Biodiversity Heritage Library - Europe

BHL - Europe logo

BHL-Europe is a consortium of 26 partners from Europe and 2 from the USA, developing multilingual interfaces to historic biodiversity literature, as part of global BHL – the family of BHL portals. 

The online access points will be the BHL-Europe portal, EUROPEANA, and the Global References Index for Biodiversity [GRIB].

BHL-Europe is funded for three years (2009-2012) by the European Commission under the eContentplus programme, as part of i2010.  

eContentplus logo

Project Partners

During the project the following partners have been involved: 

Museum für Naturkunde Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions und Biodiversitätsforschung an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Natural History Museum [London]; Národní Muzeum [Prague]; European Digital Library Foundation; Naturhistorisches Museum [Vienna]; Hungarian Natural History Museum; Angewandte Informationstechnik Forschungsgesellschaft mbH; ATOS; Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem; Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts; Land Oberösterreich; Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences; University of Copenhagen; NCB Naturalis; National Botanic Garden of Belgium; Royal Museum of Central Africa; Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences; Bibliothèque nationale de France; Museum national d’histoire naturelle [Paris]Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas [Madrid]Università degli Studi di Firenze; Helsingin yliopisto; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; Species 2000; John Wiley & Son Limited; Smithsonian Institution; Missouri Botanical Garden           

Some sample titles from BHL-Europe partner content

Content in BHL-E deals with all organisms - from the microscopic to the vast, and from the living to the prehistoric and extinct.

Most BHL-Europe partners are contributing content published by their organisation, or by societies in their nation states. 

Here are a few examples of content you can currently access through EUROPEANA, or will be able to access when the BHL-Europe portal goes live.


Partner: Oberosterreichische Landesmuseen, Biologiezentrum

Linzer Biologische Beitrage; Stapfia

Partner: Naturhistorisches Museum Wien 

Annalen des naturhistorischen Museums in Wien; Phyton, Annales Rei Botanicae


Partner: National Botanic Garden of Belgium

Lejeunia; Lejeunia Mémoires; Natura Mosana  



Partner: UCPH  

Dansk Botanisk Arkiv; Svampe


Partner: University of Helsinki - Viikki Campus Library

Flora Fennica; Memoranda pro fauna et flora Fennica; Acta Botanica Fennica


Partner: Museum national d’histoire naturelle [Paris]

Adansonia; Bulletin de la Société botanique de France; Notulae systematicae


Partner: UBBI [Universitätsbibliothek Bielefeld]

Beschäftingen der Berlinischer Gesellschaft naturforschender Freunde, 1775-1779. 


Partner: Hungarian Natural History Museum 

Studia Botanica Hungarica


Partner: NCB Naturalis

Scripta Geologica; Contributions to Zoology


Partner:  Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas [Madrid]

Graellsia; EOS

When the BHL-Europe portal goes live active links to these titles will be established on this web page. 


EUROPEANA is a cross-domain portal providing access to Europe's cultural and scientific heritage through digital objects. Currently 1500 institutions in 33 countries have made available over 20 million objects (texts, sound recordings, images, and 3 objects). Access is either open or licensed.

BHL-E is one of 41 consortia contributing thematic aggregated content to EUROPEANA. Over 90, 000 items from BHL-E are currently accessible from EUROPEANA.  

Biodiversity Library Exhibition (BLE)

In 2010, Biodiversity Library Exhibition (BLE) was developed and launched as a platform for creating independent, thematic virtual exhibitions of digital content within the BHL family. Operating as a popular and indirect means of introducing the general public to historic biodiversity literature, BLE currently contains two exhibitions, with others in development. 

Check out the two active BLE exhibitions, "Spices" and "Expeditions", developed by staff at the Narodni muzeum, Prague. 

RBGE and BHL-Europe

Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The journal Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, published by HMSO for RBGE from 1900-1990, forms the core of the content RBGE has submitted to BHL-Europe.   Notes RBGE was isued in 46 volumes, and when it ceased over 1000 papers had been published in it over ninety years.

Papers published in Notes RBGE cover the full range of plant sciences research conducted at RBGE in the twentieth century.  The following selected list of subjects covered gives the reader an idea of the diversity and continuity of the research undertaken at RBGE: 

Zingiberaceae, Ericaceae and Gesneriaceae. Three plant families that have been researched extensively at RBGE.

Floras of Arabia, Turkey, Bhutan, Yunnan and southern Africa. Global areas that RBGE has a long standing interest in, and collaboration with.  

British macro and micro fungi. Particularly Boletales and Uredinales  

Nomenclature of plants introduced from China by major plant collectors like Leveille and Forrest. 

South American plant ecology

History of RBGE from 1670 to 1900.   

You can read the digital version on Europeana already, although technical difficulties mean that it is not as searchable currently as it will be.   

Flora of Bhutan

On a commission from the Royal Government of Bhutan, RBGE staff and experts in partner institutions, began working on this flora in 1975. Work was completed over thirty years later, with the publication of the final volume of the flora in 2002.  This final volume, dealing with the Orchidaceae, has not been made available in BHL-E, due to third party copyright reasons. However, the eight earlier volumes are being made available to all who can access the Internet, at no cost: and with freedom to download and re-use content under license. 

You can read the digital version on Europeana already, although technical difficulties mean that it is not as searchable currently as it will be.   

More information

Watch this space for news of the release of the BHL-Europe portal.  For up-to-date information on BHL-Europe see:

You can also find out more about the project on the BHL-E blogFacebook and Twitter sites. 

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)