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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Madame Vincent's Studies of Flowers and Fruits

By: Leora Siegel
Senior Director, Lenhardt Library 
Chicago Botanic Garden

Études de fleurs et de fruits: peints d'après nature by Henriette Vincent is a book of beautiful botanical illustrations.  With 48 color plates of stipple engravings of flowers and fruits, this work was first published in Paris, France in 1820. This is a scarce volume with only a few copies known to exist in libraries.

Tulip = Tulipe. Vincent, Henriette. Études de fleurs et de fruits: peints d'après nature. 1820. Digitized by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lenhardt Library. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/48344872.

In his Flower and fruit prints of the 18th and early 19th centuries, Gordon Dunthorne calls this book "...among the most exquisite of all flower prints in their beauty and delicacy of execution."

Among the fruit depicted are plums, currants, cherries, apricots, grapes, apples, pears, peaches, raspberries, and strawberries. The flower assortment includes tulip, daffodil, jasmine, pansy, lilac, hyacinth, iris, nasturtium, and roses in white, red, and pink varieties.

Lily = Lis du Japon. Vincent, Henriette. Études de fleurs et de fruits: peints d'après nature. 1820. Digitized by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lenhardt Library. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/48344832.

Within these vibrant colored plates, Madame Vincent incorporates imperfections on the fruit, leaves and stems and adds moths, ladybug, and dew drops. True to size, shape, and color, when I look at her work, I feel as though I'm seeing her plant sample in its true form.

Plum = Prune de Monsieur. Vincent, Henriette. Études de fleurs et de fruits: peints d'après nature. 1820. Digitized by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lenhardt Library. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/48344874.

As was proper etiquette for women at this time, what you don’t see are roots, seeds, and reproductive plant parts, which would be included in scientific works of this era.

Henriette Antoinette Vincent (1786-1830). Image used with permission from her descendent.

Madame Vincent was a student of renowned botanical artists Pierre-Joseph Redouté and Gerard van Spaendonck and truly learned her craft from the masters. She had the opportunity to exhibit her work in the Paris Salon about the time this volume was published.

The plates are signed "Peint par Mme. Vincent, gravé par Lambert aîné," which translates to "Painted by Mrs. Vincent, engraved by Lambert elder."

Explore this magnificent work in BHL, digitized from the collections of the Chicago Botanic Garden Lenhardt Library, and explore all of the illustrations in Flickr.

Currant = Groseilles. Vincent, Henriette. Études de fleurs et de fruits: peints d'après nature. 1820. Digitized by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Lenhardt Library. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/48344870.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Solenne Coutagne visits Smithsonian Libraries

Solenne Coutagne of the Bibliotheque Interuniversitaire de Santé (BIU Santé) in Paris visited the Smithsonian Libraries during a tour of library and museum collections in the DC area. Solenne is the manager of digital projects at BIU Santé, the largest medical library in France.

On 19 April, she met with Martin Kalfatovic and Carolyn Sheffield to discuss digitization initiatives and learn about BHL’s workflows.  While on site, Jacqueline Chapman and Daniel Euphrat provided a tour of the Libraries’ scanning facility and overview of BHL’s scanning operations at the National Museum of Natural History.

As part of her Smithsonian tour, Solenne also met with Leslie Overstreet in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History Rare Books and Lilla Vekerdy in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.

BIU Santé has digitized thousands of items related to the history of medicine literature and Solenne was excited to learn more about BHL's operations and the Internet Archive workflows and equipment.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016!

By: Laurel E. Byrnes
Outreach and Social Media Volunteer
Biodiversity Heritage Library 

Happy Earth Day!  This special day for recognizing and fighting the serious and negative effects of climate change began on April 22nd, 1970.  On that first Earth Day, 20 million Americans peacefully demonstrated to shine light on the devastating effects of modern life and production on wildlife and the climate.  Soon after this the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and other laws meant to protect the environment were passed by the government.  By the 1990s Earth Day expanded and came to be celebrated by over 200 million people in 141 countries--and now more than 1 billion people all around the world participate on Earth Day in order to help the environment.

Climate change refers to changes happening to the world climate, which are linked to rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and shifting flower and plant blooming times.  Contributions to human-induced climate change include the burning of fossil fuels, which releases heat-trapping gases into the air.  Climate change affects biodiversity of all kinds and in all areas of the world, often by depriving animals of their habitats and food sources, or changing their living conditions dramatically and dangerously.

