Biodiversity Heritage Library Adds University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as New Member

The Biodiversity Heritage Library, headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries, welcomes the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a new member. The 16th member of the BHL consortium, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will help identify and digitize historical science literature from its collections and add these to the BHL’s online holdings, where all materials may be accessed free by the public.

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library is the preeminent global repository for historic science literature,” said Martin Kalfatovic, BHL program director and associate director for digital services at the Smithsonian Libraries. “The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has partnered from the start with the BHL and BHL members for many years and we are excited that we can formalize our partnership by welcoming them as our 16th member.”

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library is a campus-wide network of libraries serving programs of learning and research in many disciplines and is the largest public university research library in the country with more than 13 million volumes. The Biology Library collection alone contains over 137,000 volumes and there are many more in related departmental libraries on campus, such as the agriculture, natural history, and rare book and manuscript collections. For more information about the University Library, please visit

The current members of the BHL include: the American Museum of Natural History (New York, N.Y.), the California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco, Calif.), Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.), the Botany Libraries (Harvard University), the Ernst Mayr Library at the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Cambridge, Mass.), the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), the Marine Biological Laboratory of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Woods Hole, Mass.), the Missouri Botanical Garden (St. Louis, Mo.), the National Library Board (Singapore), the Natural History Museum (London), the Kew York Botanical Garden (Bronx, N.Y.), the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew, United Kingdom), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, D.C.) and the United States Geological Survey. Additionally, three institutions participate at the affiliate level: the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago, Ill.), the American of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pa.) and the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County (Los Angeles, Calif.).

Beyond the English-language efforts, BHL-Europe includes 28 institutions that are working to digitize European literature. In addition, China, Australia, Egypt, Brazil and Africa have created national or regional nodes that may be accessed through the BHL portal.

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Carolyn Sheffield served as the BHL Program Manager from July 2013 - February 2019. She is currently the Associate Director of Library Technology and Digital Strategies at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds a Masters of Library Science from the University of Maryland.