FAQ

Search the FAQ


General

BHL operates as a worldwide consortium of over 80 partners from natural history, botanical, research, and national libraries working together to digitize the natural history literature held in their collections and make it freely available for open access as part of a global “biodiversity community.”

Tags: institutions, members, affiliates, contributors

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is funded in large part by BHL Member Dues and by individual donations. Members and Affiliates have also received generous support from their parent institutions to enable significant contributions in the form of staffing and other in-kind costs. Please see our complete list of funding sources for more information.

Tags: grants, funding, endowments, federal, money, budget, expenses, donors

We will take suggestions from users about additional materials to include in our collection but we cannot guarantee fulfillment of any requests submitted.  We retain requests received from our users as a running list of potential additions and will process requests as time and resources allow. Please keep in mind that it commonly takes several years before requests are fulfilled.

Please review our Guidelines for Submitting Scanning Requests before submitting your request via this form.

Tags: digitize, digitization, recommendations, collections, collection development, contribute

If you notice a problem with the BHL website or an error with any of the materials in our collection, please let us know by filling out our feedback form at http://biodiversitylibrary.org/contact. BHL is voluntarily staffed by our Partner Libraries and we are limited in our ability to respond personally to each contact with our patrons. We appreciate your patience. A BHL staff member may contact you if we require further information.

If the form is unavailable for some reason (i.e. BHL website outage), you can email us at feedback@biodiversitylibrary.org.

Tags: troubleshooting, error, quality control, quality assurance, QA, technical problem

Thank you for your feedback! BHL is voluntarily staffed by our Partner Libraries and we are limited in our ability to respond personally to each contact with our patrons. We appreciate your patience. A BHL staff member may contact you if we require further information.

Tags: error, reporting, technical problem, quality control, quality assurance, QA, ask a librarian, reference

Many of the items in BHL’s collection are in the public domain and free to reuse without risk of copyright infringement. BHL does our best to indicate the copyright status of each item digitized by our partner institutions. Ultimately, BHL does not hold copyright on the materials in our collection and cannot grant permission. It is up to you to review the copyright status of the image or item you wish to reuse and abide by any copyright risks or restrictions that may apply.

Generally speaking, the country where you plan to use the content and the nature of the use dictate what you can/cannot do as well as the level of risk involved. Commercial use carries higher risk than non-commercial use and in different countries there are different copyright laws governing use. Please review the copyright law for the country in which you plan to use or publish the content. BHL recommends consulting the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Lex database at  https://wipolex.wipo.int/en/main/legislation for further information.

Please see more information on copyright and reuse of the BHL collection.

Tags: permission, reuse, republication, licensing, license, copyright

BHL welcomes content into its collection that are relevant to the wide range of fields that support biodiversity research. We prioritize the selection of content from our BHL partner library collections as well as biodiversity relevant materials available within the Internet Archive corpus. For more details about our selection process, please review our collection development policy.

scope

Tags: selection, deduplication, collections, collection development, deaccession

If the BHL website is down, please monitor our status on Twitter https://twitter.com/biodivlibrary or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BioDivLibrary/. If BHL is down, you can access content from our partners in the biodiversity collection via Internet Archive.

If the BHL website is available but page images for books are not showing then this means that the Internet Archive’s website at http://archive.org is down. We partner with the Internet Archive to digitize and host our entire collection and as such their outages directly affect the availability of our materials. We will provide updates on our homepage and via our social media outlets as described above.

If you are experiencing website difficulties for whatever reason, please try http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/ to test your connection and if the problem persists, submit your question or problem to our feedback form or (if the form is unavailable due to website outages) email us at feedback@biodiversitylibrary.org describing your issue in as much detail as possible. The more information we have to try and replicate the problem, the better chance we’ll have at being able to address it.

kraken

Tags: troubleshooting, technical issues, website problem, feedback, technical support

Great question. We have our technical priorities described in more detail here.

Tags: development, technical team

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Search

BHL’s full text search is searching the generally uncorrected text derived through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for your term. Since this OCR is automatically-generated and uncorrected, it may be incomplete or have errors that prevent the search engine from locating all instances of your term.

Tags: troubleshooting, quality control, quality assurance, QA

ElasticSearch examines multiple fields (i.e., title, keywords, and full OCR text) and assigns a relevancy score based on:

  1. The number of times a term appears in the field
  2. The length of the field
  3. How often that term appears

If a field is short, like the title, then a term appearing in that field is weighted higher.

If a field is very long, and a term appears many times in the field, and many times over all of the texts in the corpus, then that term is weighted lower. This helps give a lower weight to words like a, and, or the.

If a field is very long, and a term appears infrequently across all of the texts in the corpus, then it’s ranked higher. This helps give a stronger weight to words like hippopotamus or giraffe.

All three of these factors are combined to produce a score for each field in the document, and then the scores for each field are combined to assign a score to the entire document. On top of this, we can force certain fields to be given a greater “weight” than others.

Fields with a higher “weight” have more of an affect on the score than fields with a lower “weight”. The final document score is used to rank the document in the search results.

Nitty gritty details: https://www.elastic.co/guide/en/elasticsearch/guide/current/scoring-theory.html

Tags: user interface, browse

BHL’s full text search functionality uses the ElasticSearch search engine to search the metadata and texts in BHL for your search term. It is important to note that the texts that are being searched are uncorrected text derived through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and are of varying quality. BHL’s OCR is generated by Internet Archive using ABBYY FineReader version 11.0.

Tags: technical development, user interface, search inside

You can generate a bibliography for a scientific name by either searching for a name (see above) or using the following URL structure:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Scientific_name

Where Scientific_name is any uninomial, binomial, or trinomial. Replace spaces with the underscore ( _ )character.

Examples:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Carcharodon_carcharias (Great white shark)
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Phalacrocorax_carbo_maroccanus (Great Cormorant)

Tags: taxonomy, taxa, taxon, species, genus, global names

Using the basic search box, select either the “Full-text” or “Catalog” radio button. The default search is a full-text search.

