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 handful of years later, luck helped.

Annika Fink very carefully takes the book off the shelf inside the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous as it looks with its effortless brown cover, it can be a genuine treasure for botanists and librarians, since it can be a uncommon and valuable initially district court preliminary exam edition from 1831.

Neither side may perhaps crease, nor may perhaps the paper tear. A sure instinct is necessary.? The book is for this reason not open towards the public,? Explains Fink. Instead, the librarian keeps it within 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 both inside and outside, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d’Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, in addition to initial written descriptions, consists of rather detailed steel engravings of a loved ones of plants which might be woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is named.

The search began in 2008.

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

There have been a handful of copies with the function in Germany, however they have been not comprehensive, and additionally, current reprints.? For us scientists, however, it is necessary that when we quote other researchers in our perform, we’ve got their original editions in front of us. You possibly can function with later quotations, but they can contain errors then the publication is invalid in the sense with the international code in the botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo discovered 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 actually wanted to find out the book, Trovo made the 2,200-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 accomplish differently for his perform. 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 among the performs to become sold. I could have it for a symbolic price tag,? Says a satisfied St?tzel when he thinks of his excellent luck.

St?tzel left his identify towards the Faculty Library of Biology, where Annika Fink took care of it. Lately she was capable to possess it processed by a specialist corporation. “Our spending budget was only sufficient for specialist cleaning – a comprehensive restoration would have expense 2,000 euros – but we are very satisfied together with the outcome, ” mentioned the librarian.

Plenty of info is lost through scanning.

Though Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how very important it can be to have works like this inside a reference library.? A large amount of knowledge similar to colour 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 prior owners, if any, offer researchers from varied disciplines valuable insights into the genesis of such books. ”

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink would like to do their most effective to ensure that the old treasure is often kept in their library for any long time and is offered to scientists.