Monday, February 29, 2016

Planned Outage of BHL Website for Scheduled Maintenance 3/1/2016 at 6pm CST

There will be a planned outage of the BHL website for scheduled maintenance on Tuesday, 1 March 2016, beginning at 6pm CST and lasting approximately two hours. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

During the outage, you can access BHL's content via Internet Archive:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Humboldt and Bonpland’s Essai sur la géographie des plantes and its significance

By: Randy Smith
Image Technician | Metadata Librarian. Peter H. Raven Library, Missouri Botanical Garden

Over 210 years after Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland’s work titled Essai sur la géographie des plantes was published, climate science, book conservation, and botanical research have converged around this 1805 work. This book was digitized and made available in 2008 by the Missouri Botanical Garden for the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Modern science meets historic data 

In 2015, scientists published a paper detailing their findings as they retraced the path that Humboldt and Bonpland took on their ascent up the dormant volcano, Chimborazo, in Ecuador. The paper, “Strong upslope shifts in Chimborazo's vegetation over two centuries since Humboldt,” utilized the data and map contained in Essai sur la géographie des plantes and presented modern data from the same locations as detailed in Essai to reveal the effects of climate change on the volcano.

As Stephen T. Jackson writes in the 2009 book, Essay on the geography of plants, the significance of Humboldt and Bonpland’s work describing their ascent up Chimborazo lies in the detailed data they collected at various elevations. Jackson and historian Andrea Wulf have noted that while most people have forgotten Humboldt, his significance in unifying early scientific disciplines into an inter-connected web of life cannot be understated. Measurements taken on Chimborazo include light intensity, temperature, barometric pressure, and gravitational force. Descriptions of the flora and fauna at various levels of Chimborazo were described and illustrated on the map contained with Essai sur la géographie des plantes.

Figure 1: Map from Essai sur la geographie des plantes. (view detailed map here)

Morueta-Holme et al., the scientists who retraced Humboldt and Bonpland’s course up Chimborazo, also took measurements and made observations at the same locations that were originally recorded in 1802. More specifically they noted the migration of the flora up Chimborazo to look at the effects of anthropogenic climate change upon the region (something Andrea Wulf notes that Humboldt warned about in the early nineteenth century). And one more final fact, Humboldt’s expedition was record setting at that time for the highest ascent.

Modern conservation meets historic data 

While the aforementioned paper was being written, in early 2014, the Peter H. Raven Library at the Missouri Botanical Garden loaned its copy of the Essai’s map to the Americas Society for an exhibition entitled, Unity of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt and the Americas. While the Americas Society did not want the text to accompany the map, the condition of both was given a cursory examination at that time. The Library’s director decided that the volume should be scheduled for a complete conservation treatment.

In December of 2014, the Library’s book conservator examined the volume more thoroughly to assess damage and make decisions about the book’s treatment.

The Essai still had what was apparently its original, early 19th century binding. It was bound in a style called half leather, which means that there was leather on the corners, the spine, and the edges of the covers next to the spine. The rest of the covers were lined with a marbled paper. The volume’s covers were detached from the textblock, and the leather on the spine was badly decayed. There were some other relatively minor issues, such as missing endbands and a few paper rips, but the detached covers and the decayed leather were the most significant problems that needed to be addressed in order to make the book functional again.

Figure 2: Detached board (left). Repaired board (right).

Because the Essai is a physical artifact as well as a text, the conservator attempted to save as much of the original binding as possible. The covers, with their attractive marbled papers, were reused, but the leather along the spine was so badly decayed that it had to be removed and replaced with new leather.

Board reattachment is a very common procedure in book conservation. Our conservator began the process by removing all of the decayed leather from the spine and the edges of the covers. She then cleaned the old glue and paper liner off of the book’s spine. Once the back of the book was clean, she adhered new paper and cotton cloth linings to the spine, using a water-based adhesive that can easily be removed if need be by conservators in the future.

Figure 3: Repairs to the half-title page and gutter.

The cotton cloth lining was cut to extend beyond the edge of the spine, and the boards were reattached to this cotton hinge, again using water-based adhesives.

Figure 4: Redone spine. Original (lower). Replacement (upper).

