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 takes the book off the shelf in the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous as it appears with its straightforward brown cover, it is a real treasure phd exam for botanists and librarians, because it is usually a uncommon and precious 1st edition from 1831.

Neither side might possibly crease, nor could possibly the paper tear. A certain instinct is expected.? The book is for that reason not open to the public,? Explains Fink. As an alternative, 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 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, contains rather detailed steel engravings of a loved ones of plants that are woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is named.

The search began in 2008.

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

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

The oldest edition that Trovo identified through his analysis 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. Since he really wanted to view the book, Trovo produced the 2,200-kilometer journey – and stood in front of closed doors.? That was actually 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 complete differently for his perform. But years later, in 2012, the story took an unexpected turn:? A former employee referred to as me. He just dissolved the library in the Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard’s book of all factors was among the performs to be sold. I could have it to get a symbolic value,? Says a pleased St?tzel when he thinks of his outstanding luck.

St?tzel left his discover for the Faculty Library of Biology, where Annika Fink took care of it. Not too long ago she was capable to have it processed by a specialist firm. “Our price range was only adequate for skilled cleaning – a comprehensive restoration would have cost 2,000 euros – but we are particularly happy with all the result, ” stated the librarian.

A lot of data is lost by way of scanning.

Though Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how essential it’s to have performs like this within a reference library.? A lot of data such as color and specifics on the drawings are lost when they are scanned,? He explains. And Annika Fink adds: “The paper itself and any handwritten notes from previous owners, if any, present researchers from numerous disciplines important insights into the genesis of such books. ”

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink would like to do their top so that the old treasure is often kept in their library to get a lengthy time and is accessible to scientists.

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