Will BHL remove materials with harmful content from its collection?

BHL’s goal is to maintain access to the published record of biodiversity science. We uphold the value that more access to information, even if it contains harmful content, is critical to understanding the historical context in which knowledge has been created. Access to historical documents and records helps researchers gain a more complete understanding of scientific knowledge, including its moral and ethical impacts, and how they have changed over time. Therefore, BHL will not remove materials with harmful content from its collection. For other reasons, materials may be removed from the collection in accordance with our Take Down Guidelines as well as our Deaccession Policy which is under review as we revise our collection development policy.

Removing access to harmful content does not necessarily reduce harm. By exposing the perpetrators of harmful ideas, the BHL collection documents evidence of the biases and prejudices that perpetuate to this day as barriers to equitable knowledge creation and dissemination.

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