SPEAKER 1: This is a production of Cornell University Library.
MICHAEL COOK: All right folks we're going to go ahead and kick things off. Thank you all for coming out today to Nature Abhors a Paywall. My name is Michael Cook. I'm the head of collections here at Mann Library. And we-- we meaning Mann Library and Cornell University-- joined the Biodiversity Heritage Library eight years ago in 2011, still going strong. And this is the first time that we've had the annual meeting for this worldwide consortium here in Ithaca.
We made-- the Biodiversity Heritage Library, for those of you who may not be familiar with it, is a global consortium of about, I believe, 22 member institutions and many affiliate institutions--
MICHAEL COOK: 44 in total. And they range from herbariums, botanical gardens, museums, libraries. I'm sure I'm leaving some out. And we have representatives from all over the world from as far away as Australia, Egypt, and China, and all points in between. So this session is meant to become a public session out of a week of what are basically our group's business meetings. And it's meant to highlight some of the work that Cornell faculty and doctorates do using the historical record in their own research.
Most of what you would find in the Biodiversity Heritage Library is historical materials. We're committed to making these materials available for free, unhindered access worldwide, including a lot of in copyright material that we have sought permission for from publishers. And so each of our speakers today were approached because we knew that they had done-- a lot of their core work is done using historical materials such as you may find in the Biodiversity Heritage Library's collection.
And I believe-- let's see-- I believe Mary Ochs is going to introduce each of our speakers, and they are in order. Karen Penders St. Clair, who's going to be talking about her research on Anna Botsford Comstock in, I believe, a forthcoming book--
KAREN PENDERS ST. CLAIR: Yes.
MICHAEL COOK: --on the Comstocks of Cornell. Then Kathie Hodge, a dear friend of ours, an expert mycologist who teaches what I think is probably the most popular class in the history of Cornell University.
It's the magical-- what's the full title?
KATHIE HODGE: The Magical Mushrooms.
MICHAEL COOK: Yes.
Wildly popular class. So we look forward to her mycological explorations. And last, but not least, fellow beekeeper and good friend Tom Seeley, who's going to be talking about bees and bee behavior. So with that said, I'd to introduce Mann Library's director, Mary Ochs.
MARY OCHS: Well, I'd like to just offer my own welcome to all of the BHL folks who are here and all of the Cornell community and Ithaca community who turned out for our panel today. It's my pleasure to give you a little bit more biographical information about each of our speakers. So I'll do that quickly, and then we can get on to their interesting presentations.
So Dr. Karen Penders St. Clair received her doctorate from the School of Integrative Plant Science, Horticulture Section, here at Cornell in 2017. She spent five years researching the archival papers of several notable Cornellians for her dissertation, which was titled Finding Anna: The Archival Search for Anna Botsford Comstock. Her close work with the original manuscript of the Comstocks of Cornell, which was written by Anna Botsford Comstock and published 23 years after her death, included the re-keying of the entire surviving document of 718 pages. That's amazing.
Dr. St. Clair's edition of the Comstocks of Cornell will be published by Cornell University Press in 2020. And this 21st century edition documenting the personal and professional lives of these two historical Cornellians and their collateral influences offers a really important chapter in the science facets of nature study education and endomological history here at Cornell.
Dr. St. Clair recovered previously unpublished material culled from the original manuscript, restoring Anna Comstock's voice and making the new Comstock autobiography really a first and second generation document. So really interesting work there.
Next, I'll introduce Dr. Kathie Hodge. As you heard, Kathie is a mycologist with a focus on the classification, evolution, and characterization of fungi, which is a kingdom of the natural world in which only about 5% of the species have been formally described. Her focus is in fungal biodiversity, especially of species that are pathogens of insects and molds that spoil foods.
Dr. Hodge uses molecular and morphological approaches to discover their relationships, devise classification systems, and understand factors that have driven their evolution. She directs the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium, which is a world-class collection that documents the biodiversity of fungi and plant disease organisms. As Michael mentioned, she's the professor for Magical Mushrooms and Mischievous Molds and has been recognized as one of CAL's innovative teachers.
The course that she teaches is, right as we speak, offering their annual poster session upstairs, where the class displays posters that have been created as a special project. So if you get a chance, be sure to go up to the second floor you can see some of that work up there.
So among the claims to fame, this course is listed in the Cornell Sun, the Cornell newspaper, famed 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do list, and the course provides students from all majors an opportunity for hands-on experience in field-level study of the natural world with fungi as the lens.
And last, but not least, let me introduce Dr. Tom Seeley. Tom Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology here at Cornell University. His life's work has been devoted to the close study of the behavior and social life of honeybees, focusing specifically on the phenomenon of swarm intelligence, the solving of cognitive problems by a group of individuals pooling and processing their knowledge through social interactions.
Dr. Seeley has published a number of widely acclaimed books, including The Wisdom of the Hive in 1995, Honeybee Democracy in 2010, Following the Wild Bees in 2016, and most recently, The Lives of Bees, which will be coming out later this month. Tom has received repeated recognition and numerous awards for his research and publications, including the Gold Medal Book award from Apimondia for The Wisdom of the Hive. And his inspirational teaching about animal behavior has been much lauded by his Cornell students, graduate and undergraduate alike.
