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

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

Annika Fink carefully requires the book off the shelf inside the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous as it looks with its simple brown cover, it is actually a actual treasure for botanists and librarians, because it is really a uncommon and precious first edition from 1831.

Neither side may possibly crease, nor may perhaps the paper tear. A certain instinct is expected.? The book is as a result not open towards the public,? Explains Fink. As an alternative, the librarian keeps it inside the closed magazine, to which only library staff have access and only hand out the book for reading on request.

The book, which bears indicators with the occasions each inside and outside, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d’Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, moreover to initial written descriptions, consists of particularly detailed steel engravings of a family of plants that annotated bibliography maker happen to be woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is called.

The search started in 2008.

It can’t be taken for granted that it’s now within the faculty library. It is actually preceded by a long history that extends as far as Russia. “In 2008 my post-doctoral student Marcello Trovo was urgently interested in this book for his study, ” says botany professor Dr. Thomas St?tzel.

There have been a handful of copies in the perform in Germany, but they had been not full, and additionally, current reprints.? For us scientists, even so, it is actually fundamental that when we quote other researchers in our operate, we have their original editions in front of us. You possibly can work with later quotations, but they can contain errors after which the publication is invalid in the sense on the international code of the botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo found via his research was within a university library in Saint Petersburg, where the German author August Gustav Heinrich von Bongard lived and worked as a botanist till his death in 1839. Simply because he seriously wanted to find out the book, Trovo made the 2,200-kilometer journey – and stood in front of closed doors.? That was certainly tragic,? Says Thomas St?tzel, describing the disappointment.? At that time, of all instances, the library was closed for renovation.?

A lucky coincidence.

Trovo had to perform 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 of the Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard’s book of all items was amongst the functions to be sold. I could have it for a symbolic cost,? Says a delighted St?tzel when he thinks of his good luck.

St?tzel left his locate for the Faculty Library of Biology, exactly where Annika Fink took care of it. Not too long ago she was in a position to have it processed by a specialist provider. “Our price range was only enough for qualified cleaning – a comprehensive restoration would have expense 2,000 euros – but we’re quite satisfied with the result, ” stated the librarian.

Plenty of knowledge is lost by means of scanning.

While Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how very important it is to possess operates like this within a reference library.? A lot of facts that include colour and particulars around the drawings are lost when they are scanned,? He explains. And Annika Fink adds: “The paper itself and any handwritten notes from earlier owners, if any, supply researchers from various disciplines worthwhile insights into the genesis of such books. ”

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink wish to do their greatest in order that the old treasure may be kept in their library to get a lengthy time and is available to scientists.

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