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

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

Annika Fink very carefully requires the book off the shelf in the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous because it appears with its very simple brown cover, it is a real freelance content writer treasure for botanists and librarians, because it is actually a uncommon and valuable initial edition from 1831.

Neither side may possibly crease, nor could the paper tear. A certain instinct is essential.? The book is consequently not open for the public,? Explains Fink. Alternatively, the librarian keeps it inside the closed magazine, to which only library employees have access and only hand out the book for reading on request.

The book, which bears signs in the instances both inside and outside, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d'Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, furthermore to initial written descriptions, includes extremely detailed steel engravings of a family members of plants that happen to be woolly stem plants - in Latin: Eriocaulaceae - is named.

The search started in 2008.

It can't be taken for granted that it is now inside the faculty library. It truly is preceded by a lengthy history that extends as far as Russia. "In 2008 my post-doctoral student Marcello Trovo was urgently in search of this book for his investigation, " says botany professor Dr. Thomas St?tzel.

There have been a handful of copies on the work in Germany, however they had been not complete, and moreover, current reprints.? For us scientists, on the other hand, it is actually vital that when we quote other researchers in our perform, we have their original editions in front of us. You may work with later quotations, but they can contain errors then the publication is invalid inside the sense on the international code with the botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo identified via his research 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. Considering he genuinely wanted to find out the book, Trovo created 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 fortunate coincidence.

Trovo had to do 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 on the Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard's book of all factors was amongst the performs to become sold. I could have it to get a symbolic price,? Says a satisfied St?tzel when he thinks of his superb luck.

St?tzel left his uncover towards the Faculty Library of Biology, where Annika Fink took care of it. Recently she was in a position to have it processed by a specialist company. "Our spending budget was only adequate for expert cleaning - a complete restoration would have cost two, 000 euros - but we are pretty happy with all the outcome, " mentioned the librarian.

Lots of information is lost by means of scanning.

While Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how vital it is actually to possess performs like this within a reference library.? A lot of knowledge similar to color and facts around the drawings are lost after they are scanned,? He explains. And Annika Fink adds: "The paper itself and any handwritten notes from previous owners, if any, deliver researchers from a number of disciplines important insights into the genesis of such books. "

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink need to do their preferred so that the old treasure is usually kept in their library for a extended time and is available to scientists.

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