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., 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, Water Services Corporation, 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, Academia, Research Gate, Gallica Biblioteque Numerique, the Hathi Trust Digital Library, Archive.org, and the Digital Library of the Real Jardín Botánico of Madrid.
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 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 to 2016.
Brian Restall (Projects in Motion Ltd.)