Posted: 2/25/2015 | Print Friendly Version




Missouri Botanical Garden Reaches Milestone in Art of Life Project

The Missouri Botanical Garden has reached a major milestone in its Art of Life project – over 1 million biodiversity images have been uploaded to Flickr from the books and journals of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). In 2012, the Garden received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Art of Life project whose goal is to increase access to the natural history illustrations found within the BHL.

The BHL is an international consortium of the leading natural history libraries that have collaborated to digitize records of the world’s biological diversity. It is the single largest open-licensed source of biodiversity literature in the world with more than 45 million pages of scanned texts available online at 

Within those pages are millions of visual resources that can be useful for researchers including illustrations and maps. However, the illustrations lack sufficient descriptive metadata and make searching and navigating difficult.  To improve the discoverability of these images the Garden and its partners created automated algorithms to identify which pages contained images, then pushed those images out to image-sharing platforms, such as Flickr, in order to have the public add metadata about the content of those images. The images are available at:

 “This is a significant milestone for the project and BHL because not only does it expose this rich content to new and broader audiences it also allows us to crowdsource the image descriptions via the public which is a task too onerous for a single organization to accomplish on its own,” said Trish Rose Sandler, principal investigator for the project.

BHL member institutions and the public can also contribute to the process through tagging the images. For more information on how to assist with this project, visit the BHL’s blog. 


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NOTE: Digital images available by request or via Flickr. Download media materials at

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s mission is “to discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life.” Today, 156 years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science, conservation, education and horticultural display.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in St. Louis, just south of I-44 at Vandeventer-Kingshighway (exit #287B). Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Christmas Day. Grounds open at 7 a.m. most Wednesdays and Saturdays (exception: special admission rate events). Admission is $8; free children ages 12 and under and Garden members. St. Louis City and County residents are $4 and free most Wednesdays and Saturdays until noon (exception: special admission rate events – third weekend of May, Memorial Day 2012, Labor Day weekend and first weekend of October). Park for free on site and two blocks west at the Shaw-Vandeventer intersection. The Garden is accessible via public transportation by taking the MetroLink commuter rail line and picking up a Metro bus ( For general information, log on to or call the 24-hour recording at (314) 577-5100 or 1-800-642-8842. For membership information, visit call (314) 577-5118 during weekday business hours. For volunteer opportunities, visit or call (314) 577-5187. The Missouri Botanical Garden is a tobacco-free environment.