Deforestation, another driving cause of climate change, is the cutting down of trees on a very large scale, and it happens most often due to agricultural reasons, financial reasons, or human expansion into new areas to live.  Millions of species lose their habitats as a result of deforestation.  In addition, without the trees to provide a forest canopy to block the sun during the day and capture heat at night, extreme temperature swings result and can negatively impact plants and animals in the area.  

Let's preserve our beautiful forests--and plant new ones! Image at BHL here.

There are lots of things that you can do this Earth Day to help fight climate change.  One of the most important things people and organizations do is plant trees.  This short read, Trees Are the Answer. . .to America’s Growing Environmental Concerns, is just as relevant today as when it was published.  Trees fight climate change by absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.  CO2 is harmful to the climate and is created by such things as car emissions.  In one year, an acre of mature trees can absorb enough CO2 to make up for a car that drove 26,000 miles (source).  In addition to absorbing CO2, trees absorb other climate pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and ammonia, and act as a filter to capture harmful particulates in their leaves and bark.  In addition to planting trees, you can take part in cleaning local parks and streams, start composting to turn food waste into soil, eat less meat to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are a byproduct of the meat industry, stop using disposable plastic which can kill wildlife and destroy ecosystems, buy local produce to reduce the carbon emissions needed to drive in non-local produce, drive less to reduce your carbon footprint (try biking for some healthy fun!), sign up to stop receiving junk mail which wastes paper, and recycle electronic devices which are normally thrown into landfills that pollute the environment.

Planting trees will help combat climate change. Image at BHL here.

If you are a budding naturalist, you can help the climate and biodiversity by becoming a Citizen Naturalist--anyone can do this, including kids!  Citizen Naturalists monitor their local ecosystems and threats to wildlife and submit their observations to citizen science programs.  There are many groups dedicated to wildlife observation to help protect wildlife and fight climate change, and some of the fun animals you can help observe include frogs, birds, fireflies, and Monarch Butterflies.  If you want to work alongside a professional scientist, you can become a Citizen Science volunteer, where you assist scientists in their research to help analyze and combat the effects of climate change.  Check out the National Wildlife Federation’s page about Citizen Naturalists and Scientists for more information about groups to join and project ideas: NWF Citizen Science Resources.  You can also get involved with Citizen Science through BHL: Click Here for BHL Citizen Science Information!

Citizen Naturalists and Citizen Scientists can take note of the wildlife in their backyards and local parks. Image at BHL here.

How do you plan to get involved this Earth Day?  Tell us below!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Celebrating our Collections, #BHLat10 Style

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. We're kicking off our year-long celebrations with our #BHLat10 campaign this week, 11-15 April 2016. The campaign celebrates BHL's impact on the global science community, our history and growth, and our collections. Content is being published on our blog, TwitterFacebookFlickr, Pinterest, and BHL. Learn more: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/collection/BHLat10

One of our objectives for the #BHLat10 campaign is to celebrate our collections around our 10th anniversary themes and highlight contributions from our Members and Affiliates. So, we pulled together some "Top 10" lists as well as collections of "top" content from our Members and Affiliates. Explore some highlights below and check out our website for the full content.

The most-viewed book in BHL. Linné, Carl von. Caroli Linnaei...Systema naturae per regna trip naturae. v. 1 (1758). http://biodiversitylibrary.org/item/10277. Digitized by the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Top 10 Viewed Books in BHL

The most-downloaded book in BHL. Bergey, D. H. (David Hendricks). Bergey's manual of determinative bacteriology. (1957). http://biodiversitylibrary.org/item/41848. Digitized by the MBLWHOI Library.

Top 10 Downloaded Books in BHL

Member and Affiliate Contribution Highlights
  • View the top downloaded book from each of our Members and Affiliates
  • Explore our Member and Affiliates' most viewed albums in Flickr in our BHL at 10 Image Collection (slideshow of the images from these albums below)
  • View selections from our Members and Affiliates' top-viewed Flickr albums in Pinterest

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer


We hope you'll join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary this week and all year long! Follow #BHLat10 on social media to catch all of our great content and tell us how BHL has impacted your work by posting with the hashtag or leaving a comment on this blog.



To help ensure that BHL continues to provide free and open access to biodiversity literature for decades to come, we've launched a CafePress store with products celebrating our 10th anniversary and featuring images from our collection. We've launched the store with a small selection of images from BHL, but we'll be expanding this selection in the future as we continue to develop our store. 100% of the proceeds that BHL receives from the sale of these products will be used to digitize more books for BHL. Check out the store today!

