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The Digital Library of the Royal Botanic Garden (CSIC) is an online information resource about botanical bibliography.

It wants to be the reference botany digital library of the Iberian Peninsula, Balearic Islands, Macaronesia, North Africa, Mediterranean region and Latin America publications; and also to provide the largest possible collection of essential works, journals, and other botanical works (historical, floristic, taxonomic, etc.; both cryptogams and phanerogams).

It wants to be a work tool for researchers, environmental technicians, teachers, historians, amateurs, etc., providing facsimile images of the bibliographic sources about biodiversity plant, history of botany, etc.; providing also detailed bibliographic records and detailed descriptions of contents and pagination of the publications.

It wants serve user needs in the best possible way:

  • Digitizing not only publications from bibliographic holdings of RJB but also from other institutions or individuals.
  • Locating and linking to the largest possible amount of digitized works by other institutions or individuals, or born-digital, for the Digital Library of the Royal Botanic Garden also serve as a repository and contribute to the dissemination of Iberian, Latin American botanical publications, etc.

The RJB Digital Library has been possible thanks to three grants (Complementary Actions), given by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Science and Innovation in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009, and also with persistent support from the beginning in 2003, of María Teresa Tellería Jorge y Gonzalo Nieto Feliner, Heads of the RJB.

Design and code are in-house developments. Both the master database and a replica in the “server” are in MySQL databases and the user interface is MS-Access; the database comprises a few tables where the core is the catalogue table, and also a few tasks are automated, such as paging publications.

All code and design is available to anyone wishing to setup its own digital library following the BigDig model. Of course, this software can be modified to adapt to new requirements, standards, etc.

At it is indicated the core of the database is the catalogue table. The fields of this table are designed according to ISBD cataloguing rules -adding some botanic tradition elements- and also serve to create catalogue records in international bibliographic format MARC21.

It also provides the bibliographic and digital objects metadata in several standards, MARCXML, Dublin Core and METS; among other things, to facilitate the search and retrieval on Internet.

With the same aim, the protocol OAI-PMH (Open Archives Iniciative - Protocol Metadata Harvesting), thanks to the invaluable and selfless help by Vicente García González and the Viaintermedia interactive Company. As is known, such protocol enables the dissemination and the sharing of information between repositories, based on Dublin Core metadata harvesting. So that currently the RJB Digital Library works as a data provider.

The Digital Library of the RJB provides the publications in three different ways:

  • Through links to other websites – either by the importance of the publication or by their apparent low visibility on Internet.
  • In a single PDF, paged –normally, these files have been transferred by the authors.
  • In a lot of PDF files (one PDF per page), this is the case of most publications of the BibDig.

The digitized works by RJB are in PDF file with embedded text obtained through optical character recognition, OCR. This text is also showed in txt files, where searches of words and phrases are done.

The Digital Library of the RJB provides the typical search systems: browse by authors or titles, or search by one or several fields in the bibliographic records, and also allows advanced search, using one or more fields of the basic search combined with one or more words from the text of the pages.


Request and citation of the images

The use of any image of the Royal Botanic Garden’s Digital Library, entail the citation of its origin, stating: “Image reproduced from the Digital Library of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid (CSIC)”, or something similar.

If the quality of the image provided is good enough and its use hasn’t a commercial purpose can be used freely.
If the quality of the image provided is not good enough, you can ask for it in high resolution at the e-mail address:

In any case, and for statistical reasons, please communicate us the use of the images at:



Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales