An International Zoological Record

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ON this subject Mr. Minchin (NATURE, August 18, p. 367) writes as a Recorder, and he writes feelingly. Those who use Records can write with feeling too. The absurd waste of labour involved, even in the production of a single Record, by the present system is hardly to be excused by the consideration that the labour is voluntary. I say “voluntary” advisedly, for some three or four pounds is no pay for a month's hard work. And yet, for all this toil, the result, when, after a year or so of delay, we are presented with it, is notoriously unsatisfactory. It is indeed impossible for a single individual—often very far from acquainted with the subject he is recording—to work through all the scientific literature of the whole world for the preceding year, in search of some scattered references. Actually impossible, for the literature of one year never comes completely to hand before the end of the next, and perhaps not then; and this the Recorders seem to know, for many of them postpone their work till the autumn, though it should have already been published in the spring. The acceptance of Mr. Minchin's admirable suggestions would do away with the ridiculous decimiplication of labour, but it would neither make the Record complete nor hasten its publication. The public are probably more anxious for the latter results than they are for the relief of the Recorders.

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BATHER, F. An International Zoological Record. Nature 46, 416–417 (1892) doi:10.1038/046416c0

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