Proceedings of TDWG : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
BHL’s Feedback Tools and User Surveys: Investigating User Needs for Data in Digital Libraries
expand article infoCarolyn A. Sheffield, Pamela McClanahan§
‡ Smithsonian Libraries/Biodiversity Heritage Library, Washington, DC, United States of America
§ Smithsonian Institution/NDSR at BHL, Washington, DC, United States of America
Open Access


The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a digital library dedicated to improving research efficiency through open access to biodiversity literature as part of a global biodiversity community. BHL currently makes over 52 million pages of biodiversity literature freely available and drew over 1 million visitors in 2016. Additionally, over 4 million API calls were made to extract data from the site last year. To meet the needs of these users and continuously improve research efficiency, BHL has relied on feedback submitted through issue reporting tools on the website and through direct engagement with users. With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, BHL is also currently hosting five residents through a National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) project, entitled Foundations to Actions, to methodically gather input on best practices in digital libraries; recommendations for crowdsourcing transcriptions for improved data access; strategies for enhancing image access; analysis of collection strengths and gaps; and overall user needs. This session will highlight initial results from a user survey designed to identify and prioritize recommended improvements and new features for accessing the data in BHL.


biodiversity heritage library, open access, user needs analysis, biodiversity literature

Presenting author

Carolyn Sheffield