Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Christmas Fairy

The legend of a holiday spirit who visits undecorated houses on December 23rd to put people in the Christmas mood...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Retrospective pre-evaluation and constructive failure

I was at a workshop last week and learned two new phrases that need to be used more often:

1. Constructive failure means that even if a project fails to meet its expected outcomes, it can still provide valid information. I like that good can come from miserable failure.

2. Retrospective pre-evaluation means (I think) going back after an activity and asking someone to evaluate some aspect of their knowledge of the activity before they knew anything about it. Like asking someone who has taken a test to evaluate their knowledge of the test materials before they sat through the class.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa

I left St. Louis at 6am Friday and arrived in Cape Town at 3:30pm on Saturday after 30 hours of travel (and an 8 hour time difference). Let's be clear from the start - 30 hours of travel is killer, but it could have been worse. I had a 17 hour leg from Atlanta to Johannesburg, with a refueling stop at the Isle de Sal, and luckily it was not a full flight and I was able to spread out across 2 seats. Woo hoo! And in case you're ever on Jeopardy, Isle de Sal is literally "Salt Island" and if you dig into the ground you'll find it's a mixture of dirt and salt and very little grows there. Or at least that's what they told us on the plane. Now you know.

View Photos

It's summer in Cape Town and the weather is BEAUTIFUL - 70's and sunny with a warm breeze. Our conference officially starts this morning (Monday), and many of the delegates are folks I met here last year, so much of yesterday was spent meeting and greeting. My evening was spent down on the waterfront for dinner with a group of people and back to the hotel for a night cap of Amarula, which is a fruit & cream brandy that's similar to Bailey's. Just don't tell the South Africans that because apparently it's an insult to their national creme liquor. Again, now you know.

Signs you are a heavy sleeper: when a hotel room on the floor below you catches fire and you don't hear the alarm or people knocking on your door at 5am. What woke me up was the sound of the fire engines (they have a distinctive bleet that is quite different from ours) and then hearing them stop outside my window. I look out and see a fireman climbing a ladder and a bunch of people in various stages of undress outside the hotel. Hmmm...guess it's time to evacuate. So, I calmly threw on some clothes, grabbed my bag and headed outside. Turns out that a guest fell asleep smoking and burned out the contents of the room. No one was hurt and the damage was contained to the one room, and we were back in the hotel within the hour.

One final thing - Cape Tonians, especially those under 30, are fascinated by American culture, which is funny given that there are absolutely no Americans in Cape Town outside of this hotel! The big story in the popular press is Brad and Angelina and their adopted African baby. Nobody cares about Jennifer, and I seriously think it's because she didn't adopt an African baby. When I've travelled in Europe and people find out I'm American (which is whenever I, you know, talk) they've taken me to task about our president and the war and other political issues. Not here. Everyone wants to know about Brad and Angelina, American cars (the PT Cruiser is a huge seller), and Paris Hilton. Thankfully I've spent a lifetime studying American pop culture and am happy to oblige.

Sunday, January 01, 2006



I am the Director of Open Libraries project at the Internet Archive, working in support of the organization's mission to provide "Universal access to all knowledge."  Before joining the Internet Archive, I was an Associate University Librarian at Washington University in St. Louis, managing Washington University Libraries’ digital initiatives and related services.  I have an M.S. in Biological Sciences from Eastern Illinois University and am currently pursuing an Master's of Library and Information Science at University of Missouri-Columbia.  I love to explore the intersections of science and technology in a cultural heritage context, having published and presented on a variety of topics relating to the use of new media and emerging technologies in a library and museum setting.  While working previously at Missouri Botanical Garden, I founded and led the Center for Biodiversity Informatics and served as the Founding Technical Director of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), an international consortium of the world’s leading natural history libraries that are working together to digitize their historic collections for free and open access use.  I have been a project manager for several large informatics and academic computing projects, including the development of the Tropicos botanical information system and the BHL.  In addition to my busy academic life, I enjoy making and selling soap for South Compton Soap Company, the small business I run with my husband, who is also named Chris.

Chris Freeland -
Download my CV

Papers & Proceedings
Moulaison Sandy, H., Freeland, C. The Importance of Interoperability: Lessons from the Digital Public Library of America. International Information & Library Review. 48.1 (2016): 45-50.

Freeland, C. and Atiso, K. (2015), Determining users' motivations to participate in online community archives: A preliminary study of Documenting Ferguson. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 52: 1–4.

Boyle, B., Hopkins, N., Lu, Z., Garay, J., Mozzherin, D., et al. (2013). The taxonomic name resolution  service: an online tool for automated standardization of plant names.  BMC Bioinformatics: 14(1):16. 

Miller, J., Dikow, T., Agosti, D., Sautter, G., Catapano, T., et al. (2012). From taxonomic literature to  cybertaxonomic content.  BMC Biology: 10(1):87. 

Freeland, Chris. (2008). An evaluation of taxonomic name finding and next steps in BHL developmentsProceedings of TDWG. Fremantle, Australia, 20-24 October 2008. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG).
View: PPT | PPT + audio

Freeland, Chris. (2008). Using the JPEG2000 image format for storage and access in biodiversity collectionsProceedings of TDWG. Fremantle, Australia, 20-24 October 2008. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG).
View: PPT | PPT + audio

Freeland, C., Kalfatovic, M., Paige, J., & Crozier, M. (2008). Geocoding LCSH in the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Code4Lib Journal: 2.

Freeland, Chris. (2007). Biodiversity Heritage Library: Progress & Potential. Proceedings of TDWG. Bratislava, Slovakia, 16-22 September 2007, pp. 10. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

View all my online presentations at SlideShare

BHL in the Cloud: A Pilot Project with DuraCloud.
National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) Conference. Washington, DC, 21 July 2010.

Digitizing Engelmann's Legacy: Mapping Plant Specimens that Document the Great American Frontier.
ESRI Education User Conference. San Diego, California, 13 July 2010.

BHL Technologies: A Review for BHL-Australia. BHL-Australia Startup, Museum Victoria. Melbourne, Australia, 1 June 2010.

BHL @ TDWG2009 - Linked Literature, BHL Developments & CiteBank. TDWG Annual Meeting. Montpellier, France, 12 November 209.BHL: Overview. EOL BioSynC Liverworts Meeting. Field Museum, Chicago, 26 May 2009.

BHL Technology Overview for BHL-Europe. BHL-Europe Kickoff Meeting. Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, 12 May 2009.

Digital Libraries for Science: Botanicus and Biodiversity Heritage Library. II Latin American Plants Initiative. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18 November 2008.

An evaluation of taxonomic name finding & next steps in Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) developments. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG). Fremantle, Australia, 21 October 2008.

Using the JPEG2000 image format for storage and access in biodiversity collections. Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG). Fremantle, Australia, 21 October 2008.

BHL: Purposeful Technology. Boston Library Consortium Meeting, Boston Public Library. Boston, MA, 18 March 2008.

Plays well with others, or What I’ve learned as a data provider in an interoperable world. Museum Computer Network Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, 2007. Applying emerging technology to historic scientific literature. Botany 2007, Chicago, IL, 2007.

User Needs: Biodiversity Heritage Library. Taxonomic Databases Working Group, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2007. Prototyping a Web 2.0 Interface to Digitized Taxonomic Literature. Taxonomic Databases Working Group, St. Louis, Missouri, 2006.