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Worldwide Ornithological Literature

A new online bibliographic database for ornithologists

The British Ornithologists` Union (BOU), American Ornithologists` Union (AOU), and Birds Australia (BA) are proud to announce the launch of Worldwide Ornithological Literature (OWL), a new online bibliographic database for ornithologists, which replaces Recent Ornithological Literature (ROL) which as been run by the same organisations for many years. OWL is an indexed bibliographic database of citations from the worldwide scientific literature that pertain to the science of ornithology. OWL deals almost exclusively with serial publications. The new database is accessible at http://www.BIRDLIT.ORG free of charge.

OWL`s scope will be more than just the recent literature of ornithology. Eventually, the aim is to develop an online resource with a database that covers the last 50 years or more of ornithological serial literature.

OWL depends upon volunteers around the globe who compile the material. We are constantly seeking more volunteers to help in this effort. Anyone interested in helping should contact Jay Sheppard, Managing Editor JMSheppar@aol.com for a list of journals needing abstractors and other information. Abstractors must have access to a computer and their assigned journals. OWL also asks for citations for all recent doctoral dissertations and those papers published in obscure serials not usually covered in OWL.Over 1100 serials have been cited in ROL/OWL since 1990. In a sample, 24% were exclusively ornithological in scope, 73% were not, and 3% were undetermined. Bibliographies from forty Birds of North America life history accounts were evaluated. Of the 5442 total citations, 66% were serials. A comparison revealed that 59% of the serial citations should have been found in Biological Abstracts and approximately 96% should have been found in the ROL. These numbers are only for comparative purposes, as many papers preceded both indexes by decades, if not a century or more. The commercial abstracting services charge a considerable fee for their services, while OWL is free to any Internet user. The database will be expanded with the addition of the old ROL supplements to the BOU`s journal Ibis, the AOU`s journal Auk, and the BA`s journal Emu printed over the past 20 years. By the end of 2004, we expect to have a searchable database of up to 100,000 records.In the 21st Century, any previously published scientific information that cannot be later found is literature that may be lost to science. We must be able to find all those papers published in our field of interest regardless of where in the world one is working. Please consider helping abstract. This is not an exceptionally time-consuming endeavour. You will be helping generations of ornithologists to come.

For further information, you can contact ? Jay Sheppard, Managing Editor, OWL Email bourc.chair@bou.org.uk
Steve Dudley, BOU Email steve.dudley@bou.org.uk

4th July 2014