The Importance of Peripheral Publications in the Documentation of Biology
Adequate indexing of a field of science must be determined by the peculiar and individual needs of its workers. Publications which professional indexers and abstractors consider to fall outside that field often contain essential information which cannot be disregarded. Biology serves as an outstanding example of a science in which there is a necessity not only for indexing books and periodicals covering various aspects completely within this area of knowledge, but also for the thorough examination and indexing in great depth of publications in related or borderline fields, in order that the subject matter may be adequately and thoroughly covered.
There are at the present time a number of indices, in addition to the one used as an example in this paper, which attempt a broad coverage of scientific literature in order to supply specialized kinds of information to scientists working in their respective subject-matter fields. A few of these indices are the Gray Herbarium Card Index at Harvard; the Index Kewensis Plantarum Phanerogamarum of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England; the Zoological Record and Neave’s Nomenclator Zoologicus of the Zoological Society of London; Schulze’s Nomenclator Animalium Generum et Sub-generum, published by the former Prussian Academy of Science; and the Fungus Catalogue of the Crops Protection Research Branch, and the Index maintained by the Entomology Research Division, both of the Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
It is the purpose of this paper to illustrate the importance of including borderline fields in biological indexing, by demonstrating the importance of these fields for indexing the literature pertaining to a specialized branch of biology, namely, medical and veterinary zoology.
MILDRED A.DOSS Animal Parasite Laboratory, Animal Disease and Parasite Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland.
Medical and veterinary zoology, a major area of biology, roughly corresponds to the field of animal parasitology, but its ramifications extend into related areas, such as plant and free-living nematology and vectors of diseases transmissible to man and other species of animals. The zoological groups include parasitic Protozoa, Trematoda, Cestoda, Nematoda, Acanthocephala, parasitic Arthropoda, and minor groups, together with their invertebrate and vertebrate hosts.
The problem of indexing in medical and veterinary zoology has at least been partially solved, from both the basic and applied standpoint, by the utilization of a highly complex and unique, yet practical, indexing scheme for the storage and retrieval of information in this specialty. The complete Index is divided into five sections: an Author Catalogue, a Parasite or Subject Catalogue, a Host Index, a Checklist of Specific and Sub-specific Names, and an Anthelmintic Catalogue. These catalogues are housed and maintained in the Animal Parasite Laboratory, Animal Disease and Parasite Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland.
During the 65 years the Index-Catalogue has been in existence, a period which begins with the first recognition of medical and veterinary zoology as a separate branch of biology, approximately 22,000 titles have been listed in our Key to Serial Abbreviations. The average increase in the number of publications indexed has been about 500 annually since 1950.
An examination of these publications revealed that 350, or less than 2 percent, are standard journals on parasitology, helminthology, protozoology, or veterinary medicine, whereas more than 98 percent represent publications in peripheral fields.
Among the peripheral fields are anthropology, bacteriology, botany, chemistry, engineering, evolution, fisheries, forestry, heredity, hunting, malacology, mining, nursing, nutrition, oceanography, radiology, refrigeration, sanitation, sewage, speleology, viniculture, and virology. Publications listed under these subject headings have at one time or another included facts or phenomena of parasitological importance, which indicates the great breadth of biological interests of scientists in these fields as well as the vast scope of the field of parasitology itself.
Parasitological information is also found in many types of publications such as reports and publications of livestock sanitary boards, quarantine services, departments of fish and game, reindeer industry, marine laboratories, pearl oyster fisheries, zoological parks, conservation agencies, tea research institutes, scientific academies and institutes, chambers of commerce, and expeditions; diplomatic and consular reports; reports on the Arctic and the Antarctic; com-
pendia; symposia; monographs; and Festschrifts. All these publications have contributed items of scientific importance in this field of biology.
Parasitologists and workers in the biological sciences in general must have, in addition to the usual material given in standard bibliographies and indices, certain other detailed information which should be made available for ready reference. This information which often lies buried deep within the body of a paper is a necessity for all who use the Linnean system of nomenclature, who are concerned with the International Rules of Zoological Nomenclature, the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature, and the International Bacteriological Code of Nomenclature, and who are interested in the identification, transmission, and eradication of disease organisms or in developing new and improved varieties of plants and animals. Some of these items of information are:
Original descriptions of all new orders, families, genera, and species of plants and animals. With the growing interest of the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature in higher categories, the recording of the original names should be expanded to include all major taxa.
Changes in nomenclature. These are constantly being made in the form of emendations and new combinations of specific names. As biologists obtain more knowledge concerning their specialties, current classifications change and records of these changes must be made. These regroupings and changes are part of the growing pains of science which must be recorded.
The exact date of issue of a publication. The date of issue must be ascertained as it often differs from the publisher’s imprint date or date given on the cover of a periodical. If the printer’s imprint of a Russian publication states that it was “authorized for publication December 30, 1953,” it is apparent that it could not have been issued in that year and a later date must be supplied even though the publisher’s imprint date is 1953. Volume 6(1–2) of the Indian Journal of Helminthology bears the imprint date 1954, but the date of issue is given as March 28, 1956. All new species described therein must, therefore, be dated 1956. Many publishers have excellent records concerning dates of issue of books and periodicals, and it is often found necessary to write to them for this information.
Designation of type genera and species. This information must be given in any taxonomic paper in order to validate a name according to the Rules of Nomenclature. The question as to whether a species is a monotype, a type by original designation, or a type by subsequent designation must often be answered. Some branches of biology require records of type hosts and type localities.
Synonymy as given by the author of a paper. This information is important, especially if additional synonymy is recorded.
