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Annual report, new affiliates, citizen science opportunities, and more! See what's new at BHL!

Inspiring Discovery through Free Access to Biodiversity Knowledge.

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.

2016 BHL Annual Report Now Available!

2016 BHL Annual Report

Find out how our collections grew and audiences engaged with our library in 2016, learn more about some exciting new projects, and explore impact stories from users across the globe. Read the report now!

BHL Welcomes Three New Affiliates

BHL is pleased to welcome three long-time Partners as the consortium's newest Affiliates: BHL Egypt, BHL China, and BHL SciELO. Learn more.

BHL Egypt, led by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), joined the Biodiversity Heritage Library in 2009. As an Affiliate, BHL Egypt will continue to provide technical support and services to facilitate BHL's ongoing development. 

BHL China, founded by the Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is the Biodiversity Heritage Library's first Affiliate in China. Since first joining BHL as a partner in 2010, the Institute of Botany has contributed over 325,000 pages to BHL through the BHL China program. 

The BHL SciELO Network is the Biodiversity Heritage Library's first Affiliate in South America. SciELO joined BHL as a partner in 2010, and since then it has contributed over 107,000 pages to BHL's collection.

DPLA Re-harvest of BHL Data

DPLA logo

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has re-harvested all BHL data for ingest into its portalBefore the harvest, BHL had just over 123,000 items in DPLA. This number rose to over 187,000 items after the re-harvest. This not only represents a 52% increase in BHL records in DPLA, but more importantly, the quality of those records has improved and is now in sync with BHL. Learn more .

A History of Cats

History of Cats

What is the role of cats in society? They were revered in ancient times, despised in the Middle Ages, and grew in popularity as domestic pets by the middle of the 19th century.

The Library of Congress explores the history of cats in society from 1858-1922 in a new BHL book collection, digital exhibition, and series of blog posts. Learn more.

Enhancing the World's Longest-Running Botanical Magazine through Citizen Science

Curtis_s Botanical Magazine Image
Curtis's Botanical Magazine. v. 111 (1885). Art by Matilda Smith. Digitized by the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Curtis's Botanical Magazine is the world's longest-running botanical magazine, representing two centuries of botanical history and discovery. The Magazine is most famous for its illustrations, many of which depict plants being scientifically described for the first time. 

Through collaboration with BHL Australia and the National Herbarium of New South Wales, BHL has launched a citizen science project challenging  volunteers to add tags for taxonomic names and geographic locations to the Magazine's illustrations in BHL's Flickr. These tags will enhance the discoverability of the images and allow them to be shared with other biodiversity portals like the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). 

Joseph Dalton Hooker Celebration with Kew Gardens


Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was one of the most important botanists of the 19th century and Kew Gardens' most illustrious Director (1865-1885). To mark the bicentenary of his birth this year, BHL joined the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in a celebration of Hooker's life and contributions to science. 

During the #JDHooker2017 social media campaign (26-30 June 2017), BHL and Kew Gardens highlighted Hooker's works through social media posts, blog articles, and book and image collections. 

Highlights from the campaign included Hooker's handwritten Antarctic Journal, which was recently digitized in BHL by Kew Gardens and details Hooker's time as Assistant Surgeon on the HMS Erebus as part of Ross's expedition to the Antarctic (1839-1843), and his  The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya, which introduced many new species of Rhododendron to Europe in the mid 19th century.

Learn more about the campaign and explore other J.D.Hooker events hosted by Kew Gardens.

NDSR Residents Mid-Year Update

Alicia Esquivel of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Ariadne Rehbein of the Missouri Botanical Garden presenting the BHL NDSR Residents_ _Halfway Remarks_ poster at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference.
Alicia Esquivel (Chicago Botanic Garden) and Ariadne Rehbein (Missouri Botanical Garden) presenting the BHL NDSR Residents' "Halfway Remarks" poster at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference.

As part of a  National Digital Stewardship Residency project,   Foundations to Actions , five residents stationed at geographically-dispersed BHL partner institutions are helping to plan the future of BHL. Over the course of 2017, each BHL NDSR resident will work on specific projects aimed at improving BHL tools and services and enhancing connections among museums, archives, and biodiversity databases.

