15 April 2019

Ellis & Messina

When you do taxonomy work, it helps to have some reference material to fall back on. At the Norwegian Polar Institute, where I started doing work like that, I had some books. And as there are tens of thousands of species, sometimes these books weren't enough; but then there was Tromsø University, and that had a subscription to an online catalogue: Ellis & Messina. That has all the original descriptions. And some are illustrated while others are not, and some are in English while others are not, but it has more forams than you can shake a stick at. That was very useful!

When I worked in Plymouth, the technology was a bit less advanced. We had books, and if we needed more we could go to the geologists; one of the professors there had the paper version of Ellis end Messina. That was an entire book cupboard full of volumes, and not a puny one like mine, but a proper, wall-wide one. Big!

In Menai Bridge we had books and a reference collection (a collection of actual forams) until James left. And then things become a bit improvised! And then, luckily, we found a new collaboration with a commercial company down the road that does a lot of micropalaeontology. They have all the kit!

And then an email came in. That company had the Ellis & Messina catalogue. But they were going to get the online subscription! So they didn't need the paper version anymore. They didn't want to bin it; were we, as Bangor University, interested? Sure we are!

I thought a bit about it and figured I am probably the only one in the university doing these things., We don't have a geology department; at geography they don't do forams. So I presume the library wouldn't be too keen to spend so much space on something so esoteric. So it will have to be me!

I now have the task to clear out all my shelving, and clear out other furniture, and get more shelving, and then, in the end, hopefully I can fit the whole thing in my office. I am excited! I am ready again for some foram science! And yes it takes up all the space I have (and then some) but blimey, I have Ellis & Messina!

The picture the company sent me of their catalogue

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