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Bedfordshire Naturalist 1946 to 1998
Digital Journals

The BNHS has published Bedfordshire Naturalist annually since 1946, probably making it the most complete record of Bedfordshire Wildlife throughout the second half of the 20th Century.

Originally published on paper, these journals are now available here as searchable PDFs which can be read using the free Acrobat Reader, available from HERE.

OCR and Searches

Every page of every edition from No. 1 (1946) to No. 53 (1998) has been individually scanned to present the appearance of the original document, and also Optically Character Recognized (OCR'd) to provide a computer-reading of the text that can be searched and copy-pasted into other documents.

The OCR process is very effective, but imperfect. Humans are good a reading smudged print, in odd fonts, as italics, camouflaged by an assortments of blotches and paper blemishes, but these can fool software that attempts to interpret this mess. Hence you will find that the searchable text does contain some "mistakes", so if you are searching for something specific and not getting what you expected then try searching for parts of words. Some journals have less reading errors than others, depending upon the clarity of the original printing.

If you download the PDFs and save them in a folder on your computer then the advanced search facility of Acrobat Reader can be used to search through them all, returning links to every reference to the search term in every journal! This can be invoked using Shift-CTRL-F, or clicking on the small black triangle to the right of the Find box in Acrobat Reader.

A Word of warning

The smallest PDF (1968, No. 23) is 3.5Mbytes in size and the largest (1998, No. 48) is 33Mytes in size. They total 539MBytes!! Please don't melt our web server by trying to download them all in one go. Members will be able to purchase a CD containing all the PDFs for a small charge to cover costs, which you may prefer over downloading this much data from the web. When the Society has made arrangements for making the CDs available details will be posted here.

1999 Onwards...

Why do the PDFs stop at 1998? Well, from 1999 onwards the PDFs can be produced from their original electronic source instead of scanning from paper. This will lead to smaller files of higher quality. However they are not yet available for the website and will be added later. In order to preserve one of the benefits of membership there will be a five year delay before journals appear online.

Copyright and Credits

Please be aware that the copyright of these electronic documents remains, as with their paper counterparts, with the BNHS and the authors of the content.

If making reference to any of the material in these journals the journal(s), the author(s) and the BNHS must be credited as the source.


We are indebted to David Kay, a volunteer at the BRMC, who researched and refined the techniques needed to turn paper journals into searchable PDFs and who then took every scanned document through the process to produce all the documents presented here. Most paper journals were sourced from the BRMC and the Wildlife Trust, but thanks go to Pam and Sue Raven for making copies of the rare "gold-dust" editions available for scanning to complete the set.