Natural History Research Guide

The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' Natural History Research Guide is a select list of resources for students, teachers, and researchers to learn about natural history and biodiversity. 

Smithsonian Resources

Natural History

  • Darwin Correspondence Project: Project from the University of Cambridge which provides annotated transcripts of the letters of Charles Darwin. The full-text of over 9000 letters is searchable and the site also provides information about the correspondents.
  • Google Arts & Culture - Natural History: Explore more than 60 natural history collections from around the globe via a Google street view style interactive viewer, still photos with in-depth descriptions of the collections, and through curated stories featuring annotated images and videos from the collections.
  • iDigBio: Digital collection with entries from universities and museums across the U.S. iDigBio features over 100 million specimen records and 24 million images, as well as providing information on how to best digitize and share collections.

Museums and Libraries


  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Endangered Species: Information about endangered species in the U.S. from the US Fish and Wildlife service. It is searchable by species and state.
  • Species at Risk Public Registry: List of species considered at risk and endangered in Canada with links to more information about each species including threats and protections being taken.
  • Animal Diversity Web: Database featuring species accounts, images, and recordings of thousands of animal species from the University of Michigan.
  • Tree of Life: Site featuring a linked tree showcasing the taxonomic structure of life from domain all the way down to phylum.
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility: Interface for searching open access biodiversity data, especially species occurrence information, from across the world.
  • Global Invasive Species Database: Database of alien and invasive species with information about lifecycle, habitat, impact, and management.
  • Wikispecies: Crowd sourced directory of taxanomic information about living things. Typical entries include family, genus, species, subspecies, and multi-lingual vernacular names.
  • Ocean Biogeographic Information System: Database which includes species taxonomy information, ocean and country biodiversity datasets, and distribution data for marine life.
  • Census of Marine Life: Website for a ten year project to condeuct a census of marine life. The site includes visualizations and maps of the results, a Google Earth version of the census results, and links to many publications.
  • Wildscreen Arkive: Digital archive of images and videos of living things which has expanded to include eco-regions and scientific information and facts about the species and regions covered.
Last Updated January 27, 2023