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

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

Annika Fink meticulously takes the book off the shelf in the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous since it looks with its basic brown cover, it is a actual treasure for botanists and writing a case study analysis librarians, because it can be a uncommon and valuable first edition from 1831.

Neither side may crease, nor may perhaps the paper tear. A positive instinct is essential.? The book is hence not open towards the public,? Explains Fink. Alternatively, 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 signs in the times each inside and outdoors, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d’Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, additionally to initial written descriptions, consists of rather detailed steel engravings of a household of plants which are woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is named.

The search started in 2008.

It can’t be taken for granted that it’s now inside 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 looking for this book for his study, ” says botany professor Dr. Thomas St?tzel.

There have been a handful of copies of your work in Germany, however they have been not comprehensive, and furthermore, recent reprints.? For us scientists, on the other hand, it is actually imperative that when we quote other researchers in our perform, we’ve got their original editions in front of us. You’re able to operate with later quotations, however they can include errors after which the publication is invalid in the sense in the international code from the botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo located by way of his analysis was within 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. Due to the fact he definitely wanted to view the book, Trovo made the 2,200-kilometer journey – and stood in front of closed doors.? That was truly tragic,? Says Thomas St?tzel, describing the disappointment.? At that time, of all times, the library was closed for renovation.?

A lucky coincidence.

Trovo had to perform differently for his function. But years later, in 2012, the story took an unexpected turn:? A former employee called me. He just dissolved the library of your Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard’s book of all factors was amongst the works to become sold. I could have it for a symbolic value,? Says a happy St?tzel when he thinks of his good luck.

St?tzel left his discover to the Faculty Library of Biology, exactly where Annika Fink took care of it. Recently she was capable to possess it processed by a specialist corporation. “Our spending budget was only sufficient for professional cleaning – a full restoration would have price 2,000 euros – but we are extremely satisfied with the result, ” mentioned the librarian.

A considerable amount of information is lost by way of scanning.

Though Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how fundamental it’s to have performs like this within a reference library.? A large amount of information and facts which includes color and information on the drawings are lost after they are scanned,? He explains. And Annika Fink adds: “The paper itself and any handwritten notes from preceding owners, if any, present researchers from a variety of disciplines beneficial insights into the genesis of such books. ”

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink need to do their top in order that the old treasure might be kept in their library for a extended time and is readily available to scientists.