After reattaching the boards, the conservator cut and adhered a new piece of leather to the spine and the edge of the boards closest to the spine. Enough of the original spine was left to provide clues about its original appearance—it had 5 false raised-bands, gold lines on the sides of the bands, and a label of black leather. The conservator recreated this original, early 19th century style spine treatment in her new spine.

The finished book was functional and true in appearance and materials to the early 19th century.

Modern research meets historic data 

Chimborazo is still a place of intrigue for scientists, and research on Chimborazo continues to this day. For example, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s curator, Dr. Carmen Ulloa Ulloa, frequently travels to Ecuador to do field collecting and research on Chimborazo and other equatorial volcanoes.

Figure 5: Dr. Ulloa Ulloa (front, left) and field assistants at the Humboldt statue on Chimborazo in 2009.

Dr. Ulloa Ulloa, whose research focuses on the páramo regions (the area of high elevation on mountains above the tree line yet below the snowcaps), has published numerous articles and books on the flora of the páramo regions of the Andes. Her favorite family of plants in the páramo is Berberidaceae (barberry).

To aid in the identification of Berberidaceae and other plants including many of the páramo region's flora, a free app (available on Android phones) called Flóramo, developed by two young Ecuadorian computer engineers, Luz Marina Unda (Dr. Ulloa Ulloa’s niece) and Valetín Zapata, is also available for download. Additionally, people can explore images of Berberidaceae on both the Flora of the World website and on the Encyclopedia of Life website.

Figure 6: Dr. Ulloa Ulloa and team collecting specimens on the páramo area of Chimborazo.

Dr. Ulloa Ulloa describes Humboldt’s visit to Ecuador as inspirational and an influence upon her own career. She splits her time conducting research between the U.S. and Ecuador. She also has a presentation about her recent experience of following in the footsteps of Humboldt that has been presented to various audiences.

Figure 7: Werneria pumila photographed on Chimborazo by Dr. Ulloa Ulloa.

After 200 years, the significance of Humboldt and Bonpland’s expedition to Ecuador and Chimborazo have not diminished. His original work is being preserved to aid modern science and science is still turning to the Essai sur la géographie des plantes for modern answers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Latest News from BHL

There have been some exciting developments in BHL-land, including new projects to add more content to BHL such as in-copyright titles, materials from new contributors, and field notes. These new projects come with new funding as well. We've also expanded our consortium with two new affiliates and participated in some fun outreach activities. Find all this and more in the Winter 2016 BHL Newsletter.

Stay up to date with all the latest news from BHL by subscribing to our newsletter.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

BHL Website Issues Resolved 2/23/2016

UPDATE: The technical issues we were experiencing with the BHL website have been resolved. All services back up and running. Thanks for your patience!

The BHL website is currently down due to technical difficulties. We are working to correct the issue as soon as possible, and apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned for more updates.

While we work to resolve the technical issues w/ the BHL website, you can explore our collections on Internet Archive.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Impact of Coordinated Social Media Campaigns on Online Citizen Science Engagement

Smithsonian staff members recently presented a poster at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, 11-15 February, 2016. The poster, entitled "The Impact of Coordinated Social Media Campaigns on Online Citizen Science Engagement" by Lesley Parilla (Cataloging Coordinator, The Field Book Project) and Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D. (Project Coordinator, Smithsonian Transcription Center), highlighted the impact of a coordinated social media campaign on crowdsourced transcriptions of field notes.

The poster outlined the details and outcomes of the #FWTrueLove campaign, a collaboration involving The Field Book Project, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, the Smithsonian Transcription Center, Pyenson Lab, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The event challenged volunteers to fully transcribe a selection of field notes by Frederick W. True, held by the Smithsonian Institution Archives and uploaded to the Smithsonian Transcription Center, by the end of the campaign period. Materials for the challenge were identified and selected with Smithsonian Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals Dr. Nick Pyenson and the Smithsonian Field Book Project, a joint initiative of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian Institution Archives. The field notes are an important source of natural science data that is difficult to utilize, since they are often handwritten and fragile due to age.

The Transcription Center coordinated the multi-institutional campaign during the month of February 2015. The campaign involved blog posts, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and a targeted email to the Transcription Center's current volunteers, all of which challenged users to completely transcribe 523 pages from F.W. True's field notes within one week. Updates were posted on:

As a reward for the successful completion of the challenge, the Transcription Center coordinated Google Hangouts with Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals Dr. Nick Pyenson. Dr. Pyenson discussed the interdisciplinary nature of F.W. True's scientific pursuits - plus True’s connections with Smithsonian researchers like Leonhard Stejneger and William Healey Dall.

The #FWTrueLove campaign contrasted with a typical experience by focusing on a specific set of materials. The modular design of the Transcription Center's website, which incorporates multiple collection types, means that a typical volunteer experience is flexible and highly tailored to their individual interests. This flexible design enables volunteers to create their own online experience. This can be expanded with engagement via social media. An analysis of the event showed that coordinated social media campaigns increase volunteer interaction, transcription output, and the number of active users on the Transcription Center. However, there was a decrease in the average length of a visit during the campaign. This may be because new active users are specifically coming to spend time on the projects highlighted in the campaign. This varies from other periods of time on the site, when volunteers come to work on one project but move onto unrelated projects that catch their attention thanks to the site's open structure. These focused campaigns that appear to work in direct opposition to the flexible nature of the Transcription Center may keep the community growing, serving to reinvigorate the volunteer community as a whole and combat the natural cycling of volunteers out of active participation.

Learn more about the results of the campaign on the AAAS website. See the posted in more detail on BHL's Pinterest.


Lesley Parilla
Cataloging Coordinator
The Field Book Project

Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D.
Project Coordinator
Smithsonian Transcription Center

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Expanding Access Training Workshop

On February 4-5, 2016, Smithsonian Libraries hosted staff from the New York Botanical Garden, the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Harvard University), and the Missouri Botanical Garden as part of a training workshop for the New York Botanical Garden's IMLS-funded grant, Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature.

The BHL Secretariat staff (Carolyn Sheffield, BHL Program Manager; Bianca Crowley, BHL Collections Manager; Grace Costantino, BHL Communications and Outreach Manager; and BHL Program Director, Martin Kalfatovic) conducted the two day workshop based on previous workshops for BHL Africa and BHL Mexico. The workshop provided an intense overview of the methodologies for partnering with institutions not currently participating in the BHL in order to add new content to BHL and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Participating staff included:

New York Botanical Garden, LuEsther T. Mertz Library
  • Susan Fraser (Director of the NYBG LuEsther T. Mertz Library, Project Director)
  • Susan Lynch (Systems Librarian, Data Manager) 
  • Mariah Lewis (Metadata Specialist - and former Smithsonian Libraries' intern)

Ernst Mayr Library, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
  • Constance Rinaldo (Librarian of the Ernst Mayr Library of the MCZ/Harvard University) 
  • Joe deVeer (Project Manager and Museum Liaison for the Ernst Mayr Library of the MCZ/Harvard University)
  • Patrick Randall (Community Manager)

Missouri Botanical Garden, Center for Biodiversity Informatics
  • Trish Rose-Sandler (Digital Projects Coordinator, Center for Biodiversity Informatics, Missouri Botanical Garden and Data Analyst for BHL) 

Thanks to the staff from the Smithsonian Libraries' Natural History Library for hosting the event in their training room.

If you would like to learn more about Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature, please visit the project's wiki page.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Darwin's Early Love

Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist known around the world for his publication On the Origin of Species and contributions to evolutionary theory, was born on February 12, 1809. As such, February 12 is known as International Darwin Day - a celebration with a vision to:

"Inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin. It will be a day of celebration, activism, and international cooperation for the advancement of science, education, and human well-being."
February 12 also happens to be just days before Valentine's Day, a holiday now associated with love and the presentation of valentines as expressions of affection. How might these two, seemingly disparate holidays, be brought together? Why not by thinking about who Darwin himself might give a valentine to in the natural world?

