News portal – Ruhr University Bochum. Why an old botany book turned out to be a true treasure.

4 Jan

The search for a 188 year old book took a RUB botanist to Saint Petersburg. He was unsuccessful there. A couple of years later, luck helped.

Annika Fink meticulously takes the book off the shelf inside the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous since it appears with its hassle-free brown cover, it can be a real treasure for botanists and librarians, because it is usually a rare and precious first edition from 1831.

Neither side might possibly crease, nor might possibly the paper tear. A positive instinct is expected.? The book is thus not open towards the public,? Explains Fink. As an alternative, the librarian keeps it within the closed magazine, to which only library staff have access and only hand rewrite article out the book for reading on request.

The book, which bears indicators on the instances each inside and outdoors, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d’Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, moreover to initial written descriptions, consists of extremely detailed steel engravings of a loved ones of plants that happen to be woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is called.

The search started in 2008.

It cannot be taken for granted that it can be now in the faculty library. It is preceded by a long history that extends as far as Russia. „In 2008 my post-doctoral student Marcello Trovo was urgently attempting to find this book for his investigation, “ says botany professor Dr. Thomas St?tzel.

There have been a handful of copies of the perform in Germany, but they had been not comprehensive, and in addition, current reprints.? For us scientists, then again, it can be vital that when we quote other researchers in our operate, we’ve got their original editions in front of us. It is possible to work with later quotations, however they can contain errors and then the publication is invalid in the sense with the international code of your botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo located by means of his research was in a university library in Saint Petersburg, exactly where the German author August Gustav Heinrich von Bongard lived and worked as a botanist until his death in 1839. For the reason that he truly wanted to see the book, Trovo made the 2,200-kilometer journey – and stood in front of closed doors.? That was really tragic,? Says Thomas St?tzel, describing the disappointment.? At that time, of all occasions, the library was closed for renovation.?

A fortunate coincidence.

Trovo had to complete differently for his perform. But years later, in 2012, the story took an unexpected turn:? A former employee named me. He just dissolved the library from the Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard’s book of all items was among the operates to be sold. I could have it for any symbolic cost,? Says a pleased St?tzel when he thinks of his awesome luck.

St?tzel left his get for the Faculty Library of Biology, where Annika Fink took care of it. Not too long ago she was in a position to have it processed by a specialist enterprise. „Our budget was only adequate for qualified cleaning – a comprehensive restoration would have cost 2,000 euros – but we’re especially satisfied with the result, “ stated the librarian.

Plenty of material is lost by way of scanning.

Although Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how essential it really is to have performs like this inside a reference library.? A great deal of material for example color and details on the drawings are lost once they are scanned,? He explains. And Annika Fink adds: „The paper itself and any handwritten notes from preceding owners, if any, supply researchers from numerous disciplines valuable insights into the genesis of such books. “

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink choose to do their very best to ensure that the old treasure will be kept in their library for any long time and is readily available to scientists.

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