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Adding BHL Articles and DOIs to Wikidata

Published onAug 19, 2023
Adding BHL Articles and DOIs to Wikidata

Established in 2020, the BHL Persistent Identifier Working Group (PIWG) has been generating article metadata for BHL and assigning Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to this previously undescribed, and thus unfindable, content.

PIWG is comprised of BHL staff committed to creating access points for articles in BHL, and more broadly the web. Image: (Kearney, 2021)

PIWG has developed best practices, workflows, tools, documentation, and videos to facilitate article metadata creation and DOI assignment for BHL partner institutions and their publications. The article creation process is work-intensive but incredibly valuable to the scholarly community and also helps to track the usage of BHL content across the web.

Tracking output and reach. Altmetric brings traditional citation metrics used for scholarly publications together alongside modern analytics from Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, and mentions on the web from social media, news, and blogs. Image: (Kearney, 2023)

At a high level, the steps involved in article creation and DOI assignment in BHL are:

  1. Generate missing metadata for BHL articles;

  2. harvest or upload article metadata as a BHL Part (P6535);

  3. register the metadata with Crossref (the DOI registration agency for scholarly content) which then subsequently assigns a DOI to the article deposit;

  4. expose a resolvable DOI on the article record (BHL Part)

A newly defined article in BHL with its DOI. Image: (Hamlyn-Harris, 1930)

This workflow links previously “dark” literature into the modern linked network of scholarly research. Generating the missing metadata (step 1) is unquestionably the most laborious part of the workflow. In 2009, Dr. Rod Page, Professor of Taxonomy at the University of Glasgow and an active member of the PIWG, lamented on his blog that there was a dearth of article metadata in BHL:

“BHL has very little article-level metadata, making searching for articles a frustrating experience” (Page, 2009).”

Determined to solve this problem for himself and other users, Dr. Page created BioStor, a web application, that has identified and described over 239,000 articles in BHL (Page, 2011). Thankfully, BHL quickly partnered with the BioStor project to harvest metadata for articles, bringing that high-value BioStor metadata back into BHL. Dr. Page is an exemplar, showing how vital user feedback and collaboration are to enhancing BHL’s ability to serve the global biodiversity research community.

Flow chart of an algorithm for finding articles in BHL. Image: (Page, 2011)

Recently, Dr. Page and members of the PIWG have been testing his new tool called BHL2Wiki to deposit article metadata and their DOIs in Wikidata. While there are some existing bots and tools that bring metadata and DOIs into Wikidata (see: SourceMD), these tools bring author names into Wikidata as “strings,” not “things” (i.e. linked named entities with a URI). The reason the names cannot be reconciled via Wikidata QuickStatements with these tools is that CrossRef only accepts ORCIDs for author names, and ORCIDs are not assigned to a majority of authors in historic literature. Without a persistent identifier in the metadata for authors, no linkage in Wikidata can be made to the author's name.  

This means BHL Creator IDs, and all that hard work of BHL’s author disambiguators, is lost. To solve the problem, Rod Page developed the BHL2Wiki tool that, when provided with a list of BHL DOIs, will check that the DOI is not already in Wikidata.

If the DOI is not present in Wikidata, the tool will:

  1. pull publication metadata from Crossref,

  2. swing past BHL to collect the BHL Creator and Wikidata IDs,

  3. produce QuickStatements to be reviewed and batch processed,

  4. create new entity records for each publication and its DOI in Wikidata.

The Workflow

Step 1: Enter a list of DOIs. Image: (Kearney, 2023)

Step 2: Generate QuickStatements from the DOIs and review Wikidata QuickStatements Image: (Kearney, 2023)

Step 3: Batch process QuickStatements Image: (Kearney, 2023)

Step 4: Article and DOI deposits in Wikidata. Image: (Kearney, 2023)

Members of PIWG have astutely recognized that adding BHL metadata and DOIs to Wikidata is yet another important step in their articleization workflows to further increase the accessibility and discoverability of biodiversity literature on the web.

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