May 28, 2022

Access Online: University of Kansas Libraries Completes Digitization of Important Collection of Bird Illustrations

From the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS:

University of Kansas Libraries have completed digitization of one of the world’s greatest collections of bird illustrations. The 19th century books of John Gould feature images of birds from around the world and have long appealed to everyone from Charles Darwin to amateur bird watchers.

Gould’s work came to KU in the early 1950s and became one of the original collections of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. As well as his published books, the Gould collection includes more than 2,000 manuscript drawings, watercolors and preliminary art for the books.

The content of the books and manuscripts, about 6,000 images total, are now available online for anyone to access at the KU Libraries website.

The digitization project was partially supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Gould produced approximately 47 large-format 22-by-14-inch volumes of bird illustrations and scientific descriptions between 1830 and 1881.


The NEH grant has allowed KU Libraries to digitize, catalog and preserve the thousands of images and make them available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Available online, the collection can be searched by volume, by artist who worked with Gould, by species and more. Viewers can also view the images in digital book form and zoom in to enhance the detail and study the composition of the works.

Read the Complete Announcement
Learn more about the collection and John Gould

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.