The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL is revolutionizing global research by providing free, worldwide access to knowledge about life on Earth.
To document Earth’s species and understand the complexities of swiftly-changing ecosystems in the midst of a major extinction crisis and widespread climate change, researchers need something that no single library can provide – access to the world’s collective knowledge about biodiversity. While natural history books and archives contain information that is critical to studying biodiversity, much of this material is available in only a handful of libraries globally. Scientists have long considered this lack of access to biodiversity literature as a major impediment to the efficiency of scientific research.
BHL operates as a worldwide consortium of natural history, botanical, research, and national libraries working together to address this challenge by digitizing the natural history literature held in their collections and making it freely available for open access as part of a global “biodiversity community.”
The BHL portal provides free access to hundreds of thousands of volumes, comprising over 57 million pages, from the 15th-21st centuries. In addition to public domain content, BHL works with rights holders to obtain permission to make in-copyright materials openly available under Creative Commons licenses.more