Many people, when thinking of Darwin, might associate him with finches, mockingbirds, rheas, or Galápagos tortoises. But when Darwin began to investigate natural history while studying medicine in Edinburgh in the 1820s, it was marine invertebrates that first sparked his interest. While still a teenager, Darwin became a member of the Plinian Society, which was dedicated to the study of natural history amongst Edinburgh students. The zoologist Robert Edmond Grant nurtured Darwin's interest in natural history, especially marine invertebrates, and taught him how to collect and rear specimens. Darwin's first scientific paper, which was presented to the Plinian Society in March of 1827, was about bryozoan larvae and the black spots sometimes seen on oyster shells, which he demonstrated were the eggs of marine leeches. Sadly, Darwin's mentor Grant had presented these same findings just days before Darwin at another venue, leading Darwin to feel betrayed and prompting his exodus from Edinburgh (Stiassny, 83).

Darwin, Charles. A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. (1851-54). Digitized for BHL by the MBLWHOI Library.

Time passed, Darwin spent some time at Cambridge, and eventually he joined the voyage of the HMS Beagle thanks to a recommendation from his new mentor, botanist and geologist John Stevens Henslow. Darwin's observations and research during the voyage would fuel his later revolutionary theories. But, as Dr. Melanie L.J. Stiassny, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, points out in her article on Darwin within the book Natural Histories: Opulent Oceans, Darwin felt somewhat hesitant about his ideas during the early stages of their development. After all, they represented an entirely new way of looking at the natural world and thinking about its origins. So, while he fleshed out his theories on natural selection, Darwin also turned his attention back to, as Stiassny calls it, "his early love" - marine invertebrates. It was his work on barnacles that arguably helped pave the way for the acceptance of his later theories. As Stiassny states on page 84 of Opulent Oceans:

"It was the study of one group, the barnacles (Cirripedia), that would solidify his credentials as a taxonomic expert and provide him with empirical evidence for many of his evolutionary ideas...such as the loss of unnecessary structures (barnacles have no trace of the abdominal segments and swimming appendages of other crustaceans), and evidence that features inherited from a common ancestor can transform in anatomy and function (the typical walking limbs of crustaceans are modified into specialized feeding cirri in barnacles)."

Darwin, Charles. A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. (1851-54). Digitized for BHL by the MBLWHOI Library.

Darwin spent eight years working on his barnacle studies, and from 1851-54 finally published his work in a four-part series: A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. Within the work, Darwin provides a classification for the crustacean Subclass Cirripedia, making it "the first based on the evolutionary principle of common descent" (Stiassny, 85). His On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, five years after his Cirripedia work, references cirripedes twenty-six times, demonstrating the impact this research had on Darwin's evolutionary ideas.

Darwin, Charles. A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. (1851-54). Digitized for BHL by the MBLWHOI Library.

Darwin's name is arguably the most well-known from the world of natural history. Knowing Darwin's history with the Cirripedia, one might wonder if he would have realized the heights of his scientific achievements without his barnacles.

So, we think, if Darwin were to give a Valentine to someone in the non-human animal kingdom, there's a good chance it would go to a barnacle.

Darwin, Charles. A monograph on the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. (1851-54). Digitized for BHL by the MBLWHOI Library.

Stiassny, Melanie L.J. (2014). Darwin's "Beloved Barnacles." Natural Histories Opulent Oceans: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library (pp. 82-85). New York: Sterling Publishing.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Resolving a 180 Year Old Taxonomic Mystery

Hardwicke's bloodsucker is an agamid lizard found in western and central India. It is a small, stocky, and pot-bellied lizard with a short tail that is currently recognized under the scientific name Brachysaura minor. This species, however, has a rather convoluted taxonomic history.

The first scientific description of the species comes from Hardwicke and Gray in 1827 and is based on a color sketch by Hardwicke which now resides in the Archives of the Natural History Museum, London.  They named the species Agama minor. Later, in 1856, Blyth provided a new name and description for what was likely the same species, calling it Brachysaura ornata. He did not refer to Hardwicke and Gray's previous description. Over the years, the description, name and placement of the species was questioned by many, and it has subsequently been placed in the additional genera Charasia and Laudakia as well.

In 1999, Manthey and Schuster placed the species back within the genus Brachysaura, and it has since be most commonly referred to as Brachysaura minor - the only species within the Brachysaura genus.

Close up of Calotes minor, a species with a confusing taxonomic history. Photo credit: Varad Giri.

A recent study has called this placement into question. Using molecular and morphological data, V. Deepak, Raju Vyas, Varad B. Giri, and K. Praveen Karanth analyzed the identity and systematic position of Brachysaura minor. Their results, published in the paper "A Taxonomic Mystery for More than 180 Years: The Identity and Systematic Position of Brachysaura minor (Hardwicke and Gray, 1827)" (Vertebrate Zoology. 65(3): 371-381), suggest that Brachysaura is actually nested within the genus Calotes, and that the species should henceforth be referred as Calotes minor. They also note that one of the previous primary impediments to placing this species within the Calotes genus is the fact that, compared to other members of the genus, this species has a very short tail. However, the researchers note that, unlike other members of this genus, this species is ground-dwelling, and in other ground-dwelling agamids, reduced tail length is a common characteristic. Thus, the authors propose that the length of the tail is an adaptation related to the species' habitat and not a justification for placement in a new genus. Not only does the paper propose a new placement for Brachysaura minor, but by re-evaluating other specimens that were previously believed to be representatives of this species, the authors also suggest that members of Agaminae are limited to a distribution in arid regions of Western India.

Dr. Varad Giri. Photo credit: Zeeshan Mirza.

According to co-author Dr. Varad B. Giri, a Post Doctoral Fellow at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, this paper would not have been possible without the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Varad has been studying the taxonomy of Indian reptiles and amphibians since 2000. While exploring records in the Reptile Database, he discovered links to literature in BHL and was introduced to our open access digital library. The discovery had profound effects on his work.

"For a taxonomist like me, BHL is an amazing resource. One of the vital things of taxonomy is to understand the morphological characters of known species. With this knowledge, one can do a proper diagnosis of the species known or hitherto unknown to science. One way to do this is by referring to the type specimens, but most of the types of Indian amphibians and reptiles are in museums abroad and thus are difficult to access. The other way is to refer to the original descriptions, which were again inaccessible as they were published in old journals. BHL has made this latter thing possible by putting all of the historical literature online where one can access it with ease. I strongly feel that if BHL would not have been available, I would not have performed good taxonomic work with such ease due to a lack of historical literature. BHL has a big positive impact on my research."

When he is working on a paper, Varad uses BHL several times a day. He usually downloads relevant papers using BHL's custom PDF service, which allows him to select precisely the pages he wishes to save. This feature is one of his favorites on BHL. When appropriate, Varad will also download entire books as PDFs and, having now been exposed to the many illustrations available from BHL through his interaction with BHL staff, he also plans to download relevant images in the future.

While the ability to perform full-text search is a feature that Varad would like to see added to BHL, he notes that BHL's general search is quite effective and has in fact exposed him to many relevant items that he was previously unaware of.

While BHL's many value-add features make Varad's experience with our library all the more positive, the most important thing that BHL provides him with is access to the literature that he needs to conduct his research. Research like the taxonomic placement of Brachysaura minor (or should we say Calotes minor?).
The original description of Calotes minor. This paper was downloaded using BHL! The Zoological Journal. v. 3 (1827-1828). Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

"BHL is doing a wonderful service for researchers like me, who work with limited resources in developing countries like India. For our recent paper dealing with a 180 year old taxonomic mystery, we needed to refer to many historical articles. Without the help of BHL, this would have taken more time or been very difficult. There are many such publications pertaining to Indian amphibians and reptiles where we will need BHL!"

We are certainly thrilled to hear about the lasting and ongoing impact that BHL will have on Varad's research and his investigation into taxonomic mysteries. For, after all, as Varad told us, "To properly solve the mystery, one has to clearly understand the history." We couldn't have said it better ourselves!

Do you use BHL to support your work? Want to be featured on our blog? Write us at!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fashion in the Natural World: Fusing Science with Art

Emile-Allain Séguy was a popular French designer throughout the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements of the 1920s. Often confused with the French entomologist Eugene Séguy who was active during the same time period, E.A. Séguy designed primarily patterns and textiles and was heavily influenced by the natural world. He was particularly fond of the intricate patterns and beauty of insects (Eugene would have approved), which he saw as "mechanic wonders" that provided abundant inspiration for interior design (Schiff, 157).

