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The Biodiversity Heritage Library: 30 Million Pages of Taxonomic Literature & You

The Biodiversity Heritage Library: 30 Million Pages of Taxonomic Literature & You



BHL Presentation to the Joint Conference of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and the Canadian Botanical Association

BHL Presentation to the Joint Conference of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and the Canadian Botanical Association



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  • So, aside from the fact that there are over 30 million pages of taxonomic literature in the BHL, what exactly is it?
  • Concept of EOL (a web page for every species on earth) Image from
  • In other words, let’s think of EOL as a repository of natural history collections information. We can consider it our 21 st century Wunderkammer. So, here’s the famous image of Ferrante Imperato’s 16 th century cabinet (this is considered the first published image of such a thing, the genesis of the natural history museums where many of us work today) So, this is EOL– instead of a page for every species, let’s say there’s a place for every species…including some tiny dogs running around on the floor there. What we all know (and what Ferrante Imperato did as well) is that the study of these items involves more than just the objects themselves So, if this is EOL, Image from
  • This is BHL! The literature of species description, of biodiversity is a significant facet of the knowledge about life on earth. And the literature that informs, contextualizes, and enables further study is, as in Ferrante Imperato’s wunderkammer, out of reach to a large number of the people who need to use it!

The Biodiversity Heritage Library: 30 Million Pages of Taxonomic Literature & You The Biodiversity Heritage Library: 30 Million Pages of Taxonomic Literature & You Presentation Transcript

  • The Biodiversity Heritage Library 30 million pages of taxonomic literature & you Rebecca A. Morin User Services Librarian California Academy of Sciences
  • http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
  • The BHL is…
    • Part of the Encyclopedia of Life
    • A consortium of 12 major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions
    • Dedicated to digitizing, serving, and preserving the legacy literature of biodiversity
    • Committed to Open Access
    • Free for anyone with an internet connection
  • Members
    • American Museum of Natural History (New York)‏
    • Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia
    • California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco)
    • Field Museum (Chicago)‏
    • Natural History Museum (London)‏
    • Smithsonian Institution Libraries (Washington)
    • Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis)‏
    • New York Botanical Garden (New York)‏
    • Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
    • Botany Libraries, Harvard University
    • Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
    • Marine Biological Laboratory / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Partners & Contributors
    • Internet Archive
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • Library of Congress
  • Who Pays For It?
    • MacArthur and Sloan Foundations
    • Supplemental grants in place for specific development
    • Support from member institutions
    • Additional grants underway
  • Who Uses It?
    • January-September 2009
      • 431,107 visits
      • 2,162,220 page views
      • 226 countries or territories
    • Visitors
      • More than 80% seek information in
        • Systematics
        • Taxonomy
        • Nomenclature
  • Encyclopedia of Life
  • Encyclopedia of Life/BHL Interface
  • Why?
  • That’s Why!
  • Multiple Means of Access
    • BHL: 18.4%
    • Referring Sites: 29%
      • EOL
      • Wikipedia:
      • Tropicos
      • Smithsonian
      • BioOne
      • Animal Base
    • Search Engines: 52.2%
    • Source: Google Analytics (15 March - 03 May 2010)
    • BHL Survey 2010
  • What does BHL do for me?
    • Bibliographies
    • Name Searching
      • Taxonomic Intelligence
    • Complete Items
    • PDF Creation
    • APIs
    • Stable URLs
  • Bibliographies & Name Searching
    • How to find literature on Chiroderma salvini
    • Via EOL
    • Name search in BHL
    • Direct URL entry
      • Works for any uninomial, binomial, or trinomial
  • BHL Name Search
  • Name Search URL
  • Download Complete Items
  • Download an Article
  • PDF Generation
  • APIs http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/api2/docs/docs.html
    • Access to data:
    • Scientific Name
    • Author
    • Title
    • Volume
    • Page
  • Persistent URLs
  • What can I do for BHL? HELP ENABLE ARTICLE-LEVEL DISCOVERY! Fill in article information when you create a PDF!
  • Citebank http://citebank.org/
  • Citebank
  • User-Contributed Articles
  • BHL Survey 2010
    • Need to Improve
      • Searching
      • Working with results
      • Metadata quality
      • Online viewer
    • Wish List
      • Faster PDF generation
      • Search inside the viewer
      • Submit scanning requests
      • Download hi-res images
  • BHL Needs You!
  • BHL Needs You!
    • What are we up to?
      • Friend!
      • Follow!
      • Watch!
      • Share!
      • Like!
    @BioDivLibrary http://twitter.com/BioDivLibrary
  • BHL Needs You!
  • Image Credits
    • Fitzinger, Leopold Joseph Franz Johann. Bilder-Atlas zur wissenschaftlich-populären Naturgeschichte der Wirbelthiere. Wien: K.K. Hof-und Staatsdruckerei, 1867. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/24580 .
    • Gould, John. The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, under the command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N., during the years 1832 to 1836 : Published with the approval of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury . Pt. 3. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1841. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/49676 .
    • Sowerby, James. The British miscellany, or, coloured figures of new, rare, or little known animal subjects many not before ascertained to be inhabitants of the British Isles and chiefly in the possession of the author, James Sowerby . London: R. Taylor & Co, 1806. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/item/91785 .
    • Curtis's botanical magazine . London ; New York: Academic Press. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/91677 .
    • Imperato, Ferrante. Dell'historia naturale di Ferrante Imperato napolitano Libri XXVIII. Nella quale ordinatamente si tratta della diversa condition di miniere, e pietre. Con alcune historie di piante et animali; sin hora non date in luce. Napoli: C. Vitale, 1599. http://www.sil.si.edu/ImageGalaxy/imageGalaxy_enlarge.cfm?id_image=2712 .
    • Alston, Edward R. Biologia centrali-americana. Mammalia . [London : Pub. for the editors by R. H. Porter], 1879-1882. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/14587 .
    • Sulzer, J. H. Dr. Sulzers Abgekürtze Geschichte der Insecten: Nach dem Linaeischen System . Winterthur: Bey H. Steiner, 1776. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/42901 .
    • Martens, Eduard von. Biologia Centrali-Americana. Land and freshwater mollusca . [London : Pub. for the editors by R.H. Porter], 1890-1901. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/14587 .
    • Taylor, John W. Monograph of the land & freshwater Mollusca of the British isles . Leeds: Taylor brothers, 1894-19. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/47421 .
  • THANK YOU! Special Thanks to: The Biodiversity Heritage Library Research Division of the California Academy of Sciences SPNCH & CBA/ABC 2010 [email_address] @tiny_librarian http://www.twitter.com/tiny_librarian