Skip Menu

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

    Biodiversity Heritage Library
This resource is freely accessible

Biodiversity Heritage Library

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the digitization component of the Encyclopedia of Life, is a consortium of 12 major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions organized to digitize, serve, and preserve the legacy literature of biodiversity. Prior to digitization, the resources housed within each BHL institution have existed in isolation, available only to those with physical access to the collections. These collections are of exceptional value because the domain of systematic biology depends – more than any other science – upon historic literature. Consequently, the relative isolation of these collections presented an antiquated obstacle to further biodiversity investigation. This problem is particularly acute for the developing countries that are home to the majority of the world’s biodiversity.


The Biodiversity Heritage Library contains digital versions of important works of biodiversity literature. These digital versions consist of digital files such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) texts and image files. The Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries, as a consortium does not hold any copyrights on these files. If the original works from which the digital versions were produced are in the public domain, so too are the digital files. As the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Institutions composing the BHL states, “All information currently in the public domain remains in the public domain. Neither the BHL nor the data providers will seek to assert any IPR over public domain materials.”





September 13, 2010


restricted resource Resource is restricted to current Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Use Off Campus Sign In if not on the campus network.
licensed for Virginia Tech alumni access Resource is licensed for Virginia Tech alumni access. Use Alumni Library Portal Sign In to access.
freely accessible database Freely accessible database, available to anyone without restriction
mobile interface Mobile interface available, see description for link.
Screencast tutorial available Screencast tutorial available, icon linked to list.
Contents in summon Contents of this database are in Summon.
get VText Resource provides Get VText links to access full text.
gold open access - publishing Resource provides open access publishing opportunities and open access publications.
get VText Resource provides self archiving opportunities and open access documents.


NOTE: Most items obtained from this page are subscribed to by the library and accessible only to Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff.
WARNING: The abuse of Virginia Tech licensed online resources by such means as systematic downloading violates the university's acceptable use policy, jeopardizes Tech's future access to resources, and is prohibited.