Biodiversity Heritage Library

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is a nifty portal in which to while away the cyber-hours. As described on the BHL website,

"The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the digitization component of the Encyclopedia of Life, is a consortium of 12 major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions organized to digitize, serve, and preserve the legacy literature of biodiversity. The European Commission’s eContentPlus program has recently funded the BHL-Europe project, with 22 institutions, to assemble the European language literature. In addition, negotiations are being pursued with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Atlas of Living Australia and contacts in Japan, India, and Russia to join the BHL consortium. These projects will work together to share content, protocols, services, and digital preservation practices.Prior to digitization, the resources housed within each BHL institution have existed in isolation, available only to those with physical access to the collections. These collections are of exceptional value because the domain of systematic biology depends – more than any other science – upon historic literature. Consequently, the relative isolation of these collections presented an antiquated obstacle to further biodiversity investigation. This problem is particularly acute for the developing countries that are home to the majority of the world’s biodiversity."
As you can see, this is a major worldwide undertaking—a trove of amazing information, images, and ideas. You'll happen upon more data-sparks than you'll know what do with with just sailing through the tag cloud on the main page. That cloud will lead to you a veritable heaven of research on bees, trees, entomology, natural history, pictorial works, and tons of other interesting stuff.

On the left side of the page are BHL updates noting new additions to the collection, books of the week, and other news. You can subscribe to these updates via RSS feed. Have fun, and let us know what you find there.

No comments: