Information for partners

BHL-Europe in a nutshell

BHL-Europe vision: Build a Digital Open Access Library for Biodiversity Literature.

What is BHL-Europe?

The Biodiversity Heritage Library for Europe (BHL-Europe) is an ambitious and innovative European Commission funded program, started on 1 May 2009. BHL-Europe aims towards a digital global library of life by bringing together existing digital collections of biodiversity literature from all over Europe into one freely accessible online portal.

Why do we need BHL-Europe?

The libraries of the European natural history museums and botanical gardens collectively hold the majority of the world’s published knowledge on the discovery and subsequent description of biological diversity. As yet this wealth of knowledge is only currently available to those few people who can gain direct access to these collections. The body of biodiversity knowledge is thus effectively withheld from use for a multiplicity of potential users.

Much of the early published literature is rare or has limited global distribution and is available in only a very few libraries. From a research perspective, these collections are of exceptional value because the domain of systematic biology depends – more than any other natural science – upon historic literature. Once the collections of biodiversity literature are freely available on the Internet, this will be of great value to scientists, and also to a much wider public.

What is the focus of BHL-Europe?

BHL-Europe focuses on the interoperability of existing European digital libraries and repositories with the goal of providing open access to the general public and scientists via one unique Web portal and Europeana. There is no single natural history museum or botanical garden library which holds the complete corpus of legacy literature. Therefore, BHL-Europe needs to be a federation of numerous institutions in which your institution can also be a part.

What are the benefits of becoming a partner of BHL-Europe?

  • BHL-Europe increases the visibility of your content, thus increases the visibility of your institution.

  • BHL-Europe establishes a sustainable preservation and archive system to store, curate, manage and migrate your data. Thus BHL-Europe will have strategies and processes in place for long-term preservation of the data produced by biodiversity digitisation programmes.

  • BHL-Europe provides multilingual access to your content, thus saving you the costs for creating a multilingual portal.

  • BHL-Europe enriches your metadata so that every content provider can retrieve and reuse the enhanced data.

  • BHL-Europe provides you access to an important up-to-date and cost-effective pool of information and network of collaboration to help you use best practice approaches.

  • BHL-Europe provides tools and technologies to cost-effectively present the digital content and manage digitisation projects in the biodiversity domain.

  • BHL-Europe helps you to create good quality OCR text from the scanned page images for further data analysis and metadata enrichment.

  • BHL-Europe provides you access to Taxonomic Intelligence tools to facilitate the search for taxon specific information.

  • BHL-Europe dissemination activities will reach a large group of target users to increase the use of your data and content. Thus, BHL-Europe gives a cost-effective way to multiply the impact of your editorial activities and build a presence with users, the professional community, and other organisations including national governments.

  • BHL-Europe makes all the content available through Europeana – a search platform to a collection of European digital libraries. This will increase the visibility of BHL-Europe content, and it will also increase the visibility of your data. As Europeana enriches your metadata, this new metadata can be retrieved through BHL-Europe too. BHL-Europe benefits from the network and knowledge building capacity of Europeana, thus increasing the access to state-of- the-art research and technologies. A sustainable Europeana will also support the sustainability of BHL-Europe.