At the EURASLIC Meeting, Lyon – about hard-to-find books in Marine Biology

A few weeks ago, I attended the 14th Biennial EURASLIC Meeting. EURASLIC is the European Association of Aquatic Sciences Libraries and Information Centres. This year’s meeting on the topic Caught in the “fishing net” of information was hosted by Cemagref, in Lyon, France. The weather was lovely, the food excellent, and it was a joy to spend a few days in the company of extremely knowledgeable librarians from many countries.

Among other things, I talked on the topic of hard-to-find books in Marine Biology (here is the Powerpoint Presentation of my talk). At NHBS, we have great experience in identifying and cataloguing specialist titles published by small publishers, and we know how much effort is involved in the process. In passing the information on to libraries through our Monthly Catalogue, our online catalogue, and topical newsletters, we hope to make these publications known to a much wider audience. Every week, we see new books that are not available to buy from mainstream booksellers.

Some examples of titles that should be on the shelves of every marine biology library in Europe, but are not always known to librarians, include:

Coastal PlanktonCoastal Plankton: Published by German publisher Pfeil who specialise in paleontological publications, but have lately published more books related to marine biology. Their latest title is The Field Guide for Sharks of the Genus Carcharhinus.

 

 

Subterranean Fishes of the World: The only book ever published by the International Society for Subterranean Biology, and not very easy to get hold of.

 

Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes: published by the author, this book is an essential reference for any marine biology library.

 

Subscribe to the NHBS Monthly Catalogue to stay up-to-date on all new publications in the natural sciences as they are published.

The meeting in Lyon was very enjoyable, I hope to be able to come to the next EURASLIC meeting in 2013 in Moscow!

Book Checks

NHBS Book ChecksEvery month, we add more than 300 new book titles to our catalogue (you can find the list every month in our Monthly Catalogue). Publishers often announce their new titles to us months in advance of publication (which can turn into years…), and we find that by the time the books arrive into stock for the first time, some of the information we had initially catalogued about a title has changed.

The differences between the original announcement and the actual published book can range from a higher page number, or more illustrations, to a change in the order in which the authors are presented, or an amendment to the title or subtitle. Quite often the cover illustration undergoes several transformations. In very rare cases, the book will even have changed publishers. Even so, the earlier we hear about a book the better we like it, even if the finished product will look somewhat different.

In order to keep the information in our catalogue as accurate as it can be, we give each and every book that we have never seen before a thorough bibliographic check – in fact the cataloguing data for nearly every single book needs to be added to or amended. In the office, the new books are always referred to as the “book checks”, and this stack of each day’s book checks is the most popular place in the NHBS warehouse.

At the same time as verifying the bibliographic data, we evaluate the book and decide whether it’s a good fit for featuring on the NHBS homepage, or as a book of the week, and we make sure that the descriptive text reflects the contents of the book accurately.

This method of rigorous checking and evaluating ensures that no book is ever included in our emails, or in a flyer or advert, unless we are comfortable recommending it.

For me, book checking is also one of the most fun jobs ever – books arrive from all over the world, and they have that exciting “new” smell and feel to them. Every now and then there is a true gem amongst them, a book on an unusual subject, or one with truly outstanding illustrations, that turns out to be much more important than the initial cataloguing suggested.

Just last week, the book checks contained some very good titles. Highlights include:

The Crossley ID GuideThe Crossley ID Guide: Eastern Birds – eagerly anticipated by us. We have a pre-publication offer on it until the end of April. My first reaction to seeing this book was that it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be! I checked out the Steller’s Jay page, as I remember these birds so well from seeing them on the West Coast of Canada, and the illustrations, as promised, are startlingly different from the usual photographic field guide, and seem to make identification very easy. This one is definitely going on the NHBS home page!

A Dipterist's HandbookThe new edition of A Diperist’s Handbook should prove to be popular, as well, it is part of a series of similar handbooks published by the Amateur Entomologists’ Society, and the book production value is outstanding. A very useful addition to any entomologist’s library, and I can’t recall seeing any similar books on the same subject recently.

Loire Valley - Loire, Brenne and SologneA new Crossbill Guide: Loire Valley – Loire, Brenne and Sologne. This series of nature travel guides is one of my favourites and we always look forward to seeing a new one published. Browse all the Crossbill wildlife travel guides.

Human Planet - The Complete Series Blu-rayThe Human Planet Blu-Ray arrived today, and before we could even book it into stock, several people in the office declared their intention of buying a copy for their own use. (This is a recent BBC series, which examines how humans in extreme enviroments adapt to living with nature). The book accompanying the series came into stock last week.

A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore: A well-illustrated photographic guide, published by a specialist natural history publisher in Singapore.

NHBS Monthly Catalogue – January 2009

The NHBS Monthly Catalogue is the most comprehensive buyer’s guide to new and forthcoming titles in natural history, conservation and the environment. Each month we produce a new online and .pdf catalogue of books that were added to www.nhbs.com during the last month.

The NHBS Monthly Catalogue is a key tool for library and academic customers; however everyone is welcome to browse or subscribe to the catalogue. We include books up to 6 months before their publication date.

View the Monthly Catalogue as a web page, or save/print it as a .pdf document. You can also browse past monthly catalogues here

If you would like to subscribe to the Monthly Catalogue and receive new catalogues automatically, email subscribe@nhbs.co.uk with “subscribe mc” in the subject line.

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