Do you guys realize that the Biodiversity Heritage Library, one of the most successful digital cultural heritage projects ever launched, was built at the Missouri Botanical Garden?

BHL is a grant magnet. It can easily accommodate millions of dollars in public and privately funded digital science and digital humanities projects. It's a global treasure closely tied to one of St. Louis' greatest strengths.

As it ballooned up in capacity and status, the institutional commitment from the garden fell behind. In fact there was never really any support at all. For the past few years, BHL has been headquartered at the Smithsonian while it's technical team remained in St. Louis. The technical team was never funded by anything but grants and finally one day the grants stopped being perfectly chained together and there was a funding gap. Now St. Louis has lost the whole thing. It has all moved to the East Coast. ... ector.html

As an observer of the cultural heritage sector in St. Louis, I feel that these sort of stories demand wider attention. If a timely donation could have been granted at any time in the past few years to secure this guy's job on a permanent basis, a massive international project could have been anchored in St. Louis. If his job were permanent, he could have leveraged his salary as cost share to bring in more grant projects and over time to develop and maintain equipment, infrastructure, and the staff of a soft money department.

In their time the garden's Tropicos and Botanicus projects were cutting edge. BHL was originally just a fork of Botanicus after all. Now look at and tell me what kind of future you see for such a dated platform (which is heavily used).

This is but one example. To play in the grant funded technology sector, St. Louis needs solid anchors with hard money behind them. I'm sure I'll update this thread with other examples if this one interests anyone.