And if merchandise isn't your thing, but you want to help support BHL's future, consider making a tax-deductible gift to help us continue to support science and research around the world.

Finally, don't forget to sign our birthday card and tell us what BHL means to you!

Happy Birthday, BHL!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

BHL at 10: Celebrating Our History

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. We're kicking off our year-long celebrations with our #BHLat10 campaign this week, 11-15 April 2016. The campaign celebrates BHL's impact on the global science community, our history and growth, and our collections. Content is being published on our blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, and BHL. Learn more: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/collection/BHLat10

We also have programming all week tying into our #BHLat10 themes. Learn more.

One of the themes of our #BHLat10 campaign is to celebrate our history. To do so, we've created a timeline highlighting some of our major milestones and provided an in-depth narrative of our history on our website.

(Click to Enlarge)

BHL officially launched in 2006 during the program's first organizational meeting at the Smithsonian Libraries. The meeting, and hence BHL, grew out of discussions that occurred a year earlier during the 2005 meeting “Library and Laboratory: The Marriage of Research, Data, and Taxonomic Literature” at the Natural History Museum in London.

At the time of its formation, BHL included ten member organizations in the U.S. and the U.K. Tom Garnett, then Associate Director of Smithsonian Libraries, was named Program Director of BHL in 2007. The Smithsonian also assumed administrative responsibility for the program, establishing the BHL Secretariat. The Missouri Botanical Garden took on the program’s technical operations under Chris Freeland’s guidance as BHL’s Technical Director. Martin R. Kalfatovic, Associate Director of Digital Programs and Initiatives at Smithsonian Libraries and BHL’s current Program Director, took on the BHL directorial role after Garnett’s retirement in 2012. William Ulate served as Technical Director from 2012-2015, following Freeland’s departure from the Missouri Botanical Garden. Today, BHL’s technical development is led by a team of Technical Advisors comprised of staff from BHL’s Member institutions under the direction of Kalfatovic.



In 2007, the BHL website launched with just over 300 titles, largely comprised of collections already digitized by BHL’s Members. Over the ten years since its formation, BHL’s collections have grown to over 48 million pages, constituting over 175,000 volumes and over 106,000 titles. The consortium has also grown from 10 founding institutions to over 60 Member, Affiliate, and Partner institutions on every continent except Antarctica. Since its launch, BHL has served over 4.9 million people in 240 countries and territories. On average, BHL receives more than 161,000 visits per month, constituting over 9.4 million visits over the library’s lifetime. Additionally, BHL has made over 100,000 of the illustrations within its collection available in Flickr, which in turn have been viewed over 161 million times.



Over the past ten years, the Biodiversity Heritage Library has become the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature. It now serves as a standard for taxonomic literature aggregation, discovery and presentation as well as a model for other digital library initiatives. By engaging with the scientific community to identify user needs, incorporating tools that facilitate data discovery and reuse, and continuing to grow collections under open access principles by fostering existing and establishing new partnerships with libraries and data providers around the world, BHL has become an unparalleled resource that is transforming the way scientists, researchers, and the public understand and study the natural world.

Learn more about our history on our website.

We hope you'll join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary this week and all year long! Follow #BHLat10 to catch all of our great content and tell us how BHL has impacted your work by posting with the hashtag or leaving a comment on this blog.



To help ensure that BHL continues to provide free and open access to biodiversity literature for decades to come, we've launched a CafePress store with products celebrating our 10th anniversary and featuring images from our collection. We've launched the store with a small selection of images from BHL, but we'll be expanding this selection in the future as we continue to develop our store. 100% of the proceeds that BHL receives from the sale of these products will be used to digitize more books for BHL. Check out the store today!

And if merchandise isn't your thing, but you want to help support BHL's future, consider making a tax-deductible gift to help us continue to support science and research around the world.

Finally, don't forget to sign our birthday card and tell us what BHL means to you!

Happy Birthday, BHL!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Your Next Purchase Could Help Save Biodiversity and Support Research Worldwide

We live in the midst of a major extinction crisis and widespread climate change. Documenting Earth's species and understanding the complexities of swiftly-changing ecosystems is more important than ever before. To do this, scientists need something that no single library can provide - access to the world's collective knowledge about biodiversity.



