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

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

Annika Fink very carefully takes the book off the shelf within the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous because it appears with its very simple brown cover, it is actually a true treasure for botanists and librarians, since it is actually a uncommon and precious initial edition from 1831.

Neither side may perhaps crease, nor may the paper tear. A rephrase tool sure instinct is needed.? The book is therefore not open for the public,? Explains Fink. As an alternative, 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 indicators of the times both inside and outside, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d’Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, also to initial written descriptions, includes particularly detailed steel engravings of a household of plants that are woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is known as.

The search started in 2008.

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

There have been a handful of copies in the work in Germany, however they have been not comprehensive, and additionally, current reprints.? For us scientists, even so, it is actually fundamental that when we quote other researchers in our operate, we’ve their original editions in front of us. You’ll be able to perform with later quotations, however they can include errors and then the publication is invalid inside the sense of your international code of your botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo discovered by way of his research was inside a university library in Saint Petersburg, exactly where the German author August Gustav Heinrich von Bongard lived and worked as a botanist till his death in 1839. As a result of he actually wanted to view the book, Trovo produced the two, 200-kilometer journey – and stood in front of closed doors.? That was honestly tragic,? Says Thomas St?tzel, describing the disappointment.? At that time, of all occasions, the library was closed for renovation.?

A lucky 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 from the Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard’s book of all points was amongst the functions to be sold. I could have it for any symbolic price,? Says a delighted St?tzel when he thinks of his fantastic luck.

St?tzel left his acquire towards the Faculty Library of Biology, where Annika Fink took care of it. Lately she was able to have it processed by a specialist firm. “Our budget was only adequate for professional cleaning – a total restoration would have expense two, 000 euros – but we are really happy with all the result, ” mentioned the librarian.

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

Although Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how imperative it can be to have functions like this in a reference library.? A great deal of info that include colour and details on 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, give researchers from varied disciplines precious insights in to the genesis of such books. ”

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink would like to do their greatest so that the old treasure is usually kept in their library for any lengthy time and is offered to scientists.