In 198485, Reference Services Review published a series of review articles on field guides for wildflowers Potts, birds Klaas, trees Kinch, and insects Chiang. A glance at Books in Print indicates the number of new field guides appearing since that time. Rather than evaluate a new crop of highly focused field guides, the present essay examines a related kind of nature guide, the naturestudy manual. For the purposes of this essay, the naturestudy manual is defined as a guide that encourages investigation of the natural world, rather than offering facts and identifications. To be a naturestudy manual, a book must offer tools and techniques for identification often through field guides, observation, recordkeeping, and often collection of specimens and experimentation. Books of narrative natural history and essays on a particular observer's experiences are thus excluded. The naturestudy manual's unique role is to instruct readers in how to observe and study nature for themselves, whether close to home or in farflung regions.
Reference Services Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 1989