My first experience with the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) occurred during my search for information on a certain gastropod, Tegula patagonica, for a biological research paper on the relationship between the abundance of marine gastropod shells and varying beach substrates in coastal Patagonia. I had just returned to Cornell University from field research in Bahía Bustamante, a small coastal town in Argentina, and I needed to begin compiling my research into a paper. However, there was one small catch – because Bahía Bustamante had no reliable internet connection, I had been unable to research the shells I was using for my project while in the field. Therefore, upon returning to Cornell, I had to first identify every shell I had used to the species level, and then research each species before I could even begin to write my paper.
The BHL proved the most useful resource in my search for information on Patagonian gastropods. By typing in Tegula patagonica alone, I found results not only in English and Spanish (which I could read and use for my paper), but also various other languages such as German, French, and Portuguese. Furthermore, I did not even have to leave my room to access these materials.