U of T Libraries joins the Biodiversity Heritage Library

The University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) is pleased to announce that we have joined the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) as a new Member. UTL is the first Canadian library to join.

The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada. Ranked fourth among North American peer institutions by the Association of Research Libraries, the UTL system is particularly strong in the sciences and includes 10 dedicated science libraries. Among these is the Gerstein Science Information Centre, Canada’s largest standalone science and health library. Additionally, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library holds rich collections on the history of science and medicine, including an exhaustive collection of original works by Charles Darwin. For the full list of contributing institutions and their content, including the U of T science libraries, please visit the contributor's page on the BHL's website

“The University of Toronto Libraries is thrilled to become a Member of the Biodiversity Heritage Library,” asserts Neil Romanosky, UTL’s Associate Chief Librarian for Science Research and Information and Director of the Gerstein Science Information Centre. “Given the rapid rate of extinction of species across the globe, we see membership in BHL as an important opportunity to support the search for knowledge by preserving our wealth of historic biodiversity materials and sharing them more widely.”

As a BHL Member, the University of Toronto Libraries will enhance BHL’s collection by contributing rare and unique material from its holdings of over 12 million print volumes. As the host of an Internet Archive (IA) scanning center, the Libraries has already digitized a large portion of its collection. Over 3.3 million pages of natural history literature from UTL are currently available in BHL.

“The University of Toronto Libraries and BHL share a commitment to open access and the promotion of digital scholarship through global partnerships and the development of innovative tools and technology,” affirms BHL Program Director Martin R. Kalfatovic. “We look forward to the expertise and leadership that UTL will bring to the BHL consortium as we work together to build our online collection, enhance our services, and empower researchers around the world through free access to biodiversity knowledge.”

About the University of Toronto Libraries

The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked fourth among peer institutions in North America, behind just Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. The system consists of 44 libraries located on three university campuses: St. George, Mississauga, and Scarborough. This array of college libraries, special collections, and specialized libraries and information centres supports the teaching and research requirements of 222 graduate programs, 59 professional programs, and more than 700 undergraduate degree programs. In addition to more than 12 million print volumes in 341 languages, the library system currently provides access to millions of electronic resources in various forms and over 30,000 linear metres of archival material. More than 150,000 new print volumes are acquired each year. The Libraries' data centre houses more than 200 servers with a storage capacity of 1.5 petabytes.  

About the Biodiversity Heritage Library

BHL is a consortium of major natural history, botanical and research libraries that seek to contribute to the global “biodiversity commons” by digitizing and providing free and open access to biodiversity literature and archives from across the globe. For more information, visit the Biodiversity Heritage Library website: www.biodiversitylibrary.org.