BHL Surpasses 40 Million Pages!

May we have a drum roll please…….

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is pleased to announce that we have just surpassed 40 million pages in our online collection!

That’s 40 million pages of open access biodiversity literature that was previously available only in the collections of a few select libraries around the world. Making this literature freely available removes these boundaries to access, thus increasing the efficiency of scientific research and discovery of the natural world for anyone with an Internet connection.

BHL officially launched in May, 2007, with just over 600,000 pages of primarily botanical literature previously digitized for the Botanicus program at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Today, over 5 years later, we’ve added over 39.4 million more pages, contributed from the collections of 14 BHL member institutions, 3 global partners (including China, Australia, and Europe), and 124 providers that make their content openly available in the Internet Archive. Subjects covered in the collection now include not only botany but also zoology, scientific expeditions, gardening, fungi, conservation, archaeology, fossils, and ecology, to name a few.

While making over 40 million pages of literature freely available, we’ve also been working to improve discoverability of and access to the thousands of incredible scientific illustrations found within these digitized texts by exposing them via Flickr. To date, we’ve added over 55,000 images to the BHL Flickr, free for browsing, downloading, and reuse via a Creative Commons license. With funds received from a recent National Endowment for the Humanities grant, we’re exploring ways to further automate the discovery of these images in BHL.

Beyond our work with images, we continue to embrace strategies that allow us to reach new audiences on new platforms and expand user opportunities to interact with our collections. This includes featuring content on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, as well as making select items available for free download in iTunes U.

While the common thread throughout this post may be that all of our content is free, the cost to digitize this material and support further technical development is not. Our 40 million pages was achieved thanks to the support of grant agencies, generous in-kind contributions and subventions from our member libraries, and donations from users like you. Help us reach another 40 million pages with a tax-deductible donation to BHL. Together, we can ensure that the world’s biodiversity literature is available to everyone, everywhere.

View more images in the BHL Flickr!

* Find the image of the Asian Elephants, displayed in the Systema Naturae image above, in Johnson’s Household Book of Nature.

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