  • Full-text — searches bibliographic metadata + the full character recognized text of the entire BHL collection. Yields (many) more results than a “catalog” search.
  • Catalog — searches bibliographic metadata only, such as title, author, etc. as you would expect to search within a library catalog. Yields fewer results than full-text search.

full text or catalog search
Note that full text matches rely on automatically generated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) which is of variable quality for each scanned book. Please review more information about how our full text search works in BHL.

Select either the “Full-text” (searches bibliographic metadata + full text) or “catalog” (searches bibliographic metadata only) button by the search box.

  • Enter keywords in a string:
    • Example: Darwin origin species
  • For an exact search, enter a phrase in quotes:
    • Example: “origin of species”
  • Use quotes when searching for a DOI
    • Example: “10.5962/bhl.title.98662”
  • Truncate to search across multiple possible term variants or spellings
    • Example: Linn*
  • Capitalize Boolean operators
    • AND: Search terms combined; Results include any items that contain both terms in the metadata or full text
      • Example: barred AND owl
    • OR: Results include any items that include either term in the metadata or full text
      • Example: Linne OR Linnaeus
    • NOT: Results exclude any items that contain the term following the operator ‘NOT’
      • Example: owl NOT barred
  • For more complex searches that combine Boolean operators, enter keywords in parentheses:
    • Example: (origin OR descent) AND Darwin

For more advanced search strategies, please see our Advanced Search recommendations.

Tags: how to, troubleshooting, support

Each search result displays item information including some basic metadata (e.g., Title, Volume, Publication, etc.). Expand Details to view your search terms in context.
Details

To help refine your search, BHL offers Did You Mean terms presented above the search results. These can be used to help identify potential variant spellings of your search term or other terms of similar spelling.
Did you mean

Tags: facet, filter, advanced search, authors, titles, sort, browse, troubleshooting, support,

BHL now offers the ability to filter your results using facets on the left-hand side. Refine your search by Type, Material, Author, Publication Date, Subject, and Language. By default, each facet will display up to 10 values for filtering. When there are more than 10 available, selecting more… will expand the list to up to 30.

Results automatically update upon selection of a facet value. For best results, select one at a time, allowing the results set to update, before selecting an additional facet value if you wish to further limit your results.

facets example

Each facet value displays the number of matches found in parentheses. Some facets are organized by the number of matches while others may be chronological or alphabetical, as outlined below.

Filter by Type
Options sort alphabetically

Filter by Material
Options sort alphabetically

Filter by Author
Options sort by relevance (i.e., names with the most matches listed first)

Filter by Publication Date
Options sort chronologically

Filter by Subject
Options sort by relevance (i.e., names with the most matches listed first)

Filter by Language
Options sort by relevance (i.e., names with the most matches listed first)

Tags: help desk, user interface, browse

Yes you can! To search inside a book in BHL, navigate to the top right corner of the book viewer, select the Search Inside tab and enter your search terms.

In that same panel, results will display the pages where your search terms are found, along with snippets of the surrounding text. Navigate to any of those pages by clicking on the hyperlinked page number.

search insideThere are also two alternative “search inside” methods for searching within each individual book from outside of the book viewer:

  1. Search using the Internet Archive’s interface
    From the book viewer, go to the upper right hand corner of the screen. Select the “Download Contents” drop-down menu, choose “View at Internet Archive.” You are now viewing the item on the Internet Archive’s website. Select the magnifying glass icon to the right of the book. Note: Do not use the top right search bar – this searches the entire Internet Archive Corpus.
  2. Download and search the full PDF
    From the book viewer, go to the upper right hand corner of the screen. Select the “Download Contents” drop-down menu, choose “Download Book.” Select PDF to download the entire book/volume as a PDF with the full text included as a layer. To search, use your PDF viewer’s search tool (often a magnifying glass icon), or Ctrl+F (Command+F on a Mac)

IMPORTANT: the full text provided by IA/BHL is uncorrected text derived automatically through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. As it is automatically generated and uncorrected, it may contain errors. Full text search is a powerful research tool, but should not be considered exhaustive. Learn more about how full text search works in BHL.

Tags: user interface, book viewer, display, find

You can browse the BHL’s collection by Title, Author, Date, Collection, or Contributor.

  • Browsing by Title will provide an alphabetical list of all titles in the BHL collection — ignores leading English articles such as The, A, An, etc.; does not ignore non-English leading articles such as La, Die, etc.
  • Author browse allows you review an alphabetized list of all creators in the BHL corpus – choose the starting letter of the Last Name, then scroll or search within the results using your browser’s Find feature.
  • Browsing by Collection allows you to explore a variety of title subsets curated around a particular topic or theme.
  • When browsing by Contributor you are able to view subsets of items grouped according to the institution that contributed them to the BHL collection.

To browse more effectively, use your browser’s Find features (Generally Ctrl+F for PCs and Command+F for Macs). This will allow you to search within the browse ‘results.’

Tags: user interface, book viewer, display, find

BHL’s Advanced Search provides a number of options for restricting your search. Advanced searches are catalog-only (i.e. bibliographic metadata like title, author, etc.) searches by default. However, you can use the <"Text"> field on the “Publications” tab to search publication text in addition to bibliographic metadata.

Publications
Search by entering your keywords in to specific bibliographic fields in order to better limit your results. By keyword searching using a combination of 2 or more fields you will limit your results even further:

Title
Author Name
Year
Subject
Language
Collection
Text

For the <"Title"> and <"Text"> fields, select the “All Words” option to search for all of the words specified (in any order) and the “Exact Phrase” option to search for an exact phrase.

Authors
Limit your search for an author’s last name to BHL’s table of author names.

Subjects
Search within the subject keyword database to pull up all subjects related to your search term.

