BHL strives to be “the most comprehensive, reliable, reputable repository of data-rich biodiversity literature, and other original materials, to support a response to global challenges.” The data in BHL’s collection is sourced and aggregated from its consortium partners and Internet Archive contributors. It is provided “as is,” without express or implied warranty as to accuracy, reliability, or fitness for any particular application. The data for digitized legacy materials is curated to the best of our ability to facilitate the discovery of BHL collection materials on its websites, and support a diverse array of downstream data consumers and discovery layers.
Because BHL is primarily a data aggregator and adaptor, rather than a creator, there may be omissions and inaccuracies in BHL data. Harmful language is also present in some BHL data due to prejudiced views inherent within historical cataloging practices. The aggregation of bibliographic records, created over many decades from hundreds of contributing institutions, and the use of predominantly Western classification schemes in historic cataloging practices, means that BHL’s data may contain reductive, offensive, biased, missing, and outdated terminology.
The processing required to improve data quality can be complex and requires high resource inputs. BHL’s ability to improve data quality is dependent upon the resources available from our consortium partner institutions. In cases where BHL links out to selected content in external, trusted repositories, BHL does not create, operate, control, or endorse any data on third party websites. For more information about externally hosted content, please see BHL’s collection development policy.
BHL makes its data available for public use under the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. For additional information on how to use BHL data effectively, please refer to the BHL Open Data Collection on Smithsonian’s data repository.