning!

Even the Botanicus website itself has evolved into a robust, user-friendly wealth of knowledge… The feedback we have received from the users of the site has proven to be an invaluable resource and has helped to shape the development of the site. Of course, we expected the site to be helpful to people around the world, but again, our expectations have been far surpassed at this point in time! Excitingly, our efforts are no longer limited strictly to just our own website. For example, we now have thriving contributing partnerships in which we share our imaged material with organizations such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and the Encyclopedia of Life. The Botanicus site was always intended to serve the public in general as a free resource of botanical information, but it is interesting to see not only the user hit counts but also the demographics of the site continue to grow over the years. Users of Botanicus are not limited to just botanists and come from all walks of life (artists, historians, medical researchers, etc.). The expanse and impact that Botanicus has had and continues to have is nothing short of astonishing!

Many thanks are due to everyone involved in this project. This includes the library staff, the imaging technicians, and the people in our information technology department who have worked on the Botanicus project over the years. Without the diligent efforts and hard work of these staff members, Botanicus certainly could not have been the success that it has become. Thanks are also in order to the Mellon Foundation and the Keck Foundation without whose financial backing Botanicus would not even have been possible. And last but not least, we would also like to thank you the user for continuing to be active participants in the project (whether you realize it or not). The fact that you use the site and take advantage of the knowledge that is presented makes the entire project worthwhile. Without your support and feedback, there would be no purpose in the existence of Botanicus , and you have proven how important a project of this nature is to the world!

Next stop: two million pages!

Mike Blomberg
Imaging Lab Coordinator
Missouri Botanical Garden


At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am using Botanicus in last few years. It is amazing collection of old papers and books, often completely inaccessible other way.
I am hoping for further progress.
All the best for your whole team

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Larry Cebula said...

I only discovered this site last week and I am impressed. The use of tag clouds and Google Maps is really innovative. It would be nice to have a more robust search function and quicker ways of exploring the illustrations, which are wonderful.

Great job!

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for such a great job. Simply amazing and a wealth of botanical information. One question however. All Rhodora volumes published before 1988 are available for downloading in pdf format, except the first index (vol. 1-50) and volumes 50 and 51
which are in jp2. Is this an digitalizing error ?


At 4:54 PM, Blogger Mike Blomberg said...


Thanks for the kind words! To answer your question: Yes, it was a processing error on our part. From time to time our system occasionally "hiccups" in the middle of processing the PDF and the file is lost. Unfortunately, sometimes these missing PDF's go unnoticed, but thanks to Botanicus users like yourself who notify us of these missing PDF's, we are able to reprocess them and get them up on Botanicus!

You will find that the missing PDF's you mentioned are now available for downloading.


At 9:05 PM, Blogger peacay said...


Do you take requests?

Is there anyway -preferably easy of course- that more information than simply title can be loaded in the new material rss feed?

Right now we get this (googlereader)..

"Plantarum novarum vel minus cognitarum, quae in horto botanico herbarioque regio Monacensi servantur (added: 11/25/2008)
from Botanica by (Missouri Botanical Garden)"

which has fairly limited usefulness, particularly when the material is very esoteric.

Date (of publication) and author name would enrich the feed enormously.

Just a thought..

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Chris Freeland said...

Paul, your suggestion for additions to Botanicus RSS are good. We'll try to work them in soon!

At 6:37 PM, Blogger cactus99 said...

Why occasionally do you have a missing volume of a journal. e.g. Sida v. 16, Bull. Torrey bot. Club. v.16

Sometimes issues just have 0Mb

both these examples are in middle of long runs of journals

A great resourse.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Suresh said...

Dear Mr. Bloomberg,
Kudos to you and your team for making the BOTANICUS the best source for botanical reference.
Hearty Congratulations.
We being botanists and lecturers for more than 37 years, are interested in the collection of useful and up to date information of the flora and we have our own personal library of more than 2000 books, journals, research papers, calendars, photos, stamps (related to plants and nature).
Both of us are m8uch impressed by the team work at your end which is really very very amazing to have crossed a million mark. The incorporation of age old inaccessible books in the collection is highly appreciable. But, I have noticed some pages to be blurred (not clear)and is there any way of rectifying them?
We are of the opinion that BOTANICUS is a very good resource of reference material for any one who is really interested in plants in general (medicinal plants in particular)and natural history.
Thank you once again and all at Botanicus
Best regards
Suresh N. Pathiki M. Sc., (Botany) Principal (Retired)
Varalakshmi Dharani (Mrs.)M. Sc., M. Phil., (Botany, )
Lecturer in Botany/Biotechnology (Retired)
Anantapur-515001. Andhra Pradesh, India

At 12:37 AM, Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I am using Botanicus from last 2-3 years. It is great collection of old papers, books & amazing articles. I love reading all post shared by you. Keep it up! Best of luck to you! :-)


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