BHL logo

Member news, project updates, collection highlights, 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.

Shop for Valentine's Day in BHL-Style!

Get your valentine the perfect card or gift with the new Valentine's Day Collection in the BHL Store!

The collection includes products featuring vintage botanical art from BHL. 100% of the proceeds will be used to digitize more books for our library. How does this help support biodiversity research? Click here to find out.

BHL Valentine_s Day Collection

The product art in the collection comes from  Annales de la Société royale d'agriculture et de botanique de Gand, T.3 (1847), which was digitized in BHL by Harvard University Botany Libraries.

New Members

BHL is pleased to welcome two new Members: Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN) and University of Toronto Libraries . The BHL consortium now consists of 18 Members and 15 Affiliates.

Mus_um national d_Histoire naturelle _MNHN_ logo

The Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (MNHN) is the national natural history museum of France. MNHN will enhance BHL's collection by contributing rare and unique material from the Muséum's library, including the entire collection of MNHN scientific publications from 1802 to 2000. The library will also contribute to the expansion of global collection development strategies and facilitate partnerships with other institutions in France and throughout Europe.  Learn more .

University of Toronto Libraries logo

The University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) is the first Canadian library to join the BHL as a Member. The UTL system is the largest academic library in Canada. As the host of an Internet Archive (IA) scanning center, the Libraries has already digitized a large portion of its collection. Over 3.3 million pages of natural history literature from UTL are currently available in BHL. Learn more .

#1Lib1Ref: Enhancing Wikipedia with BHL Resources


From 15 January - 3 February, BHL is joining the #1Lib1Ref campaign by encouraging people to enhance Wikipedia with references to primary sources. BHL's collection contains a wealth of literature that can provide citations for Wikipedia articles. 

You can help enhance Wikipedia by joining the #1Lib1Ref campaign, which is supported by The Wikipedia Library. To get started, read this blog post from BHL citizen scientist Siobhan Leachman on how to update Wikipedia articles with BHL references.

The BHL Field Notes Project

BHL Field Notes Project

In 2015, the Council on Library and Information Resources awarded the Biodiversity Heritage Library a grant to fund the BHL Field Notes Project. Through the collaborative efforts of eleven participating institutions, the project will provide open access to over 450,000 pages of natural history field research material, including diaries, journals, correspondence, and photographs. Learn more

BHL NDSR Cohort Gets to Work!

BHL NSDR program

The five residents of the BHL National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) cohort have been selected and began work at their respective host institutions in early January. As part of the "Foundations to Actions" program, the residents, who are stationed at five geographically-dispersed BHL partner institutions, will work with their mentors to plan and develop a next generation digital library using BHL as a test-bed.

The residents and their respective host institutions are: Alicia Esquivel (Chicago Botanic Garden); Marissa Kings (Los Angeles County Natural History Museum); Pamela McClanahan (Smithsonian Libraries); Katie Mika (Harvard University: MCZ); and Ariadne Rehbein (Missouri Botanical Garden). The program is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Color Our Collections

Color Our Collections
Get ready to color!

From 6-10 February, BHL will participate in the second annual Color Our Collections event, a week-long coloring fest on social media organized by libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world. Using materials from their collections, participating institutions are sharing free coloring content with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and inviting their followers to color and get creative with their collections.

BHL will have two coloring books and a collection of over 1,000 black-and-white images for the event. Learn more.


BHL has joined the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) as an Associate Member. ICSTI, an affiliate of the International Council for Science (ICSU), facilitates cooperation among all stakeholders engaged in the scientific communication process with the aim of improving the effectiveness of scientific research. Supporting innovation in scholarly communication, ICSTI provides a forum for the exchange of experience, expertise and understanding, creating the opportunity for organizational networking and collaboration across the scientific and technical information (STI) communities.

Collection Highlights
Explore our Book of the Month features from the past quarter in these highlights. Check out the whole series on our blog .
Les orchid_es
Orchidelirium Takes Printed Form

In the 19th century, Europe was gripped with "Orchidelirium." Publications like Émile de Puydt's Les orchidées (1880) capitalized on this orchid craze. This title includes 50 full-page chromolithographs of cultured orchids. It was digitized by Harvard University Botany Libraries.

Article by Diane M. Rielinger. Digital Projects Librarian, Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria.
Flora Sinensis
Flora and Fauna of China

Flora sinensis (1656) is one of the first natural history books on China written by a European. The work, by Michał Piotr Boym, contains 48 pages of text and 23 black and white woodcut illustrations - 17 of plants, 5 of animals and one of a Nestorian Stele. This rare title was digitized by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Library, Art & Archives.

Post by Anne Griffin. Head of Cataloguing, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Library, Art & Archives.
Specimen entry three from _Notes accompanying collection of useful plants made by W. J. Fisher at _Kodiak_ in 1899.
Documenting Native American Knowledge of Natural Resources

William J. Fisher's 1899 field book documents the Alutiiq people's knowledge of medicinal and food uses for 48 plant specimens. Entries document the Russian and Sugpiat/Alutiiq names of plants, how the plants were used, and plant distribution. This field book was digitized by Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Post by Lesley Parilla. Cataloger, Smithsonian Libraries.

BHL User Testimonials
Learn how BHL supports research around the world in our BHL User series .
BHL User Quote
Supporting Classroom Education

Students in South Carolina are using Mark Catesby's illustrations to learn more about the connection between art and science. As part of a collaboration between the College of Charleston and the Catesby Commemorative Trust, Dr. Tracey Hunter-Doniger created lesson plans utilizing Catesby's publications in BHL, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries. These lessons allow students to appreciate the role of observation in science and the part that Mark Catesby played in the history of natural history.

Presentations about BHL!

Explore some of the presentations that staff have given about BHL over the past few months.

Get Involved with BHL!

There are many ways to get involved in 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!

114,000+ Titles | 193,000+ Volumes | 51+ Million Pages