What types of files are available for download?

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.

download contents


  • 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 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.