The look 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 carefully takes the book off the shelf in the specialist library for biology. As inconspicuous because it appears with its uncomplicated brown cover, it is actually a real treasure for botanists and librarians, because it can be a rare and precious very first edition from 1831.

Neither side might crease, nor may possibly the paper tear. A confident instinct is necessary.? The book is consequently not open for 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 capstone nursing course book for reading on request.

The book, which bears indicators of the instances both inside and outdoors, is entitled? Essai monographique sur les esp?ces d’Eriocaulon du Br?sil? And, furthermore to initial written descriptions, consists of really detailed steel engravings of a loved ones of plants which can be woolly stem plants – in Latin: Eriocaulaceae – is named.

The search started in 2008.

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

There have been a handful of copies of your operate in Germany, but they have been not comprehensive, and furthermore, current reprints.? For us scientists, in spite of this, it is actually imperative that when we quote other researchers in our operate, we’ve got their original editions in front of us. You could perform with later quotations, however they can contain errors and after that the publication is invalid within the sense on the international code of the botanical nomenclature?, so St?tzel.

The oldest edition that Trovo identified through his investigation was in 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. Considering he seriously wanted to view the book, Trovo made the two, 200-kilometer journey – and stood in front of closed doors.? That was certainly 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 operate. But years later, in 2012, the story took an unexpected turn:? A former employee known as me. He just dissolved the library of your Botanical Association in Bonn. And Bongard’s book of all things was among the functions to become sold. I could have it for any symbolic value,? Says a satisfied St?tzel when he thinks of his outstanding luck.

St?tzel left his uncover towards the Faculty Library of Biology, exactly where Annika Fink took care of it. Recently she was able to possess it processed by a specialist organization. “Our price range was only sufficient for specialist cleaning – a comprehensive restoration would have price 2,000 euros – but we’re particularly satisfied with the result, ” stated the librarian.

Many details is lost through scanning.

Despite the fact that Thomas St?tzel has now digitized the book, he emphasizes how necessary it really is to have functions like this within a reference library.? A large amount of information which includes colour and specifics around the drawings are lost when they are scanned,? He explains. And Annika Fink adds: “The paper itself and any handwritten notes from preceding owners, if any, present researchers from varied disciplines valuable insights into the genesis of such books. ”

In any case, Thomas St?tzel and Annika Fink choose to do their finest in order that the old treasure might be kept in their library for a long time and is accessible to scientists.

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