Scientific Names
Biodiversity Heritage Library uses Global Names Architecture’s Global Names Recognition and Discovery (GNRD), a taxonomic name recognition algorithm, to search through the full text and extract the scientific names. Searching for a name will return a list of all the individual pages where that name occurs.

IMPORTANT: the full text provided by IA/BHL is uncorrected text derived automatically through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. As it is automatically generated and uncorrected, it may contain errors. Full text search is a powerful research tool, but should not be considered exhaustive.

Tags: how to, troubleshooting, support, user interface

You can search for a scientific name starting from either the general search bar or advanced search page.

If you are starting from General Search…

Enter a taxonomic name into the general search box:

sci names general search

Select the Scientific Names tab from the results screen:

sci names tab

If you are starting from Advanced Search

Select the Scientific Names tab to search for your name:

sci names advanced search

Both methods will return a list of names matching your search. Click on the desired name:

scientific names list

You will be taken to the Species Bibliography for that name, which lists all of the individual pages where that name occurs. Use the Pages column to access specific pages.

sci names bibliography

Tags: taxonomy, binomials, genus, global names, taxa, taxon, search, data mining, text mining, OCR, optical character recognition

Of course. If you know the title of the book you are looking for and none of the other approaches to searching the BHL corpus has worked for you, try doing a site-specific Google search of BHL. To do this:

  1. go to www.google.com
  2. in the search box, enter your search terms
  3. after your search terms, add site:biodiversitylibrary.org
  4. press enter!

This makes it possible to use Google’s search algorithm on BHL’s website (searches book metadata).

Example search string: “resultats campagnes scientifiques accomplies site:biodiversitylibrary.org”

Hidden within the pages of BHL books and journals are millions of visual resources including drawings, paintings, diagrams, maps, charts, tables, and photographs. They range in size from small, black and white line drawings interspersed within text to full page plate color images.

Image searching within BHL is limited at this time. Searching can only be done at the item (i.e., book or volume) level. Once you’ve identified an item of interest, you can open it in the book viewer and use the thumbnail view to quickly browse for images.

image thumbnail browse

BHL also makes many of the images from available in Flickr. Visit BHL’s Flickr Photostream at
https://www.flickr.com/photos/biodivlibrary.

Use the “search photostream” magnifying glass icon to restrict your search within only BHL’s image collection in flickr

search BHL flickr photostream

Tags: illustrations, #SciArt, art, artworks, photographs

If you cannot find what you are looking for in the BHL collection, please consider submitting a Scanning Request via our webform. We will do our best to process your request as time allows. Please keep in mind that we may be limited in our ability to fulfill requests depending on the holdings of BHL partner institutions, condition of materials, and any copyright restrictions that may apply.

For more information, see our Guidelines for Submitting Scanning Requests.

Tags: digitization, collection development

  1. Visit BHL’s photostream at flickr.com/biodivlibrary.
  2. Click on the magnifying glass.
  3. Enter your search term (such as a scientific name or keyword) in the search box and press “Enter”.

instructions on how to search the BHL Flickr

Tags: illustrations, #SciArt, art, artworks, photographs

We have implemented functionality to allow BHL Partners to upload transcriptions in place of the automatically-generated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for archival materials digitized in BHL. This functionality supports transcriptions generated as part of Partner crowdsourcing projects on Smithsonian Transcription Center, DigiVol, and From the Page.

Book viewer in BHL with correspondence and crowdsourced transcription.
Example of correspondence in BHL for which a crowdsourced transcription has been uploaded in place of the automatically-generated OCR, making the document searchable and easily-readable.

These transcriptions allow archival materials in BHL, like field notes and correspondence, to be full-text searchable and enable our taxonomic name recognition software to index scientific names within their pages. Since the transcribed text can be viewed alongside the digitized page image, users can also more easily read materials with difficult-to-decipher handwriting. Thus, this new functionality makes it easier for researchers and the public to explore these valuable primary source materials and access specific information from their pages.

Interested in transcribing archival materials? Several BHL Partners have active transcription projects on various crowdsourcing platforms. Follow the links below to explore the opportunities and get involved:

Tags: crowdsourcing, citizen science, transcription, OCR, full text search, archives

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Download

Yes of course! The BHL makes its metadata available for public use under the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This Creative Commons license allows you to reuse, modify, repurpose, and distribute the metadata for all purposes including commercial and non-commercial, with no need to ask for permission.

Metadata in this case, refers to:

  • Library catalog records, i.e. bibliographic data, used to describe the books and journals in the BHL collection (e.g. title and author data).
  • Page level data such as page numbers and pages types (e.g. “Title page” and “Illustration”).
  • Scientific name data, e.g. “Zea mays”.

Go ahead, take our metadata and do something creative with it! If you do repurpose BHL metadata please share your story with us. We often like to feature stories of reuse on our BHL blog.

Tags: download, export, METS, MODS, MARC, data, data mining, data export, text mining, copyright, license, licensing

BHL provides all its bibliographic and scientific name data for download and reuse via various web-services. Please visit our Developer and Data Tools page for more information.

Tags: download, METS, MODS, data export, API, technical development, text mining, data mining, OAI-PMH

There are many ways to download resources, and some are better suited for certain purposes than others. Below you will see some common uses suggested on the “useful for” lines, but of course there are many more ways to use the BHL collection.

You can find most of these options when you click on the drop-down menu for “Download Contents” to see various options while viewing a book.

Screenshot of the Biodiversity Heritage Library book viewer showing options in the download contents dropdown menu.

  • View Metadata – allows you to download data about the book in MODS, BibTeX or RIS formats
  • Select pages to download – allows you to generate a custom pdf containing only the pages you need
  • Download Article allows you to generate a PDF of an entire article
    • Useful for: Quickly and easily downloading an article without having to manually select pages
    • Note that the “Download Article” option will only be available if you are viewing content that has been defined as part of an article. Defining articles in BHL is an ongoing process, and not all articles in the Library have been indexed. Use the “select pages to download” option (above) if “Download Article” is not available.
    • Learn more and see instructions for downloading.
  • Download Book has further options to view:
    • PDF = Download a PDF of the entire volume.
      Useful for: saving or printing the entire book, saving to read on a tablet
    • See instructions for downloading.
    • All = Download all files associated with this book – links to the Internet Archive where you have access to image files, metadata files, and other derivative files – more information about available files including descriptions and file types.
      Useful for: downloading the grayscale/black and white PDF version of a book (if available), and more
    • JP2 = Download ALL the jpeg2000 image files – there is one image per page, and each image file is usually 2-5MB so this can take quite a long time.
      Useful for: saving or printing most of a book in high resolution
    • See instructions for downloading.
    • OCR = Download the plain text of the entire volume. Note: the plain text is created automatically using optical character recognition (OCR) software and has not been corrected or edited by humans.
      Useful for: translating the text, searching for a particular word in a book, copying long passages
  • View at Internet Archive – takes you to a copy of the book at the Internet Archive
    • Useful for: searching inside the book, viewing it in a different interface

Other options include:

  • Printing or downloading a single page image (screen quality)
  • Downloading a single page image (high quality)
  • Downloading all of the data in BHL
    • Useful for: scientific name research, etc.
    • Learn more.

Learn more about our various download options.

From the BHL book viewer

  1. Select the Download Contents drop down menu
  2. Choose “Download Book”

download book in bhl

Finally, select the “Download PDF” link to receive a PDF of the whole book
download pdf option in bhl

Tags: Internet Archive, IA, images, pages

DO NOT use this method to generate a PDF of the whole book. Rather see these instructions.

Locating the article

If you have a specific article in mind, for example, “Abundance and Distribution of Queen Conch Veligers (Strombus gigas Linne) in the Central Bahamas. I. Horizontal Patterns in Relation to Reproductive and Nursery Grounds” from the Journal of Shellfish Research, v. 16, pp. 7-18) by Allan W. Stoner and Megan Davis.

1. From the BHL homepage, enter “Journal of Shellfish Research” into the title search box.
2. Select the volume 16 from the results.
3. You will be taken directly to volume 16. Choose “Select pages to download” from the “Download Contents” menu on the upper right hand side of the Book viewer.

dropdown download menu in bhl

Creating the PDF

1. A grid of the pages will appear. Select the pages you’d like to include.
2. Choose “Review” from the menu bar in the center of the Book Viewer.
3. If the pages displayed are correct, select “Generate My PDF” at the bottom of the pop-up. Otherwise, you may edit this screen to remove pages, or go back to the page-selection grid.
4. Please enter the email address you’d like us to send your completed PDF, along with any title, author, or subject descriptors.
5. You will receive a link to download your PDF and a confirmation number.

select pages to download
generate pdf form in bhl

If you have questions or need to report a problem, please contact us and include the PDF generation confirmation number.

Tags: download, email

When you are viewing an article that has been defined in BHL, you can generate a PDF of that article using the “Download Article” option in the “Download Contents” dropdown menu.

1. Select the “Download Article” option to launch BHL’s custom PDF generation functionality.
2. All of the pages in the article will be pre-selected.
3. Review the selected pages to ensure all relevant pages are included. Select additional pages or unselect unwanted pages by clicking on the page images.
4. Once happy with your selection, click “Generate”.
5. The “Generate My PDF” screen will appear, with the “Article/Chapter Title” field pre-filled. Provide the email address to which you would like the PDF to be delivered.
6. Click “Finish”. A link to download your PDF will be emailed to the address provided.

Screenshot of the book viewer in the Biodiversity Heritage Library with the

Screenshot of the book viewer in the Biodiversity Heritage Library with the

Screenshot of the

The “Download Article” option will only be available if you are viewing content that has been defined as part of an article. Articles that have been defined for the item you are viewing are listed in the Table of Contents in the book viewer. Click on any of the entries to navigate directly to the first page of that article. If you are viewing pages that have been defined as part of an article, the article title will display below the series title in the book viewer.

Screenshot of the book viewer in the Biodiversity Heritage Library with the table of contents and article title features highlighted.

Please note that defining articles in BHL is an ongoing process, and not all articles in the Library have been indexed. If the article you need has not yet been indexed, you can still use our “Select Pages to Download” feature to manually select the article pages and generate a PDF. See instructions for the “Select Pages to Download” feature.

If you only need one page image from a book, you can right click (Command + click on your Mac) on the page you want, and usually choose “Save As” or “Open image in new window” – this will give you a screen-quality jpeg of the page.

You can also select the “Print” icon to print a single page image from the book.

Tags: download, jpg, #SciArt, illustration, art

To retrieve a full-size, full-resolution JPG image of any BHL page, use the following: http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/pageimage/pageid. For example, http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/pageimage/1000000.

Then right-click on the image to save it to your computer.

Watch the video below to see where to find the page ID and how to follow these instructions to download a single page, high resolution image.

Tags: Tags: download, jpeg, #SciArt, illustration, art

Did you find a great image in Flickr and want to access a higher resolution image of it? The BHL link to every image in Flickr is contained in the image descriptions field. Simply click on the link to access the image in BHL, and then follow the high resolution download instructions.

BHL link via flickr

Tags: download, jpg, #SciArt, illustration, art, jpeg, social media

 

You can download JPEG2000 image files (the highest resolution offered by BHL) for any book in BHL for free using the following methods. Note that this download will include jpeg2000 image files for every page in the book – there is one image per page, and each image file is usually 2-5MB so this can take quite a long time.

If you want to download only select pages in high resolution, see these instructions.

1.) Select the JP2 option in the download options listed under the volume details on the book’s bibliography page.

download jp2 on bibliography page

— OR —

2.) Select the Download Book option from the Download Contents dropdown menu on the book viewer screen and choose the JP2 option.

dropdown menu in book viewer

jp2 download option in book viewer

Tags: jpg, #SciArt, illustration, art, images

Sometimes our “Select pages to download” feature, also known as our custom PDF generator, may experience temporary technical difficulties that may delay or, at worst, prevent your PDF from successfully reaching your email Inbox. We apologize for the error and kindly request that you try to generate your custom PDF once again.

Depending on your connection speed it may take some time to download the PDF to your machine as our custom PDF files can sometimes be very large in size.

Note that some browsers offer a built-in PDF viewer, which may not correctly display the images.  If you experience viewing problems in your browser, open the PDF in an alternative viewer or try these troubleshooting tips: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/cant-view-pdf-web.html

Tags: PDF, download, article

Depending on your connection speed it may take some time to download a PDF generated using the “Select pages to download” feature. Our custom PDF files can sometimes be very large in file size. If you have trouble loading the PDF file on your machine, try finding the downloaded PDF file (in your downloads folder) and opening the file with your preferred PDF reading software.

Note that some browsers offer a built-in PDF viewer, which may not correctly display the images.  If you experience viewing problems in your browser, open the PDF in an alternative viewer or try these troubleshooting tips: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/cant-view-pdf-web.html.

Tags: article, download

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Scientific Names

You can generate a bibliography for a scientific name by either searching for a name (see above) or using the following URL structure:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Scientific_name

Where Scientific_name is any uninomial, binomial, or trinomial. Replace spaces with the underscore ( _ )character.

Examples:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Carcharodon_carcharias (Great white shark)
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Phalacrocorax_carbo_maroccanus (Great Cormorant)

Tags: taxonomy, taxa, taxon, species, genus, global names

The Biodiversity Heritage Library uses taxonomic intelligence tools, including Global Names Recognition and Discovery (GNRD) developed by Global Names Architecture, to locate, verify, and record scientific names located within the text of each digitized page. The text used for this identification is usually uncorrected OCR, so may not include all results expected or visible in the page.

Tags: taxonomy, taxa, taxon, species, binomial, genus, trinomial, optical character recognition

Unfortunately we are unable to correct scientific name issues due to the fact that we use an external service through the Global Names Architecture (GNA) (http://globalnames.org/) to identify scientific names within our corpus. We have chosen to be less restrictive in order to match more names. This choice, however, sometimes allows incorrect names to be identified. We feel this is the best choice in order to give our users the most useful results.

Additionally, due to automated processes that regularly update existing content, we are not able to make changes to the scientific names. The changes would simply be reverted. We do this to keep BHL up to date with changes and additions that are made to the external service.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for the optical character recognized (OCR) text behind the page images to contain errors that may result in the GNA algorithm missing relevant scientific names. We are working on strategies to improve our OCR for the future but do not yet have a way to correct it.

We recommend you inform GNA about the scientific name issue(s) by submitting your feedback to their GitHub site https://github.com/GlobalNamesArchitecture/GlobalNamesArchitecture.github.io/issues.

Tags: taxonomy, taxa, taxon, binomial, trinomial, genus, contribute, troubleshooting, report an error

You can search for a scientific name starting from either the general search bar or advanced search page.

If you are starting from General Search…

Enter a taxonomic name into the general search box:

sci names general search

Select the Scientific Names tab from the results screen:

sci names tab

If you are starting from Advanced Search

Select the Scientific Names tab to search for your name:

sci names advanced search

Both methods will return a list of names matching your search. Click on the desired name:

scientific names list

You will be taken to the Species Bibliography for that name, which lists all of the individual pages where that name occurs. Use the Pages column to access specific pages.

sci names bibliography

Tags: taxonomy, binomials, genus, global names, taxa, taxon, search, data mining, text mining, OCR, optical character recognition

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Tools and Services

BHL produces stable URLs for our content and will ensure viability of these URLs. Please read the following blog post for an explanation of how BHL redirects certain IDs when a book has been taken offline.

Stable URLs are available for the following areas of content, with examples:

page URL

With regards to persistent identifiers, BHL also assigns DOIs to a selection of its content. Learn more.

Tags: URI, permalink, linking, identifiers, persistent identifiers

DOI is short for Digital Object Identifier. You can look for the DOI as part of a book’s bibliographic information. Not all books have DOIs in the BHL collection. To date we have assigned DOIs to books, but only to a small selection of journals. We are considering assigning DOIs to articles for the future. When citing a work using its DOI you are referring to a permanent fixed reference that can survive beyond the life of its URL for example. To learn more about DOIs, please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier.

With regards to persistent identifiers, BHL also produces persistent and stable URLs for our content and will ensure viability of these URLs. Learn more.

Tags: digital object identifier, IDs, crossref, cite, citation, permalink, linking, persistent identifiers

Yes of course! The BHL makes its metadata available for public use under the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This Creative Commons license allows you to reuse, modify, repurpose, and distribute the metadata for all purposes including commercial and non-commercial, with no need to ask for permission.

Metadata in this case, refers to:

  • Library catalog records, i.e. bibliographic data, used to describe the books and journals in the BHL collection (e.g. title and author data).
  • Page level data such as page numbers and pages types (e.g. “Title page” and “Illustration”).
  • Scientific name data, e.g. “Zea mays”.

Go ahead, take our metadata and do something creative with it! If you do repurpose BHL metadata please share your story with us. We often like to feature stories of reuse on our BHL blog.

Tags: download, export, METS, MODS, MARC, data, data mining, data export, text mining, copyright, license, licensing

Of course! As a free and open access repository of biodiversity literature we provide all our code and documentation on our Github site https://github.com/gbhl/bhl-us. Please let us know if you reuse our code in any new or interesting ways. We’d love to hear from you!

Tags: technical development, database, data model

Indeed we do and we encourage people to reuse our data in new and innovative ways! Please see more information about our APIs and other Developer and Data Tools.

