About the NHM

Natural Heritage Malta (NHM) is a first attempt towards collating, preserving and providing access to digitised books and academic content specifically related to the natural heritage of the Maltese archipelago in its widest sense. The huge amount of published literature on the natural heritage of such a small archipelago is immense but has limited distribution; and is mostly restricted to those few who can gain direct access to hard copy library or private collections. Similarly a lot of material is scattered around various online databases or websites.

Consequently the NHM project’s initial focus has been on the digitisation of a legacy of literature held in the collections of key local partners, and to make that literature available for global use through open access principles. NHM is an effort instigated by Projects in Motion Ltd. and Fort Pest Control, in collaboration with Nature Trust Malta and Birdlife Malta; and with contributions from collections held at the National Library of Malta, the Government of Malta, Heritage Malta, the National Archives of Malta, the University of Malta, the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, the Malta Historical Society and various other local organisations. Credit needs to go to international digitisation efforts like the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Botanicus, Google Books, Research Gate, Gallica Biblioteque Numerique, the Hathi Trust Digital Library, Archive.org, and the Digital Library of the Real Jardín Botánico of Madrid.

We are trying our best to only collate material which is already in the public domain, is out of print or difficult to come by, is out of copyright, or under permission - as much as possible. Obviously this approach is not fail-safe in view of the various copyright restrictions that apply, especially in relation to journal publications. We have intentionally left all library stamps and source marks visible on the documents scanned so that researchers can identify where the original copies are. Consequently we depend on your feedback to remove any material that is unintentionally in breach of authors' or publishers' rights. All material provided via NHM is strictly for non-commercial and educational use. Please refer to our Take-down policy and Terms of Use.

We appreciate that the cataloguing is not always up to professional digitisation standards, and is powered by a free online Google drive which limits somewhat the potential for proper digital archiving according to international metadata schema. The intention is simply to have a low-cost online repository that is easily & freely maintained, and remains accessible to all. Nonetheless we hope that this major undertaking provides a 'proof of concept' for the digitisation and sharing of knowledge on the islands, while serving as an impetus for local patrons of the natural environment to start sharing studies they hold. Information is useless when kept in storage, and open access remains crucial if science wants to reach out to the public, while building appreciation for what researchers do.

A word of thanks goes particularly to Arnold Sciberras (Fort Pest Control) who has kindly provided most of his personal copies of material from the partner collections for digitisation which he has gathered obsessively over the last decade. All costs for this effort and human resources have been absorbed by Projects in Motion Ltd. as part of its social responsibility efforts for 2013 and 2014.

Regards,

Brian Restall (Projects in Motion Ltd.)

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