Now mid-way through their working year, the residents have made significant progress towards their individual project goals. Highlights include the launch of a BHL user survey, interviews with Flickr taggers and Science Gossip contributors, exploration into ways to connect digitized specimens with biodiversity literature references, experimentation with BHL metadata in Wikidata, and statistical analysis methods to calculate the size of biodiversity literature. 


Expanding Access staff and attendees at the EABL pre-conference workshop at CBHL.
Expanding Access staff and attendees at the EABL pre-conference workshop at CBHL.

The Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature (EABL) project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is helping libraries, museums, and natural history societies make their content more widely available by facilitating contribution to the DPLA through BHL.

On 6 June 2017, members of the EABL project team hosted a pre-conference workshop at the annual Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL) meeting. The workshop training covered a variety of topics including collection development, the Digital Public Library of America, metadata, imaging standards, BHL related tools, and defining articles within BHL. The three-hour session was well attended, and some attendees are expected to contribute to BHL in the upcoming months while others have already added content through Expanding Access.

Learn more about the workshop and EABL's attendance at the CBHL conference.

Collection Highlights
Explore our Book of the Month features from the past quarter in these highlights. Check out the whole series on our blog .
Fauna Japonica
The Zoology of Japan

Fauna Japonica was the first European language monographic series on the zoology of Japan. The five-volume series is based on natural-history collections made in Japan by Philipp Franz von Siebold and his assistant and successor Heinrich Burger, with drawings by the Japanese artist Kawahara Keiga. The work introduced Japanese fauna to the West on a large scale.

By: Robert Scott Young. Special Collections Librarian, Ernst Mayr Library.
Constance Rinaldo. Librarian of the Ernst Mayr Library & MCZ Archives.
Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.
Do Birds and Mammals Damage Fish Populations_
Do Birds and Mammals Damage Fish Populations?

Pennsylvania ornithologist Benjamin Harry Warren was commissioned by the United States Department of Agriculture to evaluate the extent to which birds and mammals damage the local fish populations. He published his findings in Some Birds and Mammals which Destroy Fish and Game (1897).

By: Amy Zhang. Junior Fellow. 
Tomoko Y. Steen, Ph.D. Senior Research Specialist in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. 
Library of Congress.
Spring Migration Notes.
Spring Migration Notes...By a Murderer!

When he was just fifteen years old, Nathan Leopold, Jr. helped compile a booklet called Spring Migration Notes of the Chicago Area, which captures valuable historical information about birdlife of Chicago in the early part of the 20th century. While he showed an early interest in birds and participated in birding expeditions, Leopold and his boyhood friend Richard Loeb would be convicted for kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Robert Franks in 1924.

By: Gretchen Rings. Reference & Interlibrary Loan Librarian at The Field Museum.

BHL User Testimonials
Learn how BHL supports research around the world in our BHL User series .
Supporting Worldwide Research

Dr. Nicholas Pyenson

How does BHL help Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History scientist Dr. Nicholas Pyenson conduct cutting edge whale research? Find out!

Dr. Nura Abdul Karim

How can BHL help expand library impact and support science around the world? Dr. Nura Abdul Karim of the Singapore Botanic Gardens explains the importance of BHL and open access digitization. Learn more.

Presentations, Events, and Workshops

Explore some of the BHL presentations, events, and workshops that staff have given and hosted over the past few months.

Get Involved with BHL!

There are many ways to get involved with BHL, from becoming a Member or  Affiliate and contributing content to donating to support BHL or  participating in one of our many citizen science activities.  Currently, BHL's volunteer opportunities include  Flickr image tagging , transcribing field books as part of  The Field Book Project , correcting OCR via our two crowdsourcing games , or describing illustrations via Science Gossip on Zooniverse Learn more about how you can get involved today!

Support BHL

Providing researchers with free access to biodiversity knowledge is critical to saving life on Earth. Help us accomplish this goal by donating to BHL today!

124,000+ Titles | 207,000+ Volumes | 52+ Million Pages