Fortunately, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is revolutionizing scientific research by providing free and open access to the collections of natural history and botanical libraries around the world. Since it was founded in 2006, BHL has become the largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature, allowing everyone, everywhere to freely access collections from across global and providing scientists with the information they need to study and save biodiversity. Learn more about how BHL helps save biodiversity and read testimonials from real users about BHL's impact on global science.



The existence of BHL depends on support from our users. As part of our 10th anniversary celebration, we've launched a CafePress store with products featuring our #BHLat10 theme and images from our collection. We're launching the store with a small selection of images from BHL, but we'll be expanding this selection in the future as we continue to develop our store. 100% of the proceeds that BHL receives from the sale of these products will be used to digitize more books for BHL. Start shopping today and help give scientists around the world the resources they need to study and save biodiversity.

And if merchandise isn't your thing, but you want to help support BHL's future, consider making a tax-deductible gift to help us continue to support science and research around the world.

Follow #BHLat10 all this week (11-15 April 2016) to join our 10th anniversary celebrations.  The campaign celebrates BHL's impact on the global science community, our history and growth, and our collections. Content is being published on our blog, TwitterFacebookFlickr, Pinterest, and BHL. Learn more: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/collection/BHLat10

We also have programming all week tying into our #BHLat10 themes. Learn more.

Finally, don't forget to sign our birthday card and tell us what BHL means to you!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy 10th Anniversary, BHL!

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL, www.biodiversitylibrary.org)!



Since 2006, the Biodiversity Heritage Library has transformed the way scientists, researchers, and librarians around the world access knowledge about and study life on Earth. In order to document Earth's species and understand the complexities of swiftly-changing ecosystems in the midst of a major extinction crisis and widespread climate change, scientists need something that no single library can provide - access to the world's collective knowledge about biodiversity. Beyond the scientific realm, such information also allows scholars to answer complex research questions related to human exploration, culture, and the history of science. Through a worldwide partnership of natural history and botanical libraries, BHL has become the largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature, allowing everyone, everywhere to freely access library collections from across global and empowering research like never before.

We're celebrating our anniversary with our #BHLat10 campaign this week, 11-15 April 2016. The campaign highlights BHL's impact on the global science community; our history, growth, and Member and Affiliate contributions; and collections that highlight our 10th anniversary theme. Content will be published through our blog, Twitter, and Facebook. We also have a Flickr collection made up of the most-viewed albums from our Members and Affiliates,  and a Pinterest board with selections from those albums. Finally, check out the most-downloaded books from each of our Members and Affiliates in our BHL book collection. Learn more about our campaign here: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/collection/BHLat10

We'll also have programming throughout the week that celebrates our 10th anniversary and highlights our #BHLat10 themes. Check out our full list of programs below:

From Shelf to Screen
In the past 10 years, BHL’s collections have grown to over 48 million pages! Find out how a book goes from a library’s shelves to BHL by going behind-the-scenes at the Smithsonian Libraries’ Conservation and Digitization Annex!
When? 10am EDT/3pm BST, 11 April 2016
Where? www.periscope.tv/biodivlibrary

BHL Day at the Natural History Museum, London
A programme highlighting BHL’s impact on the global science community and featuring speakers from biodiversity-related disciplines.
When? 8am-1pm EDT/1-6pm BST, 12 April 2016
Where? Follow #BHLDay on Twitter to join the live tweeting of this event.

Let's Talk Impact: An Interview with Rod Page at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Join us for a live interview at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with Martin R. Kalfatovic (@UDCMRK), BHL Program Director, and Rod Page (@rdmpage), creator of BioStor (@biostor_org), for a discussion about BHL’s impact on science and possibilities for the future.
When? 11am EDT/4pm BST, 13 April 2016
Where? Google Hangouts: http://bit.do/BHLLetsTalkImpact

Behind the Scenes at Tring
BHL’s partner libraries are full of amazing treasures. Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at selections from the Ornithology and Rothschild Libraries’ incredible collections at the Natural History Museum at Tring.
When? 6am EDT/11am BST, 15 April 2016
Where? www.periscope.tv/biodivlibrary

It's a great week to celebrate our 10th anniversary because it's also the American Library Association's National Library Week. This year's NLW theme is #LibrariesTransform. BHL has been transforming scientific research for 10 years, helping scientists identify, describe, and save Earth's biodiversity. Explore interviews with actual users to see how BHL supports science and education (and even humanities research in history and art!). Visit our website to learn more about the tools, services, and citizen science initiatives that BHL provides and supports to help further transform biodiversity research around the world.


To help ensure that BHL continues to transform biodiversity research for decades to come, we've launched a CafePress store with products celebrating our 10th anniversary and featuring images from our collection. We've launched the store with a small selection of images from BHL, but we'll be expanding this selection in the future as we continue to develop our store. 100% of the proceeds that BHL receives from the sale of these products will be used to digitize more books for BHL. Check out the store today!



And if merchandise isn't your thing, but you want to help support BHL's future, consider making a tax-deductible gift to help us continue to support science and research around the world.

We hope you'll join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary this week and all year long! Follow #BHLat10 on social media to catch all of our great content and tell us how BHL has impacted your work by posting with the hashtag or leaving a comment on this blog. And don't forget to sign our birthday card and tell us what BHL means to you!

Happy Birthday, BHL!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Join us Next Week as we Celebrate 10 Years of Inspiring Discovery



2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Founded in 2006, BHL inspires discovery and supports global scientific research by providing free, online access to biodiversity literature from libraries around the world.

We're kicking off our year-long celebrations with our #BHLat10 campaign next week, 11-15 April 2016. The campaign will highlight BHL's impact on the global science community; our history, growth, and Member and Affiliate contributions; and collections that highlight our 10th anniversary theme. Content will be published through our blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and BHL itself. Learn more here: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/collection/BHLat10

We'll also have programming throughout the week that celebrates our 10th anniversary and highlights our #BHLat10 themes. Check out our full list of programs below:

(click to enlarge)

We hope you'll join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary next week and all year long! Follow #BHLat10 on social media to catch all of our great content and tell us how BHL has impacted your work by posting with the hashtag or leaving a comment on this blog.

Happy Birthday, BHL!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Supporting Biodiversity Research in the High School Classroom

When we talk about BHL's impact on global science, we often focus on how our collections support the work of scientists, researchers, and post-docs. Our collections are also an invaluable tool for students as well, and not just college students either. Middle and high school students can use our primary source material to conduct research for classroom assignments. Additionally, students of all ages can benefit from the wealth of plant and animal illustrations that we make available in Flickr as well as our online exhibitions highlighting topics like Latino Natural History and Early Women in Science.

Online exhibit for Latino Natural History.

Michael R. Blake, Associate Director and Head of Instructional Services at Phillips Academy Andover, provides support to high school students researching the natural world. He graciously provided us with the following testimonial on his experience with BHL, including its use as a resource for class assignments and research.

Michael Blake telling stories to the Ticknor Society.

"I have been a science/medical librarian for more than 30 years. I retired from Harvard University two years ago and am now working with high school students focusing on the natural sciences. My avocation is exploring the out-of-doors and fishing the rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams within a reasonable driving distance. To fuel the librarian in me, I am also an avid collector of first edition fly fishing books printed in North America. 
I first discover BHL during its early days of existence. I had worked with two of the parent organizations, Harvard University and the Smithsonian, and knew some of the people involved in bringing this amazing resource to the public. 
I frequently use the BHL to learn about regions of the world I am unfamiliar. In helping students with writing assignments and their own research, the BHL’s resources provide answers not easily found using other databases. Recently, after reading “John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire,” I searched the BHL for any correspondence that John Muir might have written. I discovered a few items that then lead me to explore George Engelmann and Paulus Roetter. 
I usually am looking for specific items in the BHL when I use it. As an Instructional Librarian, I try to teach students how to find their needed information and enjoy some new aspect of natural history. I also go to the “Recent Additions” link to find the latest and greatest additions to the BHL; even though the latest addition might be a breviary from the 15th century. My favorite features and services provided by the BHL are the beautifully digitized images that add so much to any work. Seeing how a plant was illustrated in the 1800’s and then gathering all of the research on the item keeps me coming back. 
If I could change one thing about BHL, it would be the financial support of the organization. I would love to see an endowment that ensured the existence of the organization for the future."

Thanks so much for sharing your testimonial with us, Michael! Ensuring BHL's financial future is, not surprisingly, a top priority for us as well. You can help ensure that BHL continues to support research about the natural world at all levels, from scientist to elementary school student, with a tax-deductible donation.

Do you have experience with or examples of using BHL in classroom settings? Tell us about it by leaving a comment on this blog or emailing us at biodiversitylibrary@gmail.com.