The BNHM is a nationally recognized leader in Biodiversity Informatics. Conceptually, by taking these collections of physical specimens and related documentation out of the cases, digitizing them, and putting them on the Web, BNHM has transformed the information contained in the collections from the parochial to the universal. The vast store of data held by BNHM is progressing toward being available to all potential users: academic, policy, citizen science.

Read more about the BNHM Informatics/ IT governance.

List of Digitization Efforts

Alphabetical list of Services


  • AmphibiaWeb is a site dedicated to combating global amphibian declines by bringing together information on amphibian biology, taxonomy and conservation.
  • BioKeys is a pictorial guide to flora and fauna of the Bay Area.
  • Digital MVZ aims to digitize multimedia collections in the MVZ to integrate collections and research.
  • Read our field notes online with the Ecoreader!
  • Miomap Explores Miocene Mammal Distributions.
  • Moorea Biocode aimed to DNA barcode an entire island ecosystem with online cataloging of images and specimens.
  • The Jepson Flora Project brings together all of the floristic references and data of the Jepson Herbarium.

Distributed Specimen Networks

  • Paleoportal is an educational site and distributed database for Paleontology Museums developed by UCMP.
  • Herpnet, ORNIS, and MANIS are distributed database projects employing DiGIR, PHP, and Java led by MVZ. These are all archived now. Set your browsers to… VertNet!
  • VertNet – cloud-based distributed data access for all vertebrate networks and major source of data to GBIF.
  • The Consortium of California Herbaria was developed to serve as a gateway to information from California vascular plant specimens that are housed in herbaria throughout the state.
  • BNHM IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit) archive on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)


  • MVZ was a leader in the development of the DiGIR protocol
  • MVZ led the development of the georeferencing protocol that was used in the MaNIS, HerpNet and ORNIS projects to georeference specimen localities from textual descriptions.

Specimen Databases

Mapping and Georeferencing

Images and Documents

  • CalPhotos is an annotated collection of over half-million (almost 600,000) photos.
  • DocuBase supports the scanning and online viewing of documents.