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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to the Biodiversity Heritage Library: BHL Images on Flickr

Learn how to search the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
illustration of bryophytes from Haeckel's
scientific illustrations of treehoppers
scientific illustration of an owl
scientific illustration of mushrooms
scientific illustrations of multiple species of bees
color illustration of gray-headed kingfisher, perched on a downward hanging branch
illustration of a slime mold growing on a potted plant
color illustration of butterflies, Papilio ulyses, male and female
illustrations of raccoon dog (Canis procyanoides) and hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)
color illustration of sea anemones
color illustration of Bauhinia acuminata, white flowers, brown seedpods, lobed leaves with prominant parallel veins
illustrations of common shiner and blackfin (fish), by Charlotte M. Pinkerton
illustration of longhorn beetles
illustrations of two monitor lizards in the genus Varanus
illustration of oak twig with galls, showing the insect stages
color illustrations of silver polish variety chickens
black and white illustration of a whale adult and baby

Images from the Biodiversity Heritage Library on Flickr

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Not every illustration in BHL is in Flickr. See below for information on finding illustrations within BHL that may not be in Flickr.

Re-use, rights, permissions, and attribution

Most images in the Biodiversity Heritage Library flickr collection are in the Public Domain, and can be downloaded, shared, re-used, or transformed.

Proper attribution is a critical component of ethical re-use, even if a work is no longer protected by copyright. 

In addition to citing the work, attribution to the Biodiversity Heritage Library and the library that supplied the digitized item makes it possible for other researchers to find BHL resources, and helps BHL to understand and demonstrate the impact of its digital collections.

To attribute use of an image from the BHL, please use the following format:

“Image from the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Contributed by [Holding Institution]. |”

Visit the Biodiversity Heritage Library's "About" site to learn how to download images via Flickr and how to download high resolution copies of images found in Flickr.

Not all images in BHL are in Flickr, but you can still find them...

Not all illustrations and other images in BHL are in Flickr.  You can search for images in the BHL search interface by adding keywords to represent images (e.g., illustration, plate, tafel) to keywords representing the subject of the images you're seeking.  Example image searches in BHL are shown below, along with instructions for downloading a high quality image of a BHL page. 

Search the BHL Photostream

To limit your search in flickr to the Biodiversity Heritage Library photostream, click the magnifying glass on the lower menu bar:

then add search terms in the upper search bar after the "Biodiversity...|Photos" tag and hit enter.

Flickr Search Tips:
  • Use quotes for phrases (e.g., "ivory billed woodpecker" or "Drosera rotundifolia")
  • Truncation is automatic; e.g., lineat will retrieve lineata or lineatus, and toad will retrieve toad, toads, toadstool, etc.
  • Use a question mark (?) as a wildcard to represent any number of characters within a word or phrase (e.g., to?d will retrieve toad or townsend)
  • The default for multiple term searches is a Boolean AND; e.g., 'frog toad' will retrieve only images that have both frog and toad in the metadata. 
    • Use OR to broaden a search; e.g., 'frog OR toad' will retrieve images with either frog or toad in the metadata.
    • Use NOT to narrow a search; e.g., 'frog NOT toad' will retrieve images with frog but not toad in the metadata.

Tagging in the BHL Flickr Collection

Tags are generated automatically from BHL catalog records as images are uploaded to flickr; these include subject headings from the catalog record, and the institution that contributed the item. Additional image-specific tags may be added manually by BHL staff and volunteers, including taxonomy (e.g., binomials, common names, higher taxa), illustrators (who may not be named in catalog records), and topical keywords (e.g., extinct, endangered). 

Clicking a tag on a BHL image will retrieve other images with that tag.  BHL images will be highlighted at the top of the results set.