Smithsonian Libraries Receives $1.5 Million from Seidell Fund

March 10, 2010
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The Smithsonian Institution Libraries has received $1.5 million from the Smithsonian’s Atherton Seidell Endowment Fund. This award will support the Libraries’ participation in the Biodiversity Heritage Library Project for the next five years.

The Seidell award will fund various BHL projects, including purchasing a high-speed digital camera for the digitization of folio volumes and large fold-outs, designing an effective digitization work flow to incorporate locally scanned materials into the BHL portal, subsidizing two library technicians for ongoing digitization and purchasing storage material for the potential rehosting of the Libraries’ and BHL content. In addition, the award will provide for increased scanning through the FedScan facility at the Library of Congress and onsite at the Smithsonian Libraries, as well as support a metadata technician to work on portal editing, bibliographic control and pagination to broaden the awareness and usability of BHL content.

Previous Libraries’ digital projects funded by the Seidell Endowment include The Biologia Centrali-Americana, the Index Animalium, Contributions from the United States National Herbarium and publications of the United States Exploring Expedition and the United States National Museum.

The BHL, the digitization component of the Encyclopedia of Life, is a consortium of 12 major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries and research institutions organized to digitize, serve and preserve the legacy literature of biodiversity. Through February 2010, BHL libraries have contributed almost 75,000 volumes, which include more than 28 million pages of taxonomic literature. The BHL Portal is available at

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