Biodiversity Heritage Library joins GBIF as associate

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) has joined the GBIF network as an associate Participant.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) has joined the GBIF network as an associate Participant.

BHL is the latest organization to sign the GBIF Memorandum of Understanding which brings together national governments and international organizations in the global voluntary collaboration to meet GBIF’s goals for enabling free and open access to biodiversity data.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections, and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as part of a global ‘biodiversity commons’. BHL has digitized millions of pages of taxonomic literature, representing tens of thousands of titles and over 100,000 volumes. These texts include information on more than 150 million species names, and GBIF users can already link to BHL literature references via the taxon pages on GBIF.org.

Martin Kalfatovic, BHL Programme Director, commented: "BHL provides open and free access to over 250 years of biodiversity information via web services and open APIs. As a growing global consortium of biodiversity-related libraries and through cooperation with other biodiversity institutions, we are constantly working to refine BHL content and services to address the need for biodiversity literature.

“Through participation in GBIF, BHL will be able to share our own expertise, gain new competencies, and collaborate with new communities to ensure that the breadth of biodiversity knowledge is available to everyone, everywhere.”

GBIF’s Executive Secretary Donald Hobern added: “BHL is one of the jewels in the crown of biodiversity informatics. It has delivered a resource that is already of high value to taxonomists, collection managers and naturalists around the world. This new partnership between GBIF and BHL will enable us to explore closer linkages between literature, collections and species concepts - helping to add further value to the data mobilized by our respective networks.”