Researchers’ practices have been considerably changed by the growing part played by digital formats in the scientific publishing landscape at the turn of the 21st century, both in terms of accessing research results and their dissemination. In response to these new uses, the Muséum’s libraries developed a range of electronic resources very early on, which today makes it possible to offer online access to several tens of thousands of journals, ebooks, print media titles, dictionaries and databases. These documentary resources extend and complement the printed collections in all the Muséum’s disciplinary fields covering natural and human sciences: anthropology, biology, evolutionary biology, botany, ecology, environment, oceanography, palaeontology, prehistory, veterinary sciences, earth sciences, conservation sciences, zoology.
The core of the Muséum’s libraries’ electronic resources is made up of scientific journals and reports from academic societies, such as Science, Nature, the Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Sciences (Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences), and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). It also contains many flagship journals in the Muséum’s disciplines such as Zootaxa, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Biological sciences) and Annual reviews. Additionally, this online collection provides access to the full text of all the Muséum’s periodical publications since 1802, via the Muséum’s Digital Library, the BioOne platform, which hosts current titles - notably Adansonia, Anthropozoologica, Cryptogamie, Mycologie, Geodiversitas et Zoosystema - and The European Journal of Taxonomy, all as open access.
For its part, the ebook collection comprises important publications such as Biomedical & Life science and Earth and Environmental sciences collections (Springer), reference works, dictionaries and encyclopaedias covering the Muséum’s disciplines of excellence, mainly in earth and environmental sciences, biomedicine and life sciences. The collection is completed by the acquisition of books in digital format, which are selected title by title. These are particularly useful for field researchers working on sites far from the libraries, or because their interdisciplinarity is likely to interest researchers from all fields.
The range on offer in the databases reflects the specificity of natural science research, which resides in comparing the specimens studied with documentation concerning them. On one hand, there are the natural history databases, of which thirty receive regular contributions from the Muséum’s teams. They mainly cover taxonomy, iconography, geographical distribution and data collected on the species. On the other hand, there are the documentary databases such as the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts, Greenfile, Web of Science, Zoological Record and Biological Abstracts, which provide references to articles relating to the same disciplinary fields. Added to this body of research is the Europresse database which gives access to the full text of thousands of titles and articles published in the international, national, regional and local press.
Finally, the multidisciplinary open archive HAL (Hyper Articles en Ligne / Online Hyper Articles) offers a constantly growing range of open access books, book chapters, theses, scientific reports and articles for research. These are made available directly online by the teaching and research establishments and public and private laboratories who produced them. The HAL-Muséum platform makes it possible to find and consult the publications and works produced by scientists at the Muséum.
The range of electronic resources on offer in the Muséum’s libraries started to take form back in 1999 with the introduction of bibliographic CD-ROMs that could be consulted in the central library’s reading room for online access to databases and electronic journals.
In 2004, joining the Couperin consortium of university and research establishments provided the Muséum with many electronic resources at prices negotiated with the big publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley, Springer and Nature. The range of ebooks has expanded since 2010, with new series being regularly added to the collections. From 2012 onwards, the Muséum was able to benefit from the acquisition of online journals and ebooks under national licences, created in the context of the ISTEX project (Initiative d’excellence de l’information scientifique et technique/ Excellence initiative for scientific and technical information) initiated by the Ministry for Higher Education and Research. The appearance of large digital libraries such as the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and Gallica (National Library of France) and digitisation initiatives such as Jstor (contraction of Journal Storage) have also enriched the archive collection with hundreds of titles dating back as far as the 19th century.
In response to the continued rise in prices practiced by the big commercial publishers, the thinking around online access to research results has been focussed in the last few years on the national and European movement to promote open access, i.e. free access to scientific literature via the dissemination of research articles in digital form, free of charge and in line with copyright rules. In 2019, the Muséum committed to this approach through its Open Science Plan. This involves its libraries, which play a role of providing technical support and help to the Muséum’s researchers when they publish their works on the HAL-Muséum institutional platform. Thus, more and more open access publications are now part of the collections, all selected for their compatibility with the Muséum’s research and teaching domains.
Contact and means of consultation
All the Muséum’s libraries’ electronic resources can be accessed directly from the computers at the establishment’s sites. Distance access is reserved for the Muséum’s students, teachers, researchers and staff and is made possible by an identification system from any connected device. The open access resources signposted on the libraries’ documentary portal are freely accessible to all.
Access to electronic documents via the libraries’ documentary portal:
Please address any questions to the distance information service or docelec [@] mnhn.fr.