The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
Wikipedia Editing Workshop on Endangered Species in Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian Libraries, in partnership with BHL, will host an Earth Optimism Wikipedia Workshop on Endangered Species this Earth Day (22 April).

Drawing on BHL’s free and extensive online collections as source materials, attendees will help to improve information about endangered species in Wikipedia.

When? Wednesday, 22 April 2020, 1-5pm ET
Where? Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Advait Jukar
" To understand the diversity of fossil mammals in the collection, I had to go back to the original papers and books where they were described. "

Explore Over 160,000 Free Nature Illustrations from BHL
Since 2011, we've been making many of the beautiful illustrations from BHL's collection available via Flickr. Today, over 160,000 illustrations have been uploaded to Flickr and are freely available for download.


Our image collections have recently been highlighted by many outlets, including Colossal, My Modern Met, Smithsonian Magazine, and Mother Nature Network.

Need high resolution copies of the images? Find download instructions on our About BHL website.
The Insects of Newfoundland
Entomologia Terrae Novae , an unpublished manuscript authored by Philip Henry Gosse in 1833, was the first attempt to classify and illustrate the insects of Newfoundland. The Canadian Museum of Nature Library has digitized this unique manuscript for BHL.

A Basic Guide to Rare Book Research
How can you determine a book's provenance? Inscriptions, bookplates, and library stamps offer valuable clues .

How do you determine the artist for a published illustration? Inscriptions on the plate often hold the answer...if you know how to read them.

Hayley Webster, manager of the library at Museums Victoria, offers rare book research tips and explains how BHL can help facilitate this work.

A Museum in a Manuscript
Compiled by Kenelm Henry Digby, The Naturalists Companion (1810-17) is a random compendium of natural history, ethnographic and antiquarian subjects. The album contains ~525 pages of text and ~450 illustrations sourced from other works and Digby's own experiences. The State Library of New South Wales has made this unique manuscript available in BHL.

Revisiting the Relationship Between Linnaeus and Catesby
The painted bunting ( Passerina ciris) is a beautiful, brightly colored bird in the cardinal family that is native to North America. Carl Linnaeus published the first scientific description of the species in 1758, citing Mark Catesby's Natural History (1729-47) as his source. In fact, Linnaeus cites Catesby for many of his species descriptions, and a direct link between these two important figures is generally accepted.

The painted bunting tells a different story and reveals a more complicated history and relationship between these two naturalists.

Wolf's Zoological Sketches
In the 1850s, German natural history illustrator Joseph Wolf—the artist behind some of the 19th century's most celebrated natural history books—was commissioned to create a series of watercolors depicting animals at Regent's Park (now London Zoo). The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin explores the resulting publication: The Zoological Sketches .

Celebrating the Career of Dr. Nancy E. Gwinn
Dr. Nancy E. Gwinn, Director of Smithsonian Libraries since 1997, retired at the end of 2019.

As the director of the Smithsonian Libraries, home to BHL’s headquarters, Dr. Gwinn played a vital role in the founding and development of BHL. She was instrumental in securing dedicated funding for the program at Smithsonian Libraries and founding and expanding the BHL Secretariat. Through her service as the Chair (2012-2017) and Immediate Past-Chair (2017-2019) of the BHL Executive Committee, Gwinn provided key leadership for BHL’s strategic direction and the growth and stewardship of the consortium’s partnerships.

We at BHL send Dr. Gwinn our heartfelt gratitude for her dedication and impact on librarianship, the Smithsonian, and BHL.

Dr. Maura Flannery
" BHL is like having a world-class library in my home. "

Inspiring Discovery through Free Access to Biodiversity Knowledge.
BHL makes it easier than ever for you to access the information you need to study and explore life on Earth…for free, anytime, anywhere.
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