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Society for the History of Natural History

Awards, Honours and Medals

The John Thackray Medal

The John Thackray Medal 2010

The 2010 recipient of the John Thackray Medal, which recognizes significant achievements in the history or bibliography of natural history is the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Among the definitions of “significant achievements” given in the Society’s rule is “making available … collections and/or information in new and novel ways”.

Twelve major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions have joined to form the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The participating libraries have over two million volumes of biodiversity literature collected over 200 years to support the work of scientists, researchers, and students in their home institutions and throughout the world.

On May 20th 2011, Graham Higley, Head of library and information services at the Natural History Museum in London, accepted the 2010 John Thackray medal, which was awarded to the BHL in recognition of our past three years of work building on the digital library. Mr. Higley accepted this award on behalf of Tom Garnett, Director of the BHL.

When asked to comment about the significance of this award for BHL, Mr. Higley responded,

“John Thackray was a past President of The Society for the History of Natural History (SHNH) and also the Archivist at the Natural History Museum, London (NHM) for several decades. It is particularly fitting that the BHL should be recognized by this award, since John and his colleagues in the SHNH made avid use of the historic collections at the NHM. It is now possible for their successors to look at or obtain copies of these rare early texts directly from the BHL, which is a truly global resource for historians as well as current scientists.”

We send a special thanks to The Society for the History of Natural History for honoring us with this award. We plan to continue to provide rare, important, and relevant biodiversity information to our users, and promise to continue developing novel ways for our users to interact with and use this content.”

The Biodiversity Heritage Library has posted more information on the award:

Visit the Biodiversity Heritage Library at: