Monday, February 04, 2008

Field guide resource

The University of Illinois has alerted us to a useful website. Diane Schmidt, the biology librarian at the University of Illinois Library, has built and launched the International Field Guides Web Site, which merges Schmidt's own book, A Guide to Field Guides: Identifying the Natural History of North America (Libraries Unlimited, 1999), and its companion Web site, International Field Guides, plus 2,000 new titles.

The new and enlarged database has a "book bag" feature that allows users to download information from items they select, which includes the title, author, date and place of publication, a description of the book, often the ISBN number and approximate cost, plus the region the book focuses on. The site offers more than 5,000 records to date.

The field guides are classified by type of organism and region covered. Eighteen categories are represented inlcuding animals, edible plants, weather and astronomy. Each field guide is described with the type of illustrations, the presence of keys - important for identifying difficult groups--, range maps and other useful details that help users decide which field guide to use. A recent search for "Africa" returned 441 records.

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