The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has launched a new Digital Collections platform, allowing anyone to access 10,000 library items and herbarium specimens online for free.
Great progress has been made in digitising the collections in the RHS Lindley Library - of garden history and science - over the last five years. Below I cover
The project started in 2018 and was helped by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thousands of botanical artworks have been photographed, including Nellie Roberts’s Orchid Award Committee paintings
WHAT IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE RHS DIGITAL COLLECTIONS
You can now access digital images of the following online via RHS Digital Collections
Here's an example - which can be downloaded - together with the detail which can be identified and listed if republished.
The Collections include:
Some plants have "everything we've got on"
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
The RHS makes a number of very reasonable requests - which are listed below.
They also have a very reasonable Takedown Policy for any item listed that needs changing in some way.
HOW TO EXPLORE WHAT'S AVAILABLE TO SEE
There's a basic and advanced search query system.
If you're less expert at searching digital collections, I recommend you:
If you're expert at searching (I search digital collections all the time) then, in theory, you'll get there faster using the advanced search query system by including words which are unusual and very particular to your search to refine the results quickly and the parameters for the search.
HOWEVER, I could not make the advanced system work. It provides the parameters but nowhere to insert your search queries!
That said I found most of what I wanted to find using the basic system.
It should be noted that RHS Digital Collections are NOT comprehensive.
What you will not find are
MORE ABOUT THE DIGITALISATION PROJECT
We are digitising selected parts of our collection to share online. As well as making digital copies of artworks, manuscripts and pages from books, we are creating digital versions of film and audio recordings. This includes a selection of oral history recordings, chiefly interviews with past RHS staff and students. We also have a growing number of digital donations – where members of the public have allowed us to make copies of their photographs and documents.
The process of digitisation includes:
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