Inspiring discovery through free access to biodiversity knowledge.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
BHL also serves as the literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life .

In Copyright Content
BHL has obtained permission from the rights holders to make in-copyright content available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. Works in the BHL collection that are protected by United States copyright law are designated by the following rights statement:
In copyright. Digitized with the permission of the rights holder.
To locate this rights statement, available in the <Copyright status> field, click on the "+" next to the volume/book link.Commercial use of this content is NOT permitted, however you are free to access, and download this content just as you would other, public domain works in the BHL collection. Should you wish to reuse any in-copyright content in the BHL collection for commercial purposes, you must contact rights holder directly. For a list of rights holders, please see the table below.

Contributing Content

If you would like to contribute content to the BHL collection please take a look at SAMPLES of our standard permissions agreement form and digitization request letter. Contact Bianca Crowley for follow up:

For more information about the copyright status of content in the BHL collection, please see our Licensing and Copyright page.

Content provided under Due Diligence

In some cases, BHL has provided access to works under the following designation:
No known copyright restrictions as determined by scanning institution.
Works may fall under the "no known copyright restrictions as determined by scanning institution" designation, for the following reasons:
  • the copyright has expired
  • the copyright may have existed at one point but was not renewed
  • there is no marking or indication of copyright on the material
  • a sufficient and diligent search has been performed to determine that the copyright holder(s) cannot be located or identified

If a valid copyright claim is presented for these items, BHL will remove the content. For more information about content with "no known copyright restrictions" in the BHL, please contact Bianca Crowley

Archival Materials

Through projects like Connecting Content and the Smithsonian Field Books Project, archival materials are being scanned to the BHL. For the majority of these unpublished materials, copyright restrictions apply. Each item has been reviewed on a case-by-case basis and the appropriate copyright status is indicated for each. These materials may be licensed under the Creative Commons NC-BY-SA license and may not be used for commercial purposes. Check the individual volume's metadata for more details.

Take-Down Guidelines

The BHL makes every effort to provide content within its collection that is freely and openly available for access and responsible reuse either under the public domain or a Creative Commons license. In-copyright materials are in the BHL collection with the express permission of the copyright holder. In rare cases, content may be removed if it is found to be in violation of copyright. Should a copyright holder make the BHL aware of a potential infringement of copyright, the BHL will confirm the claim and remove the content from its database (including the <biodiversity> collection of the Internet Archive). Works ingested from the Internet Archive corpus that are digitized by libraries other than BHL consortium libraries are the responsibility of the contributing library and not the BHL.

For the United States, the copyright cut-off date is 1923, meaning that worked published prior to this date are in the public domain and are not restricted from access or reuse in the United States. Earlier dates may apply in some cases. If you are outside the U.S., you will need to review the copyright laws of the country where you plan to use the materials. Post-1922 content is available in BHL for one or more of the following reasons:

For more information about U.S. copyright, please consult Peter B. Hirtle's Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States, 1 January 2015. For any questions or concerns regarding the BHL collection and copyright, please contact Bianca Crowley, BHL Collections Coordinator crowleyb,at,

In-copyright Titles

Contributions to are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License. Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License
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