The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, D.C., recently welcomed Washington University Libraries as a new member—BHL's 14th—effective February 2014.
As a member of the BHL consortium, Washington University Libraries will help identify and digitize materials within its collections that are related to the history of science and add these to the BHL's online holdings, where all materials may be freely accessed by the public.
"The Biodiversity Heritage Library is the preeminent global repository for historic science literature," said Martin Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Libraries' associate director for digital services and BHL program director. "We are excited that the Washington University Libraries are joining us in building a vast information center that provides resources to researchers, students and anyone interested in biodiversity."
The BHL is the literature digitization component of the Encyclopedia of Life, a global effort to document all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants and other forms of life on earth. A consortium of major natural history, botanical and research libraries, BHL seeks to contribute to the global "biodiversity commons" by digitizing and aggregating the resources housed at its participating institutions, providing free and open access to the legacy literature that underpins the work of the natural science community.
Chris Freeland, an associate university librarian at Washington University, helped bring the BHL and Washington University Libraries together. Previously on staff at the world-renowned Missouri Botanical Garden where he was founding technical director of the BHL, Freeland continues to work with the BHL to add new services and make its content more easily accessible.
To explore the Biodiversity Heritage Library, visit biodiversitylibrary.org.