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Small is Beautiful June 6, 2009

Posted by Andre Vellino in Book Review.

AudubonYesterday was a triple birthday celebration at Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI). It began as the NRC Library 85 years ago and became CISTI and Canada’s National Science Library 35 years ago.

Yesterday was also the 80th birthday for the NRC Research Press which marked the day by unveiling a truely spectacular monograph of annotated plant and bird portraits by John Audubon taken from the Canadian Library of Parliament‘s copy of Birds of America.

Audubon: Beyond Birds

A note in an appendix values the Canadian copy of Birds of America at $15M dollars! At $49.95 this new NRC Press book is a steal.

One of the authors is Ernie Small, who was at the birthday celebration to autograph copies of his book. Ernie is a Principal Scientist at NRC and his scholarly erudition about plants is phenomenal. His 1000+ page monograph on Culinary Herbs is hardly what you would call a “popular classic” but it is definitely a classsic to anyone who knows and cares about herbs. Meeting people like that really makes being a research scientist at NRC mean something to me.

Ernie told me that, of the 22 books he has authored, the Audubon book is the one he is the most proud of.  It is a tragedy of the privatization of NRC Press that it will no longer have a monographs program for the publication of such superlative books.


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