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In celebration of the opening of the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils opening at the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Libraries has curated an online collection of important and beautiful selections from the Libraries’ Paleobiology literature titled Unearthed!. The digitized books are hosted on the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. As part of this celebration, we have invited renowned scientists and librarians to discuss the collection and identify their favorite books in a series of blog posts that will be released throughout the year.

View the collection

Our online volumes are drawn from a much larger collection of monographs and journals curated by Smithsonian Libraries. Smithsonian Libraries’ Vertebrate Paleontology Library (a collection under the Natural History Library) holds over 1,800 volumes focusing on physical geography, stratigraphy and systematic paleontology, and paleozoology of chordates and vertebrates of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Quaternary periods. The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History holds the Smithsonian's collection of rare books in anthropology and the natural sciences. Its world-class collection contains approximately 10,000 volumes published before 1840 in the fields of physical and cultural anthropology, ethnology, Native American linguistics, and archeology; botany; ornithology, mammalogy, herpetology, ichthyology, entomology, malacology, and other zoological fields; paleontology; and geology and mineralogy.

All Smithsonian Libraries make our books available to researchers on site. For the first time, many of these important paleontological works are now gathered digitally in one online collection for anyone with internet access, through our partnership with the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Thank you for visiting our collection, and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Allie Alvis (alvisa@si.edu) and Bonnie Felts (feltsb@si.edu) Smithsonian Libraries