Séguy, Emile-Allain. Papillons. 1925. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

In 1920, the American textile manufacturer F. Schumacher and Co. commissioned the work Papillons, which was to include stunning compositions of butterflies intended for use as wallpaper, textiles, and other interior and fashion design purposes. Referring to scientific illustrations for reference, Séguy reproduced 81 butterflies within 16 compositions, as well as four additional plates of decorative patterns inspired by butterfly wings, using the pochoir technique. The pochoir technique is based on an ancient method that uses stencils for color application. A costly and labor-intensive technique, pochoir was especially popular in Paris in the 1920s. Each color in a design has its own stencil and layers of gouache or other pigments are applied through each stencil by hand with a brush or sponge. The result is an intense and accurate representation of the colors intended for each composition (Schiff, 157).

Séguy, Emile-Allain. Papillons. 1925. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

Though the butterflies and plates are ultimately meant for design applications, Séguy emphasized his use of scientific illustrations to inspire his art and included a table of scientific names within Papillons identifying the species depicted in each plate and its place of origin. The work includes species from across the globe (Schiff, 158).

Séguy, Emile-Allain. Papillons. 1925. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

Séguy's designs were reproduced extensively in textiles, wallpapers, and other decorative applications for nearly a century. You can view all of the plates from this work in Flickr. This week, we put the artwork to another use in the Color Our Collections event. The event invites you to download images from library and cultural institution collections, color them, and share them on social media using the event hashtag #ColorOurCollections. We created a plethora of content for the event, including a Flickr collection containing over 1,000 black and white illustrations from BHL's collection. We also created a set of coloring pages from colored illustrations in our collection, which are available separately in Pinterest and also as a single PDF.

A coloring page made from Séguy's Papillons. Digitized for BHL by Smithsonian Libraries.

A significant portion of the coloring pages we created are from Séguy's Papillons, which was digitized for BHL by Smithsonian Libraries. While the colors chosen and so carefully applied by Séguy may reflect the true hues of the natural world, we invite you to design your own butterflies! Download the PDF, choose your own colors for Séguy's outlines, and share the results on social media by tagging @BioDivLibrary and using the #ColorOurCollections hashtag.

coloring page made from Séguy's Papillons. Digitized for BHL by Smithsonian Libraries.

The natural world is alive with artistic inspiration. It's your turn to color your world!

This post is derived from the article:
Schiff, Stacy J. (2012). Fashion in the Natural World. In T. Baione (Ed.), Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library (pp. 157-159). New York: Sterling Publishing.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Color Our Collections

Get your colored pencils ready!

Join us for the Color Our Collections event this week, February 1-5, 2016. Led by The New York Academy of Medicine, the event invites you to download images from library and cultural institution collections, color them, and share them on social media using the event hashtag #ColorOurCollections. With millions of natural history illustrations produced over 500 years in our collection, BHL is thrilled to participate in the event.

How to Download Images from BHL for Color Our Collections

BHL Flickr

We've gathered over 1,000 black and white images from books in the BHL collection into a new Flickr collection. Browse the images, download your favorites, and color away!

BHL Pinterest

While BHL is full of beautiful black and white images that are just waiting to be colored, there are also thousands of stunning color illustrations in our library that are great candidates for a coloring book. We've selected some of our favorites and turned them into coloring pages. They're available for you to browse, download, and color in Pinterest:

To download one of the images in Pinterest, right click on the pin and choose "save image as" to save the image to your computer. You can then print and color at your leisure!

BHL Coloring Book

Want to download all of the coloring pages in the BHL Pinterest at once? We've prepared a handy PDF, which you can download for free here:

Source Books in BHL

You can browse the books that the images in our Color Our Collections Flickr and Pinterest sets come from in our BHL Collection here:

Many other institutions will also be participating in the event and sharing images from their own collections for you to download and color. Check out this list to see who else is involved. Be sure to follow the hashtag #ColorOurCollections on social media to learn more, and don't forget to share your masterpieces with that same hashtag (and tag @BioDivLibrary if it's from a BHL image). We look forward to seeing your works of art!