The New York Botanical Garden


Digitization at the Library

The digitization department works to expand access to the Library's collections on a global scale by scanning materials and making them available for use on the Internet. The department pursues 2 goals: increased access and preservation of often fragile materials. By scanning materials on putting them online, the Library makes its peerless collections available to a much wider audience not limited to those able to travel to New York. Also, by following the same process with rare and fragile items, the Library is able to reduce wear and tear on them, make the widely available, and in conjunction with the Conservation Department, extend the life of the originals.

The Library mainly makes its digitized materials available via the Mertz Digital site, a CONTENTdm repository hosted by OCLC, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library site, a global consortium of natural history libraries and museums of which the Garden was a founding member.

Current Projects

Global Plants Initiative

The Library is currently in the third year of its participation in the Global Plants Initiative project, a Mellon Foundation-funded initiative which the Garden's C.V. Starr Herbarium has been participating in for a number of years. The Library has been digitizing material from its extensive resources in Latin American botany for inclusion in the Global Plant Initiative site hosted in conjunction with JSTOR.

Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL)

The Library is a founding member of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) a global consortium of natural history libraries and museums. The member institutions of the BHL have agreed to coordinate the digitization of their pre-1923 biodiversity related materials and make them freely available online, in conjunction with the Encyclopedia of Life project and the Internet Archive. As of this date the Library has contributed over 7000 volumes to the project.

Nursery and Seed Catalogs

In conjunction with the Cataloging Department, the department will be digitizing pre-1923 materials from the Library's extensive collection of nursery and seed trade catalogs. This collection contains catalogs issued by approximately 5,000 commercial nurseries, primarily American, with some representation from Europe and Japan. These trade catalogs are one of the special collections of the Mertz Library and constitute one of the largest such collections in the United States.

John Torrey Field Notebook Project

A project to digitize a number of field notebooks kept by the noted American botanist, John Torrey..

Cuban Photos

A project to digitize an extensive collection of photographs from expeditions to Cuba undertaken by the Garden's founder, Nathanael Lord Britton.

The NYBG Historical Photographs

A project to digitize photographs from the Garden's rich history in the Bronx.