Tags: data export, data mining, text mining, technical development, code

BHL provides all its bibliographic and scientific name data for download and reuse via various web-services. Please visit our Developer and Data Tools page for more information.

Tags: download, METS, MODS, data export, API, technical development, text mining, data mining, OAI-PMH

Optical Character Recognition, typically referred to simply as “OCR,” is the process of converting images of text into machine readable text characters. This process is performed by special software such as ABBYY FineReader (https://www.abbyy.com/en-us/finereader/).

BHL uses OCR to process all the page images in our collection so that the text contained within the images can be indexed and made searchable in support of full text search functionality and the taxonomic name finding algorithm.

Tags: search, text mining, data mining, text recognition

The OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, text in BHL is generally automatically-generated and uncorrected, meaning that it may be incomplete or contain errors. We do not yet have a way for users to directly correct the OCR within BHL.

We have implemented functionality to allow BHL Partners to upload transcriptions in place of the automatically-generated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for archival materials digitized in BHL. You are welcome to help improve the OCR for these materials by participating in various Partner crowdsourcing projects  from which BHL sources transcriptions, such as the Smithsonian Transcription Center, FromThePage, and DigiVol.

Tags: crowdsourcing, OCR, text recognition, text correction, citizen science

BHL offers metadata exports in several standard bibliographic reference management tool formats including MODS, BibTex, and RIS formats. Each title record in the BHL collection contains tabs that allow you to download the title information in one of these formats.

reference management tools

If you would like to download records in bulk in one or more of these formats, please see more information about our Data Exports.

Tags: zotero, refworks, cite, citations, export, EndNote

The Biodiversity Heritage Library uses taxonomic intelligence tools, including Global Names Recognition and Discovery (GNRD) developed by Global Names Architecture, to locate, verify, and record scientific names located within the text of each digitized page. The text used for this identification is usually uncorrected OCR, so may not include all results expected or visible in the page.

Tags: taxonomy, taxa, taxon, species, binomial, genus, trinomial, optical character recognition

Unfortunately we are unable to correct scientific name issues due to the fact that we use an external service through the Global Names Architecture (GNA) (http://globalnames.org/) to identify scientific names within our corpus. We have chosen to be less restrictive in order to match more names. This choice, however, sometimes allows incorrect names to be identified. We feel this is the best choice in order to give our users the most useful results.

Additionally, due to automated processes that regularly update existing content, we are not able to make changes to the scientific names. The changes would simply be reverted. We do this to keep BHL up to date with changes and additions that are made to the external service.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for the optical character recognized (OCR) text behind the page images to contain errors that may result in the GNA algorithm missing relevant scientific names. We are working on strategies to improve our OCR for the future but do not yet have a way to correct it.

We recommend you inform GNA about the scientific name issue(s) by submitting your feedback to their GitHub site https://github.com/GlobalNamesArchitecture/GlobalNamesArchitecture.github.io/issues.

Tags: taxonomy, taxa, taxon, binomial, trinomial, genus, contribute, troubleshooting, report an error

We have implemented functionality to allow BHL Partners to upload transcriptions in place of the automatically-generated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for archival materials digitized in BHL. This functionality supports transcriptions generated as part of Partner crowdsourcing projects on Smithsonian Transcription Center, DigiVol, and From the Page.

Book viewer in BHL with correspondence and crowdsourced transcription.
Example of correspondence in BHL for which a crowdsourced transcription has been uploaded in place of the automatically-generated OCR, making the document searchable and easily-readable.

These transcriptions allow archival materials in BHL, like field notes and correspondence, to be full-text searchable and enable our taxonomic name recognition software to index scientific names within their pages. Since the transcribed text can be viewed alongside the digitized page image, users can also more easily read materials with difficult-to-decipher handwriting. Thus, this new functionality makes it easier for researchers and the public to explore these valuable primary source materials and access specific information from their pages.

Interested in transcribing archival materials? Several BHL Partners have active transcription projects on various crowdsourcing platforms. Follow the links below to explore the opportunities and get involved:

Tags: crowdsourcing, citizen science, transcription, OCR, full text search, archives

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Contribute

Financial contributions from individual and corporate donors represent an important part of BHL’s financial sustainability. From digitization support to endowments for ongoing technological enhancements and leadership continuity, BHL offers a range of meaningful opportunities for those wishing to make a financial contribution.

Support BHL’s digital collection growth: Donate

Learn more about BHL’s campaign and endowment opportunities in the BHL Case Statement.

Thank you to our supporters!

Tags: support, contribute, donation, tax deductible

At this time, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is not accepting applications for new consortium partners. We will continue to evaluate our capacity to expand our partnerships into the future and provide updates as appropriate. Please stay tuned.

Tags: member, affiliate, contributor, participate, get involved, contribute

There are many ways to get involved with BHL, from donating to support BHL or participating in one of our many volunteer activities. Explore our opportunities to learn how you can get involved today.

Tags: get involved, citizen science, crowdsourcing, contribute, transcription, Flickr tagging

Yes, as long as we have permission to add in-copyright content and have access to a library catalog record for the materials. Please see more information about contributing content.

Tags: digitize, digitization, upload, collection development, get involved, licensing, copyright, permissions, contribute

The OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, text in BHL is generally automatically-generated and uncorrected, meaning that it may be incomplete or contain errors. We do not yet have a way for users to directly correct the OCR within BHL.

We have implemented functionality to allow BHL Partners to upload transcriptions in place of the automatically-generated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for archival materials digitized in BHL. You are welcome to help improve the OCR for these materials by participating in various Partner crowdsourcing projects  from which BHL sources transcriptions, such as the Smithsonian Transcription Center, FromThePage, and DigiVol.

Tags: crowdsourcing, OCR, text recognition, text correction, citizen science

Thank you for your interest in contributing a guest post to the Biodiversity Heritage Library Blog.

