Creating Biology of the Reptilia Online

Cover of the first volume of Biology of the Reptilia

Cover of the first volume of Biology of the Reptilia

When Carl Gans created the Gans Collections and Charitable Fund, his primary goal was to ensure that both the specimens that he had collected over his lifetime, as well as the books, manuscripts, and rare documents that formed his personal library were made available to researchers and the public.

The early actions of the Fund included placement of his library of some 20,000 titles and correspondence at Ben Gurion University in Israel, with an emphasis that this library be publicly available for use by researchers and students. It is housed at the Jane Schapiro Library of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research (Sede Boqer Campus).

Carl Gans’s specimen collections are deposited primarily in the Field Museum of Natural History, California Academy of Sciences, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard.

While Carl Gans authored over 600 publications, one of his most important works was the 22 volume Biology of the Reptilia, of which the final volume was completed after his death. The Fund therefore set out to make this work available at no charge to the widest possible audience.

This was no easy task as the 22 volumes were published by multiple publishers over a forty year period. How did we do it?

  • First, the Fund needed to acquire permission from each publisher to make the series available online.
  • Then, the Fund had to acquire all of the volumes in digital form where available, or put them into digital form as needed.
  • And finally, the Fund needed to organize the digital assets and find a way to present them via the Internet.

We are happy to announce that this project is well underway. Currently all of the volumes have been digitized and selected portions have already been published on the web, including the full Table of Contents of all volumes and the complete index (400 page) of all volumes.

Until all of the full content of all volumes are available online, researchers needing specific materials should contact the Fund and we will be happy to provide specific pages of specific volumes that you need.

 

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