The First Fifty Years of Desert Fishes Council: Compiled Proceedings and Abstracts (1969 – 2018)
The Desert Fishes Council (DFC) is a non-profit (registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in 1988) professional organization founded in 1969 with the mission of preserving "the biological integrity of desert aquatic ecosystems and their associated life forms, to hold symposia to report related research and management endeavors, and to effect rapid dissemination of information concerning activities of the Council and its members" (http://desertfishes.org; https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q76547266). Fulfillment of that mission from the start included the production of a comprehensive report on all meeting activities (business meeting + abstracts of presented papers and posters) that was disseminated to the membership as the "Proceedings of the Desert Fishes Council" (https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q76548832). After 20 years of production and editing by Phil Pister, in 1990, Dean Hendrickson assumed editorship, producing the 1990- 1994 volumes. Starting with the 1992 content, the editorial workflow changed from paper originals to all content being digital from abstract submission through published digital annual volumes available from the DFC website, and the Proceedings were formally registered as a serial publication (ISSN 1068-0381). Gary Garrett served as editor for the 1995- 1996 volumes, and Hendrickson and Garrett co-edited the 1997-1998 volumes. Hendrickson and Lloyd Findley served as co-editors for 1999-2007, adding Spanish translations of all abstracts. Following a decision by the Executive Committee to cease translation after the 2007 volume, Hendrickson continued as sole editor from 2008 through 2019. From the beginning, bound hard copies of the Proceedings were mailed to DFC members and a variable number of selected, mostly academic libraries, but around 2000, distribution switched exclusively to email and downloading from the Internet. Eventually, all pre-1992 Proceedings issues were scanned to PDFs which were made available from the website, but, with conversion of the workflow to abstract submission direct to an online database in 2008, the classical content of the Proceedings became fragmented, with minutes of the meetings published each year on the website and a separate online abstracts database. Thus, even as the 50th anniversary of the DFC approached, the historical content of its Proceedings, though all available in digital format, remained scattered across many different files and formats, making comprehensive searching of the complete content laborious. At the time of finalizing this abstract (October 2019) and final compilation of this volume, post-2007 abstracts of papers presented at the meetings were searchable from the website via the online abstract database, and the 1992-2007 PDFs of the annual Proceedings (all originally digital content) were separately searchable by downloading (from the DFC website) the annual files into PDF reader programs. The 1969-1991 volumes were also each searchable in the same way, but their textual (searchable) content, the product of automated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) done when that technology was still young, had many errors. Some business meeting minutes since 2007 were available via the DFC website, but were difficult to find there, and many were missing. Here, we provide the first single, text-based PDF file that brings the entire history of the DFC together in one place. All 2008-2018 business meeting minutes have been found and added to this file. The newer OCR technology used in this file produced much better results with the older, graphic-based content than what is found in the separate PDFs on the DFC website, and this single compilation file will now allow easy text-based querying across the complete history of DFC to present, greatly improving the utility of the archive for historical and scientific research. We are happy to now provide this permanently archived, and openly available file as a one-stop resource for access to the large corpus of historical and scientifically important conservation-related research built by the four editors who compiled this archive, and by all of the members of the DFC who contributed content over the first half century of DFC's history. As we now turn management of DFC’s future content over to future Proceedings Editors, we suggest that they initiate work (perhaps Citizen Science-based?) to correct the remaining OCR and other errors (though less prevalent than in the early volumes), and ideally eventually more fully parse, and continue mining of, the contents to serve it via a digital, online database in compliance with standard bibliographic, taxonomic, and geo-spatial data standards, comparable to the way other modern scientifically useful content is served and linked across the Internet. Ideally, authors’ presentations could also be linked-in from permanent archives (such as DFC’s F1000 channel).