Natural History Advisory Group

This activity is now closed. The information on this page is provided for historical purposes only.

This group advised on joint activities of various natural history museums, botanical gardens, and herbaria in the RLG membership. It primarily focused on information management and access. The group identified crucial community issues, suggested projects, and solicited funding.

The first meeting was held in New York in June of 2003, among the founding members: the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), the Natural History Museum London (NHM), the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH).

The Natural History Advisory Group identified three key areas of interest:

  • The biodiversity commons: The concept of a shared repository—a zone of fair use for the knowledge domain of natural history—has been widely discussed. The commons is a strategy for providing broad access to knowledge (in the form of journal publications, for example) for research, education, and conservation uses. The steering committee planed to engage in projects to turn the commons from concept into reality.
  • Collection description: Collection-level descriptions provide access to institutional holdings at an aggregate rather than an item level. For typically vast natural history collections, this strategy provides an expedient way of describing collections. When collated from multiple institutions, these descriptions will be a primary resource discovery tool for natural history researchers. A separate working group, Resources Available in the Natural Sciences, has been assembled to tackle this goal.
  • Taxonomic literature in XML schema: Marking up taxonomic literature with an XML schema will make digitized texts much more searchable and accessible. A joint project between NHM and NMNH has generated a candidate schema.
  • Participants

    John Flanagan
    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
    Tom Garnett
    Smithsonian Institution Libraries
    Graham Higley, Chair
    Natural History Museum (London)
    Tom Moritz
    American Museum of Natural History
    Heather Rolen
    New York Botanical Garden
    Hans-Dieter Sues
    National Museum of Natural History (USA)

    RLG staff liaison:
    Günter Waibel
    Program Officer

RLG staff liaison

Günter Waibel
Program Officer