Library and Information Technology at Bucknell University
FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR
LIBRARY AND INFORMATION
BUCKNELL’S JOURNEY TO
CREATIVE COMPUTING: A NEW
APPROACH TO COMPUTER
ASSIGNMENTS THAT MAKE
STUDENTS THINK BEYOND THE
NEW LIBRARY AND INFORMATION
TECHNOLOG Y STAFF
DIANNE GUFFEY CELEBRATES
40 YEARS OF SERVICE
The dynamic, rapidly changing state of mammalian taxonomy, documented by an enormous literature, long hampered the compilation of a detailed, complete world checklist.” So begins
the introduction to the third edition of Mammal Species of the World (MSW), co-edited by Bucknell
Professor of Biology DeeAnn Reeder and Don E. Wilson (Smithsonian Institution). The work is the
foremost international reference for identifying and verifying recognized names and taxonomies of
some 5,400 mammals. The print publication is widely used by biologists and students throughout
the world. The MSW also exists in digital format: Bucknell has hosted a searchable online version
of the reference work for almost a decade www.departments.bucknell.edu/biology/resources/msw3/.
In 2014, for the forthcoming fourth edition of the work, edited by Reeder and Kristofer Helgen,
Reeder approached Library and Information Technology to redesign the website and database.
The online fourth edition of the MSW is notable within Bucknell for being the first to bring together
both Enterprise Systems Development and Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship on a project of this
magnitude. Library and Information Technology staff members Leo Botinelly, Luyang Ren, Dan
Mancusi, Emily Sherwood, and Diane Jakacki have led a design team to partner with Reeder and
create a dynamic new editorial and publication application that will accompany the printed fourth
edition. Botinelly and Ren created a platform built upon the Bucknell application framework, based
on open source components, which supports the presentation of information in both text and
dynamic visualizations. The new MSW allows Reeder’s thirty expert collaborators to contribute to
the edition by adding to, augmenting, and correcting existing information about individual species.
The application produces visualizations of mammalian taxonomies that are automatically adjusted
as contributors input new content. The ability to update the information in the reference is key, as
taxonomies change and new species are discovered.
One particular challenge for the team was to ensure that this type of collaboration would be
controlled by Reeder as lead editor, and involved implementation of a complex permissions and
publication structure. In the completed version, Reeder will have final editorial say over submitted
content. The collaborators are currently testing the editorial interface
in anticipation of a 2017 publication. Reeder hopes that in future
years MSW Online will be robust enough to not only augment but
perhaps to replace the print version. The data set is available for
download, making it a truly open resource, and because the interface
allows batch updates there will be no need to wait for subsequent
editions. The MSW will continue to grow as users contribute to it.
When published, MSW Online will offer a unique digital text used by
scholars and students all over the world.
The students placed second in the student research competition held
during the conference.
■ by Diane Jakacki, Digital Scholarship Coordinator | firstname.lastname@example.org
and Jeff Tolbert, Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Scholarship | email@example.com
Interactive, Collaborative Scholarship:
Mammal Species of the World
L-R: Ren, Mancusi, Botinelly