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Open Access Highly Accessed Database

Extracting scientific articles from a large digital archive: BioStor and the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Roderic DM Page

Author Affiliations

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

BMC Bioinformatics 2011, 12:187  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-187

Published: 23 May 2011



The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a large digital archive of legacy biological literature, comprising over 31 million pages scanned from books, monographs, and journals. During the digitisation process basic metadata about the scanned items is recorded, but not article-level metadata. Given that the article is the standard unit of citation, this makes it difficult to locate cited literature in BHL. Adding the ability to easily find articles in BHL would greatly enhance the value of the archive.


A service was developed to locate articles in BHL based on matching article metadata to BHL metadata using approximate string matching, regular expressions, and string alignment. This article locating service is exposed as a standard OpenURL resolver on the BioStor web site webcite. This resolver can be used on the web, or called by bibliographic tools that support OpenURL.


BioStor provides tools for extracting, annotating, and visualising articles from the Biodiversity Heritage Library. BioStor is available from webcite.