Museums Victoria is the Lead Agency for BHL-Australia. Funded by the Atlas of Living Australia, we joined the global BHL Family in June 2010.
By 2010, many Australian publications were already in BHL (thanks to the tireless digitisation work of BHL's founding members). However, there were still considerable gaps we could fill and we have been digitising and uploading ever since.
Our accomplishments have included the addition of many more recent volumes of Australian museum and herbarium in-house journals, other Australian publications such as the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria journal, and rare books.
One of our most noteworthy contributions is George Shaw's 24-volume The Naturalist's Miscellany (1789-1813), which includes the first published illustration of the iconic Australian animal, the Platypus, and Shaw's famous words:
Of all the mammals yet known, it seems the most extraordinary ... at first view it naturally excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means.
The first published illustration of the Duck-billed Platypus,
from The Naturalist's Miscellany, Vol. 10, George Shaw, 1799.
Museums Victoria has also made a significant technical contribution to BHL — the inspiration for the new BHL website (launched in March 2013). The new interface, improved navigation and beautiful design were all based on the original BHL-Au website and we worked closely with BHL developers to create the new BHL site.
Towards the end of 2013, the wider BHL-Australia project underwent a period of reduced activity after a funding cut. At Museums Victoria, digitisation work was able to continue during this quiet period thanks to our team of six wonderful volunteers and the dedication of the library staff.
In mid-2014, the Atlas of Living Australia was again able to fund the BHL-Australia project. This allowed Museums Victoria to employ a new team of staff to run the Australian node of BHL and to continue to promote and contribute to BHL into the future.