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Auckland Museum Awarded New National Role

Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland War Memorial Museum will soon become Aotearoa’s centre of excellence for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) with thanks to funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board via their Lottery Environment and Heritage Fund.

Founded in 2006 and headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a global consortium of institutions that digitise and freely share their published and unpublished collections relating to biodiversity to support international scientific research.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research by making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.

Auckland Museum will digitise rare materials from its own collections and from other research institutions, libraries, and scientific societies across New Zealand.

Limited content exists online about the endemic natural heritage of Aotearoa, which represents a significant gap in the collective knowledge of the biodiversity of this country’s flora and fauna. Auckland Museum will enable smaller institutions across the country to digitally archive important literature. Once information is openly available and accessible to the national and international research community, the opportunity exists to fill this “knowledge gap”.

Auckland Museum’s Director Collections & Research David Reeves believes that the partnership with the Biodiversity Heritage Library will broaden the accessibility of collections and knowledge to new, global audiences.

“As New Zealand’s oldest research institution, Auckland Museum is committed to documenting its collections and sharing knowledge,” he said. “We have long had an “open by default” policy for the use and reuse of Museum information, so partnering with the Smithsonian and contributing to the BHL was an excellent fit.”

Mr Reeves added that the Museum’s new role as the New Zealand Centre of Excellence for the BHL is a practical example of the Museums intention to actively lead and collaborate in the sectors in which it operates, in Auckland, nationally and internationally.

“The opportunity to work with smaller institutions across Aotearoa to digitise unique items such as field notebooks, diaries, illustrations, or other written observations provides a pathway to both the national and international research community."


Biodiversity Heritage Library images HERE

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