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Library subject resources

There is just so much information out there!

If you haven't found what you are looking for yet, contact our library staff, try one of these free featured resources, or click the subject resource, to the right to learn more!



ACORN (Arboretum COllections & Resources Nexus) provides online access to the Special Collections of the Sterling Morton Library. New resources are added on a regular basis as a part of ongoing cataloguing and digitization efforts. Interested in reading an early Arboretum publication? Searching for a photograph of a sugar maple flower? Want to listen to an Arboretum podcast on plant-related careers? Seeking original artwork by May Theilgaard Watts? Explore ACORN and prepare to be dazzled!


Biodiversity Heritage Library

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL provides free access to hundreds of thousands of volumes, comprising over 55 million pages, from the 15th-21st centuries. Search or browse their collections by title, author, date, or collection. Ever wanted to read Pliny's Natural History, originally published in 77 AD? Click here to visit the BHL and read a version that was translated in 1601, published in the mid 19th century!


CARLI Digital Collections

The CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois) Digital Collections make digitized items from rare and special library collections freely available. The collections include images, sound recordings, manuscripts, and print material. Click here to see all of the collections dedicated to Illinois regional history!


HathiTrust Digital Library

This digital library is also the product of a partnership of academic and research institutions working to make digital collections and books freely available world-wide. Browse or search through the collections to see manuscripts, rare books, images, and much more.


Directory of Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals is all about what it sounds like - providing a way to find open access scientific and scholarly journals. DOAJ is searchable at the article and journal level, connecting researchers to freely available scholarship.


Plant Information Online

Wondering where to find a particular plant? This searchable database of plants and nurseries identifies sources for more than 81,000 plants and access information for some 2,700 nurseries in North America. Also find links to more information on some plants including photographs, regional information, and literature citations on external websites. Search by individual nursery, or by scientific or common plant name.



A virtual herbarium of Chicago-region plants, vPlants™, was developed by three partner institutions: The Morton Arboretum, The Field Museum, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. This online resource offers data for more than 120,000 plant specimens from some 30 institutions, including:

Specimen data and images
Species descriptions
Distribution by county
Photo galleries

Learn about fungal diversity in the region, plant diversity in wetlands, plant taxonomy and naming, or just browse through the collections and photographs. The vascular plants and fungi databases are searchable by scientific or common name, location, habitat, or collector.