The Perfect Holiday Gift

Preserving Biodiversity Knowledge and Strengthening Conservation Efforts

In 1918, the last known surviving Carolina Parakeet, the only parrot species native to the eastern United States, died. While museum specimens may help us retain some information about this species, for many others, everything we know is contained in a single description found within a hard to find book or article. While there is nothing we can do to bring these extinct species back, we can preserve our knowledge of them to help avoid future extinctions.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), in its global efforts to digitize biodiversity literature and make it freely available to the world, ensures that the knowledge needed to identify species, facilitate further scientific research, and support conservation efforts is available to everyone, everywhere. Thanks in part to donations from users like you, BHL currently provides access to nearly 40 million pages and over 50,000 images.

In 2012, BHL significantly advanced the breadth and depth of its collections and the opportunities to engage with its digitized resources. BHL added over 12,000 items and over 3.7 million pages to its collections this year, supported in part by the addition of two new members to the BHL consortium: the United States Geological Survey and Cornell University. Furthermore, BHL continued to serve new and widespread audiences by establishing a greater presence across social media channels, resulting in over 30,000 new images in Flickr this year; biodiversity facts, history, and trivia communicated via Tweets, Blog and Facebook posts; and downloads through iTunes U, all free to the public. BHL continues to expand globally, as evidenced by the June, 2012, BHL meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, designed to support the development of a BHL-Africa.

The most rewarding measure of BHL’s successes comes from the frequent testimonials received from users:

“The BHL website is an extremely valuable resource and is crucial to my research.”

“Being in a small town in Africa made accessing literature especially difficult, but I no longer feel so disadvantaged with the advent of BHL.”

“BHL makes my research so much easier! I absolutely love it. A million times thank you!”

The BHL’s substantial growth and activity has been supported by our dedicated patrons whose gifts we depend on to fund the digitization of additional texts, technical development for the program, and improvement of data curation. This holiday season, as you continue to seek the perfect gift for your loved ones, consider giving a gift to the planet by supporting scientific research and conservation efforts across the globe through a tax-deductible donation to the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

As a gift from our BHL family to yours, enjoy these BHL Holiday Greeting Cards and Travel Posters! Download them for free from the BHL Pinterest. Happy Holidays!

Avatar for Michelle Strizever
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