A record of the specific names which have been used within a given genus. This information is required when an author is naming a new species; otherwise he faces the possibility of creating a homonym.
The hosts from which a parasitic organism has been reported. These hosts may be experimental, intermediate, final, or merely mechanical vectors, and it is essential to know which group is involved.
Location on or within the host. This factor may be essential in determining the identity of the parasite, its pathogenicity, or measures for its control.
The locality in which a plant or animal is found. This information is of great importance in determining geographical distribution.
Certain essential morphological characteristics. These are considered necessary by entomologists for proper identification of insects.
The drugs or methods reported to have been used in controlling harmful animals and plants. This information is important in controlling pests.
Collateral information on the biology, physiology, and ecology of organisms and on the pathology of diseases caused by them. This information is of increasing importance to biologists.
Now that the scope and kind of information required in compiling a comprehensive index in the field of medical and veterinary zoology has been described, I should like to give a few examples of such material which have been obtained from “peripheral publications.”
An article entitled “Gigantorhynchidae brasileiros,” by Lauro Travassos, Brazil’s foremost parasitologist, was the object of years of search until in 1952 it was located in Annaes do Primeiro Congresso Medico Paulista realisado em São Paulo de 3 a 10 de Dezembro de 1916, with an imprint date of 1917. Here we have an example of a systematic paper containing new genera and species of Acanthocephala appearing in the proceedings of a medical congress. In this same publication was found another important paper of which there was no previous record. This paper by Cassio Miranda recorded the presence of a nematode in the liver of a fish.
Not only must papers appearing in full in reports of congresses receive special attention, but abstracts of proceedings must also be carefully examined and indexed. The proceedings of the Indian Science Congresses have proved especially troublesome from a nomenclatorial standpoint, because of the policy of reporting new genera and species in abstract form with adequate description to give them validity. In 1954 there appeared in the Proceedings of the Fortieth Indian Science Congress, held in Lucknow in 1953, a series of five papers by J. Dayal and S.P.Gupta describing new genera and species of trematodes with
sufficient description to render them valid according to the Rules of Zoological Nomenclature. Most of these genera and species appeared with full descriptions in volume 5(1) of the Indian Journal of Helminthology, March, 1953, pp. 1–80, under the authorship of S.P.Gupta. However, since the latter publication was not issued until January 15, 1955, the descriptions appearing in abstract form have priority.
The original description of the human cestode Raillietina cubensis was thought to have appeared in the abstract of a paper by Pedro Kouri in the Third International Congress for Microbiology, New York, Sept. 2–9, 1939, p. 176. Later, however, during a cursory examination of Gradwohl’s Clinical Laboratory Methods and Diagnosis, 2d edition, 1938, pp. 1380–1385, an earlier description was discovered on which the name is now based.
The Russian publication Soiuzpushnina would ordinarily be classed with trade or farm journals. In 1931 there appeared in the November 1 issue of this publication, pp. 45–46, the description of a new parasite of the fox and raccoon (Physaloptera sibirica nov. sp.). The senior author, A.M.Petrov, is Russia’s outstanding authority on parasites of wildlife, and his articles ordinarily appear in what would be classed as scientific and technical publications.
Names of societies are often misleading, but if an arbitrary scheme of indexing were set up it is doubtful if the Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society would be assigned to parasitology. Yet in volume 4 (4), December, 1945, pp. 251–258, of these proceedings there appeared an article by L.Lloyd on “The Demonstration of Nuclear Division in Nematoda.”
Local history would likewise be considered out of the field of medical and veterinary zoology, but in Glamorgan County History, volume 1, 1936, pp. 401–412, there appeared an article by H.W.Thompson entitled “Species of Lymnaeidae Affected by Parasitic Trematodes in Glamorgan.”
Institutes for medical research ordinarily confine themselves to investigations in the realm of human medicine, but occasionally they are the source of unexpected items such as the discovery of the intermediate host of Taenia regis, a cestode of the cat family genera Felis or Leo. In the Report of the South African Institute of Medical Research for 1956, p. 58, we find that the intermediate host of this parasite has now been determined to be Oryx gazella.
In 1947 the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature became concerned for the second time with the relative status of the names of the genus of trematode worms responsible for the world’s number one human tropical disease, schistosomiasis. In 1922 under Opinion 77 of the Official List of Generic Names in Zoology, Schistosoma Weinland, 1858, had been established as the accepted name of this genus. At the time this case was first considered, the Commission was unaware of the existence of the name Billharzia [sic], which
had been published in 1856 by Meckel von Hemsbach in a book entitled Mikrogeologie and based its ruling on the use of the name Schistosoma by Weinland in 1858. The final ruling of the Commission (1947) established the name Schistosoma by use of its plenary powers while at the same time admitting the priority of Bilharzia but suppressing it. This difficulty could have been avoided if someone had taken the trouble to examine and index Meckel von Hemsbach’s Mikrogeologie. The book was not unknown when Opinion 77 was rendered since the author citation had been published in 1907 in the Author Section of the Index-Catalogue of Medical and Veterinary Zoology.
Since more than 98 percent of the information available in the literature in this field of biology would be overlooked if “peripheral publications,” as defined in this paper, were not thoroughly searched for information pertaining to medical and veterinary zoology, it is concluded that adequate indexing in this field requires the well-organized and thorough searching of all scientific literature having the remotest connection with the principal sciences included in it. Without such coverage the adequate provision of the detailed information required by the scientists working in this area of biology would be impossible. Furthermore, the indexing system described illustrates that any indexing schemes used in the various biological disciplines must be designed by and for the scientists working in these disciplines in accordance with their own peculiar requirements and must not be set up for the convenience of the indexers themselves.