January 24, 2022

Impressive! The Biodiversity Heritage Library and Eleven Partners Digitize 517,000 Pages of Fields Notes and Make Them Available Online

From the BHL Blog:

2018-06-28_16-25-43In February 2016, the Biodiversity Heritage Library set out to digitize over 450,000 pages of field notes. While the BHL had already added some archival material to its collection before this project, the Field Notes Project is BHL’s largest undertaking of digitizing field notes to date.


Funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Digitizing Hidden Special Collections initiative, this was a collaborative project with eleven partners:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Field Museum of Natural History Library
  • Harvard University Botany Libraries
  • Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library
  • Internet Archive
  • The New York Botanical Garden, LuEsther T. Mertz Library
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter H. Raven Library
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • Smithsonian Libraries
  • University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
  • Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

Field notes can pose a number of challenges, and our partners certainly had to manage many of them. Conservation concerns are always at the top of the list, ensuring that field notes are in the proper condition for digitization. Through digitization, we can also reduce the need to refer to the physical object and further protect these unique items.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.