Botanical Museum, FMNH

Last week I was invited to talk about our integration with BHL via their API.

This was a meeting of a BHL-Europe project’s partners held in Botanical Museum (Helsinki, Finland).


The core of the demonstration was a search executed straight from EarthCape Windows client application where the users are able to set several parameters:

  • list of names
  • option to download all names found on the page where the target name was found
  • download full sized page images that would be stored in the file system
  • download OCR of the pages

Results that are returned by BHL API are stored in the user’s database and can be annotated and linked to reference library (also stored in the same database).

EarthCape windows client: BHL search results screen

This was just a quick implementation of core functionality and there is plenty of room for improvement and deeper integration.


There are also issues that we would like to address in the future:

  • User content upload (scans, annotations, cleaned up names, article demarcation)
  • BHL API: ability to download unverified names and leave the verification to the users
  • BHL API: more flexible search options
  • EarthCape: better integration of BHL API with other external services such as GBIF, EOL, UBio and others

Overall goal of BHL integration into EarthCape platform is to provide a more powerful way to work with BHL content especially for those users who work on long term project, such as extensive taxonomic revisions. And so far our initial tests are looking very good.

There will be more information on BHL integration when we get closer to public release.

Before that, you we can easily be reached on Twitter, Facebook, and through our Support Center.

Sauna & Ice hole swimming at Kuusijärvi, VantaaPS. Friday afternoon, the bravest of BHL-Europe risked their lives engaging in one of the most extreme activities one can do this close to the arctic circle. Read all about it in Chris Freeland’s blog.