BHL only accepts solicited guest blog posts. If you would like to submit your resume, qualifications, and examples of your work for consideration, please email feedback@biodiversitylibrary.org. After review, your information may be added to our files for future reference. If we are interested in soliciting a post, we may contact you. Please note that BHL does not provide compensation for guest posts.

Tags: outreach, press room, marketing, public affairs, media, public relations, communication, resources, announcements, alerts, content development, content marketing

Guided by Smithsonian Directives 814 and 950, promotion of 3rd party content through BHL’s website and communication channels is restricted to entities with which BHL has an official relationship. BHL may share relevant biodiversity and library news stories or research articles through its official communication channels provided they are posted by reputable news agencies or research organizations broadly recognized by the wider library and biodiversity communities.

Tags: outreach, press room, marketing, public affairs, media, public relations, communication, blog, social media, announcements, alerts

We have implemented functionality to allow BHL Partners to upload transcriptions in place of the automatically-generated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for archival materials digitized in BHL. This functionality supports transcriptions generated as part of Partner crowdsourcing projects on Smithsonian Transcription Center, DigiVol, and From the Page.

Book viewer in BHL with correspondence and crowdsourced transcription.
Example of correspondence in BHL for which a crowdsourced transcription has been uploaded in place of the automatically-generated OCR, making the document searchable and easily-readable.

These transcriptions allow archival materials in BHL, like field notes and correspondence, to be full-text searchable and enable our taxonomic name recognition software to index scientific names within their pages. Since the transcribed text can be viewed alongside the digitized page image, users can also more easily read materials with difficult-to-decipher handwriting. Thus, this new functionality makes it easier for researchers and the public to explore these valuable primary source materials and access specific information from their pages.

Interested in transcribing archival materials? Several BHL Partners have active transcription projects on various crowdsourcing platforms. Follow the links below to explore the opportunities and get involved:

Tags: crowdsourcing, citizen science, transcription, OCR, full text search, archives

No, BHL can only accept materials into its collection from contributors that are part of our consortium or from materials available within the Internet Archive corpus that conform to our metadata and subject matter standards.

We work directly with the Internet Archive to often digitize, as well as store and serve our materials through our website. Materials from the Internet Archive that contain the appropriate metadata and scope may be considered for inclusion in the BHL collection.

BHL is not able to include materials from other digital repositories, such as HathiTrust and Google Books, for a variety of reasons including:

  • legal restrictions that prevent the distribution of materials across various digital repositories
  • technical incongruities with file formats and/or metadata that prevent the materials from being compatible with our digital library file structure.

Tags: harvest, IA, selection, digitization, collection development

No, the BHL is strictly a digital library and not able to  accept physical materials. Although headquartered at Smithsonian Libraries, BHL is made up of a consortium of institutions  that collaboratively digitize their respective collections. As such BHL is not the digital version of a single collection, but a series of collections virtually brought together into our digital repository.

 

Please consider donating your materials to one of our partner institutions or to your local library.

Tags: selection, collection development, donate

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Content and Data Reuse

Yes of course! The BHL makes its metadata available for public use under the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This Creative Commons license allows you to reuse, modify, repurpose, and distribute the metadata for all purposes including commercial and non-commercial, with no need to ask for permission.

Metadata in this case, refers to:

  • Library catalog records, i.e. bibliographic data, used to describe the books and journals in the BHL collection (e.g. title and author data).
  • Page level data such as page numbers and pages types (e.g. “Title page” and “Illustration”).
  • Scientific name data, e.g. “Zea mays”.

Go ahead, take our metadata and do something creative with it! If you do repurpose BHL metadata please share your story with us. We often like to feature stories of reuse on our BHL blog.

Tags: download, export, METS, MODS, MARC, data, data mining, data export, text mining, copyright, license, licensing

Many of the items in BHL’s collection are in the public domain and free to reuse without risk of copyright infringement. BHL does our best to indicate the copyright status of each item digitized by our partner institutions. Ultimately, BHL does not hold copyright on the materials in our collection and cannot grant permission. It is up to you to review the copyright status of the image or item you wish to reuse and abide by any copyright risks or restrictions that may apply.

Generally speaking, the country where you plan to use the content and the nature of the use dictate what you can/cannot do as well as the level of risk involved. Commercial use carries higher risk than non-commercial use and in different countries there are different copyright laws governing use. Please review the copyright law for the country in which you plan to use or publish the content. BHL recommends consulting the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Lex database at  https://wipolex.wipo.int/en/main/legislation for further information.

Please see more information on copyright and reuse of the BHL collection.

Tags: permission, reuse, republication, licensing, license, copyright

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to collaborate on projects at this time, but we welcome the use of our data and collections by our user community in Wikimedia projects. You can find more information about reusing BHL content below:

Tags: Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikicommons

We welcome the use of our data and collections in Wikimedia projects. For example: BHL’s collections can be used as references for Wikipedia articles. BHL metadata (e.g. authors, scientific names, bibliographic references, etc.) can be used in Wikidata, Wikicite, and Wikispecies. BHL images can be uploaded to Wikicommons.

All of BHL’s collections and data are open access. Collections are either public domain or available under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licenses. BHL makes its metadata available for public use under the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license.

See the links below to learn more about the types of files and data available from BHL and how to search for, download, and export this content:

Tags: Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikicommons, Wikicite, Wikispecies

While BHL is not currently contributing to Wikimedia through any centrally managed or sponsored projects, we welcome the use of our data and collections by our user community in Wikimedia projects. Several of our Partners also facilitate contribution of BHL collections to Wikimedia through workshops and local initiatives. We encourage you to reach out to BHL Partners in your region to inquire about Wikimedia projects at these institutions.

Our FAQ also provides more information about how you can use BHL collections and data in Wikimedia.

