Biodiversity Heritage Library Logo

Celebrating women in natural history with #HerNaturalHistory, Wikipedia editing workshop, connecting art and science, and more! See what's new at BHL!

donate button
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.

Her Natural History: A Celebration of Women in Natural History

Her Natural History campaign graphic

This Women's History Month, we invite you to join us in celebrating women in natural history as part of an international social media campaign produced in collaboration with our partners - Her Natural History: A Celebration of Women in Natural History

Through social media and blog posts, interactive programming and citizen science opportunities, Her Natural History aims to increase awareness of and information about women in the biodiversity sciences.

When? 8-31 March 2019 
Where? Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) 
What? Join us in celebrating women in natural history this Women's History Month! Follow along and join the campaign using #HerNaturalHistory. 
Campaign Webpage:

We hope you'll join us in celebrating #HerNaturalHistory in March!

Join Us! Wikipedia Editing Workshop for Women in Natural History on 13 March
Wikipedia Editing Workshop graphic
You can help enhance information in Wikipedia about women in natural history! 

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and Smithsonian Libraries, with support from Wikimedia DC, are hosting a Wikipedia Editing Workshop from 10am-2pm ET on 13 March. Attendees will learn to edit Wikipedia and improve or create Wikipedia articles related to women in natural history. No editing experience is necessary. 

You can attend in-person at the National Museum of Natural History Library or participate remotely.

When? 13 March 2019. 10am-2pm ET. 
Where? In-person at Smithsonian Libraries (National Museum of Natural History Library, Washington, D.C.) and remotely 

Registration Required: 
This event is being produced as part of the Her Natural History campaign. 

A Fond Farewell to Carolyn Sheffield (BHL Program Manager)

Carolyn Sheffield

The Biodiversity Heritage Library's loss is the gain of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery. Carolyn Sheffield, BHL Program Manager, will be taking on a newly developed position as Associate Director, Library Technology and Digital Strategies effective 4 March 2019. 

Carolyn first came to the Smithsonian in July 2010 as the Project Manager on the Field Book Project, a joint initiative of the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Archives. She subsequently joined Smithsonian Libraries and has been serving as the Program Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library since 2013. She has provided financial, administrative, and technical project management for the BHL consortium and has played a key role in several of BHL's grant-funded initiatives, including grants for adding field notes to BHL, the National Digital Stewardship Residency program, and the LIS Education in Data Science program. 

We will all miss her keen analytical mind and sense of humor. We all wish Carolyn fair winds as she takes on new challenges.

BHL and WikiCite 2018

WikiCite 2018_ Photo Credit_ Diane Shaw. Graphic by Dario Taraborelli _CC-BY 4.0_ with photo by Tehani Schroeder.

How can citations, images, and data from BHL and other open access repositories be used in Wikimedia Foundation projects like WikiCite, Wikidata, and Wikipedia? 

BHL-affiliated representatives attended WikiCite 2018 to present suggestions as part of the WikiCite and the Biodiversity Heritage Library presentation and  exchange ideas with conference attendees. They shared their experiences and take-aways on the BHL Blog.

"WikiCite and the Biodiversity Heritage Library" presented by Katie Mika (former BHL NDSR resident) and Siobhan Leachman (BHL citizen scientist).

Connecting Art+Science: Vanity & BHL

Joseph Gregory Rossano_ Zestos Skipper Butterfly_ 2014. Pencil on melamine_ 18 X 18 inches _actual size before photographic reduction__ photo by C.B. Bell III_ copyright and courtesy of Joseph Gregory Rossano.
Zestos Skipper Butterfly. 2014. Photo by C.B. Bell III. Copyright and courtesy of Joseph Gregory Rossano.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library represents a beautiful intersection of art and science. For scientists and artists alike, the collections are a source of valuable inspiration and discovery.

Created for and with the support of the Museum of Glass (MOG), the exhibition tells the story of eleven species and subspecies, presumed extinct, presented through the lens of humanity's role in their demise. Rossano collaborated with Sandra I. Berríos-Torres, MD, to produce historical accounts for the included species to complement the exhibit. 

The Biodiversity Heritage Library was a vital resource for Berríos-Torres, providing access to dozens of publications offering  original descriptions, early illustrations, and more.

A Book's Eight Year Journey to the Biodiversity Heritage Library 

Vroeg_s Catalogue
Vroeg's Catalogue (1764) is an important early work in the history of Linnaean taxonomy and the source of dozens of new species of birds. It is also extremely rare, with only a handful of copies known to exist worldwide.

In 2010, a researcher in Germany requested that it be digitized for BHL. Eight years later, after overcoming challenges stemming from rarity, condition, and more, the title is now freely available in BHL thanks to Smithsonian Libraries. The digital copy has since been used to uncover taxonomic errors that had persisted for at least a century.

Collection Highlights
Explore our Book of the Month features from the past quarter in these highlights. Check out the whole series on our blog.
Illustrations of Orchidaceous plants
Orchids Under the Microscope

Illustrations of Orchidaceous Plants (1830-38) brings together the work of two of the most important early contributors to our understanding of orchids: artist Franz Bauer and English botanist and gardener John Lindley. It's freely available in BHL thanks to the Natural History Museum Library, London.

Icones plantarum Syri_ rariorum.
Labillardière and the Botany of the Levant

At the end of the 18th century, French naturalist Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière spent two years exploring and collecting plants in the Levant, visiting Syria, Turkey, the Holy Land, Lebanon and Damascus. Complete copies of his publication on the botany of the region are rare, but thanks to Kew Gardens you can access Icones plantarum Syriæ rariorum (1791-1812) for free in BHL.

MUDPIE newsletter
MUDPIE for Everyone!

The MUDPIE newsletter is an important historical record of early developments in computer technology and its application in museums and systematic biology. The only known complete set is held by Smithsonian Libraries, and it's now freely available to the world through BHL.

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

Dr. Robert Mesibov

Dr. Robert Mesibov has been studying Australian millipedes for nearly 30 years. Obtaining the necessary literature used to be a long and expensive process. How has BHL revolutionized his research process? Find out!

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 , or describing illustrations via Science Gossip on Zooniverse

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!

Stay Connected

145,000+ Titles | 239,000+ Volumes | 56+ Million Pages