New Feature on BHL: Add Comments to a Book!


A new and enhanced commenting system is being planned for BHL. The commenting system described below has been disabled as of July 5, 2016. Learn more.


We are pleased to announce that we have added the ability to add comments to books in the BHL website!

This new feature will allow you to easily share your discoveries while reading BHL books, highlight interesting content, post your expertise for others to see, engage in conversations about BHL books from directly within BHL, and easily discover all of the great posts from your fellow biodiversity-enthusiasts. We hope that this tool will provide another way for users to engage with our collections and network with others in the BHL community.

The new commenting feature is powered by Disqus, a social commenting tool that allows people to discuss content on websites. Disqus is the commenting tool currently in use on the BHL blog. Disqus works like other social platforms, allowing you to follow people or communities, recommend discussions (which is essentially “liking” or “favoriting” the discussion), and, on your personal Disqus homepage, see the comments and discussions from people and communities you follow, replies to your comments, or discussions recommended by those you follow. You can also share discussions via Twitter and Facebook. Thus, your comments won’t be lost in a vacuum but can be easily discovered and contributed to by other users.

This feature was developed in collaboration with the Ryerson University Social Media Lab in Canada  as part of the international project on Mining Biodiversity.

How to Comment on Books in BHL

When you are viewing a book in BHL, you will notice that a new tab has been added to the book viewer that reads “Add Comments.” Click on the tab to expand the comment window. Within the expanded window, you can add a comment to the page you are viewing and view the existing comments on that page. Comments are added at the page-level, meaning that as you scroll through the book, the “Add Comments” tab will display only those comments added to the page you are viewing. If you add a new comment, it will be associated with the page you are viewing when you add the comment.

If there are no existing comments on the page you are viewing, the window will display the message “No Comments Yet. Click Here to Discuss this Page.” Click the message to add a comment to the page.

You must have a Disqus account to comment on a page in BHL. You can login to your Disqus account through the “Login” link in the “Add Comments” tab or by choosing one of the sign-in methods displayed beneath the comment text box.

If you do not have a Disqus account, you can create one from within BHL, or you can sign-up on the Disqus website.

Once you are logged into Disqus, you can type your comment into the comment text box and then click the “Post As [Username]” button to submit your comment. You will then see your comment posted to the page.

If there are pre-existing comments on the page, expanding the “Add Comments” tab will display the previous comments added to that page as well as provide you with the text box to add your own comment. Posting a comment will add your comment to the list of previously-posted comments.

Beneath each comment, you can click on “Edit” to edit your own comments, “Reply” to reply to an existing comment, or “Share” to share the work on Twitter or Facebook.

As comments are added to pages, a count bubble will display on top of the “Add Comments” tab. This bubble will show the number of comments that have been added to the page you are viewing. The count will increase when you add a new comment to a page. This count bubble will not display if there are no comments on the page.

Talk bubble icons will also appear in the “Pages” box next to those pages that have comments on them. Scrolling through the “Pages” window is a quick way to see which pages in the book have comments. When a comment is added to a page for the first time, a new talk bubble icon will display next to that page in the “Pages” window.

Once you expand the “Add Comments” tab, it will remain open as you scroll through the book, updating as you scroll to display the comments on the current page you are viewing. To close the window, simply click on the tab again, which will read as “Hide Comments” once the window is expanded. This will close the comment window until you expand it again by clicking on the “Add Comments” tab.

View and Follow Comments Added to Books in BHL

You can click on the “View BHL’s Community” link in the comment window to see a list of all of the comments added to any book in BHL. The list is available on the BHL profile page in Disqus.

To see all of the comments added to just the book you are currently viewing, click the “Community” link in the comments window.

You can follow BHL on Disqus to receive notification of any new comments added to any book in BHL. Simply click on “Follow” on the BHL Disqus profile page. You will then receive notifications of all new comments added to BHL books via the “Recommended” feed on your Disqus homepage.

If you want to receive notification of new comments added to a particular book in BHL, simply “Follow” that book’s forum on Disqus. To do this, click on the “Community” link in the comment window for the book you want to receive notifications about. This will take you to that book’s forum on Disqus. Click on the “Follow” button in the forum’s header. You will then receive notification of new comments added to that book in the “Latest Discussions” feed on your Disqus homepage.

Tell us what you Think!

We want to know what you think about our new commenting feature. Send us any feedback you have about the tool via our feedback form or by leaving a comment to this blog post. We’ll use your feedback to help us improve the service.

*Please note: BHL reserves the right to monitor comments added to our library and remove any that do not comply with the terms of use as stated in the “Interactive Features and User-Generated Content” section on this page:

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This feature has been added as part of BHL’s Mining Biodiversity project. Mining Biodiversity is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (Grant number LG-00-14-0032-14).

Avatar for Grace Costantino
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Grace Costantino served as the Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library from 2014 to 2021. In this capacity, she developed and managed BHL's communication strategy, oversaw social media initiatives, and engaged with the public to excite audiences about the wealth of biodiversity heritage available in BHL. Prior to her role as Outreach and Communication Manager, Grace served as the Digital Collections Librarian for Smithsonian Libraries and as the Program Manager for BHL.