Tags: Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikicommons, Wikispecies, Wikicite

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Outreach

Our Promotional Materials page offers a wide range of resources to support outreach activities around BHL, from a digital brochure and printable flyer to powerpoint presentations and customizable templates.

Tags: outreach, swag, brochures, press room, logos, flyers, marketing, public affairs, media, public relations, communication, resources

Our logos and logo guide are available on the BHL Logos page.

Tags: outreach, swag, press room, marketing, public affairs, media, design, style guide, public relations, communication, resources

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow our blog to stay up-to-date with all the latest BHL news. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates.

Tags: outreach, swag, press room, marketing, public affairs, media, public relations, communication, resources, social media, announcements, alerts

BHL is active on a wide variety of social channels. Explore our profiles and learn how you can connect with us on social media on the BHL Community page.

Tags: outreach, press room, marketing, public affairs, media, public relations, communication, resources, announcements, alerts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, blog, WordPress

Thank you for your interest in contributing a guest post to the Biodiversity Heritage Library Blog.

BHL only accepts solicited guest blog posts. If you would like to submit your resume, qualifications, and examples of your work for consideration, please email feedback@biodiversitylibrary.org. After review, your information may be added to our files for future reference. If we are interested in soliciting a post, we may contact you. Please note that BHL does not provide compensation for guest posts.

Tags: outreach, press room, marketing, public affairs, media, public relations, communication, resources, announcements, alerts, content development, content marketing

Guided by Smithsonian Directives 814 and 950, promotion of 3rd party content through BHL’s website and communication channels is restricted to entities with which BHL has an official relationship. BHL may share relevant biodiversity and library news stories or research articles through its official communication channels provided they are posted by reputable news agencies or research organizations broadly recognized by the wider library and biodiversity communities.

Tags: outreach, press room, marketing, public affairs, media, public relations, communication, blog, social media, announcements, alerts

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Troubleshooting

BHL’s full text search is searching the generally uncorrected text derived through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for your term. Since this OCR is automatically-generated and uncorrected, it may be incomplete or have errors that prevent the search engine from locating all instances of your term.

Tags: troubleshooting, quality control, quality assurance, QA

If you notice a problem with the BHL website or an error with any of the materials in our collection, please let us know by filling out our feedback form at http://biodiversitylibrary.org/contact. BHL is voluntarily staffed by our Partner Libraries and we are limited in our ability to respond personally to each contact with our patrons. We appreciate your patience. A BHL staff member may contact you if we require further information.

If the form is unavailable for some reason (i.e. BHL website outage), you can email us at feedback@biodiversitylibrary.org.

Tags: troubleshooting, error, quality control, quality assurance, QA, technical problem

If the BHL website is down, please monitor our status on Twitter https://twitter.com/biodivlibrary or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BioDivLibrary/. If BHL is down, you can access content from our partners in the biodiversity collection via Internet Archive.

If the BHL website is available but page images for books are not showing then this means that the Internet Archive’s website at http://archive.org is down. We partner with the Internet Archive to digitize and host our entire collection and as such their outages directly affect the availability of our materials. We will provide updates on our homepage and via our social media outlets as described above.

If you are experiencing website difficulties for whatever reason, please try http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/ to test your connection and if the problem persists, submit your question or problem to our feedback form or (if the form is unavailable due to website outages) email us at feedback@biodiversitylibrary.org describing your issue in as much detail as possible. The more information we have to try and replicate the problem, the better chance we’ll have at being able to address it.

kraken

Tags: troubleshooting, technical issues, website problem, feedback, technical support

If you cannot find what you are looking for in the BHL collection, please consider submitting a Scanning Request via our webform. We will do our best to process your request as time allows. Please keep in mind that we may be limited in our ability to fulfill requests depending on the holdings of BHL partner institutions, condition of materials, and any copyright restrictions that may apply.

For more information, see our Guidelines for Submitting Scanning Requests.

Tags: digitization, collection development

BHL is committed to maintaining persistent and open access to the materials in our collection. We make our best effort to incorporate materials that are relevant to the broad scope of biodiversity, high quality digital copies, and free of copyright restriction or otherwise contributed with permission from copyright holder. Due to the nature of the BHL program as a mass digitization project, we are not able to scrutinize every item that enters into the BHL collection. On rare occasions, content may be removed from the collection for a few reasons:

  • Relevance — the BHL Collections Committee may determine that the content is irrelevant to the spectrum of fields related to biodiversity knowledge.
  • Poor Image Quality — content may be temporarily removed from BHL if the scan quality is so poor as to render the digital content illegible within a reasonable zoom level. Items digitized from the collections of BHL partners will be resubmitted to the scanning queue and replaced to the best of our ability.
  • Copyright Concern — please refer to our Take Down Guidelines for details.

Tags: error, ocean perch, title, relevance, removed, unavailable, unpublished

Sometimes our “Select pages to download” feature, also known as our custom PDF generator, may experience temporary technical difficulties that may delay or, at worst, prevent your PDF from successfully reaching your email Inbox. We apologize for the error and kindly request that you try to generate your custom PDF once again.

Depending on your connection speed it may take some time to download the PDF to your machine as our custom PDF files can sometimes be very large in size.

Note that some browsers offer a built-in PDF viewer, which may not correctly display the images.  If you experience viewing problems in your browser, open the PDF in an alternative viewer or try these troubleshooting tips: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/cant-view-pdf-web.html

Tags: PDF, download, article

Depending on your connection speed it may take some time to download a PDF generated using the “Select pages to download” feature. Our custom PDF files can sometimes be very large in file size. If you have trouble loading the PDF file on your machine, try finding the downloaded PDF file (in your downloads folder) and opening the file with your preferred PDF reading software.

Note that some browsers offer a built-in PDF viewer, which may not correctly display the images.  If you experience viewing problems in your browser, open the PDF in an alternative viewer or try these troubleshooting tips: https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/kb/cant-view-pdf-web.html.

Tags: article, download

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