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. Some years later, luck helped.

Annika Fink carefully takes the book off the shelf within the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous because it appears with paraphrasing its rather simple brown cover, it can be a actual treasure for botanists and librarians, because it is really a uncommon and valuable 1st edition from 1831.

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

The book, which bears indicators on the instances each inside and outside, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d’Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, additionally to initial written descriptions, includes exceptionally detailed steel engravings of a family of plants which can be woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is known as.

The search began in 2008.

It cannot be taken for granted that it truly is 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 seeking this book for his analysis, ” says botany professor Dr. Thomas St?tzel.

There were a handful of copies of your function in Germany, but they had been not full, and furthermore, recent reprints.? For us scientists, even so, it’s vital that when we quote other researchers in our function, we have their original editions in front of us. You are able to operate with later quotations, however they can contain errors then the publication is invalid in the sense of the international code on the botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo located via his study 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. Because he honestly wanted to see the book, Trovo produced the two, 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 instances, the library was closed for renovation.?

A fortunate coincidence.

Trovo had to accomplish differently for his work. But years later, in 2012, the story took an unexpected turn:? A former employee known as me. He just dissolved the library with the Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard’s book of all things was amongst the operates to become sold. I could have it for a symbolic price,? Says a happy St?tzel when he thinks of his terrific luck.

St?tzel left his acquire for the Faculty Library of Biology, where Annika Fink took care of it. Not too long ago she was able to possess it processed by a specialist firm. “Our budget was only adequate for experienced cleaning – a total restoration would have price 2,000 euros – but we’re particularly satisfied with the outcome, ” mentioned the librarian.

Lots of facts is lost by means of scanning.

While Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how important it truly is to have functions like this in a reference library.? A great deal of knowledge which includes colour 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 earlier owners, if any, deliver researchers from a variety of disciplines beneficial insights into the genesis of such books. ”

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink would like to do their top in order that the old treasure can be kept in their library for any extended time and is on the market to scientists.

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