But these many great distinctions notwithstanding, Dr. Seeley has, himself, observed that his most enduring honor may be to have had a species of bee named after him. And this was really testing my pronunciation, so you can tell me if I got it wrong. The Neocorynurella Seeleyi was a bee named after him, which was found in the highlands of Colombia and Venezuela in the late 1990s. Did I get it right? Oh, good.
So each of our speakers has between 15 and 20 minutes to tell us about their work and how they've used the kinds of historical resources we have in BHL, and then we'll take questions at the end for the panelists. So I dribble hand off to Karen to get us started.
KAREN PENDERS ST. CLAIR: OK. Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for coming out and for inviting me to be a part of your group. I'm going to be giving you a talk about my journey for the research for my dissertation about with Anna Comstock. And I'm going to be keeping a note here of the historical record played in my research. And the reason is-- and you will see. I will try not to go down a rabbit hole. There are so many different facets to my research that I have to make sure I keep in mind which facet I'm talking about today. Because each picture, I bet you, I could tell you a minimum of five things about, truly.
OK. Now let me see. What's this? Here we go. If you're unfamiliar with the Comstock, just very briefly, the Comstocks were a prominent couple in the late 19th and early 20th century here at Cornell. And very briefly, there these are just some different areas around Cornell where the com stocks are featured. That's it.
I'm sorry. [LAUGHS] So anyway, what Anna is known for is-- what her legacy is is this book right here. And this is her Handbook of Nature Study, and she started her writing legacy with the Boys and Girls magazine and writing with the Cornell nature leaflets with Liberty [INAUDIBLE] Bailey and others, which I'll talk about later. And then, of course she took the culmination of all that work and she created her Handbook of Nature Study that is still in print today.
OK. For my dissertation, when I was first trying to kind of figure out what was going on and what fueled my research in the archives is-- this is my abstract, and this is basically what I came up with through the process of back and forth to between the archives. And when I say the archives, I mean the rare and manuscript collection at Kroch library here on Cornell campus. And I say it very flippantly, as if I say, I'm going to the kitchen because it really became a second home to me, and I feel it is my home. I just love it there.
So going back and forth to the archives, I eventually kind of pulled, and tease, then and pulled out my abstract, which was difficult because it was more of to tell my committee it was more of a feeling or an emotion, rather than to say that this is something that's concrete, like a salt channel in a petunia. I could not-- it was very difficult for me to put into words, and then I found the manuscript, and then I realized that Comstock's genuine voice was missing.
So the recurrent themes that are in the Comstocks of Cornell-- and this is the book right here. This is the 1953 edition of the Comstocks of Cornell. And you may or may not be able to see all my notes and papers that are in there, and I've stretched the binding. But basically, the reoccurring themes that are within this book are basically the highlights of Comstocks' professional life, especially of her husband, John, and of some dominant Cornell personalities.
What I found in my research in the archives that was omitted was approximately 320 pages of the manuscript, other Cornell personalities, everyday life tasks, personal opinions, religious references, and other educators in the Cornell study movement. And chapter 14 that is in this book does not exist in the manuscript. I found evidence-- and I feel very strongly about it-- that it was, indeed, burned because of the main editor's entries into his diary, the only two times in his life that he wrote burned papers or burning papers. So I feel very strongly that that's what he did.
So this is part of what my research uncovered through the archives. And these people-- in fact, Alice is so erased from history that the only picture that I could find of her currently-- and believe me I'm still looking-- is of her tombstone. The others, Mary Rogers Miller, Julia Allen Rogers, sisters and they were close friends of the Comstocks. And then there is John Walton Spencer, who was known as Uncle John, and he was a pioneer in early nature study education.
And the history of nature study by these founding members-- not necessarily Anna Comstock, but by these founding members-- it was all but erased. Anna Comstock came along when they were already in full swing with what they were doing in nature study education, and she came along and kind of helped the group with what they were doing. And then when people died or moved away, that's when she took over and said, OK, I'm going to put all of this together. And she put it together in this book. And then she became known for this, but she did it on the shoulders of other people too.
All right. These are the handlers of the Comstock manuscript. The manuscript, the primary editor is Glenn Herrick, and he was a professor of entomology. Then secondary, there was Ruby Green Smith. She did the least amount of damage to the manuscript. And then thirdly mentioned, in the introduction only, was Francis [INAUDIBLE]. About 20, 25 years before the publishing of this book, Simon Gage George Burr, and Woodford Patterson handled the manuscript.
Now, this is just-- I'm not going to read through this. This is just meant to be as a visual to look at the timeline of different things that were occurring as I was putting together this story. When you're doing archival research, you have to-- and I'm probably preaching to the choir, but there's something that's called original order. And what I had to establish was the original order in the life of Anna Comstock not only through what whatever documentation survived or didn't survive in her papers, but then going out collaterally to find the information from others who knew her or were acquainted with her to help build that original order.
Visually, this is-- that list I just showed you, this is visually what it looks like, what I was kind of having to go through. I had to-- here's Herrick, and Herrick wrote a letter to Gage. And then Burr wrote a letter to Herrick and to Gage, and then Gage went to Patterson. And so what this represents is-- well, this is very cute, and it's like, well, what are you doing? Well, this means I looked in all four gentlemens' papers.
I found something with Herrick, and then I went inside. Then I found something in Gage or had to go back to Herrick. There's a lot of back and forth information with archival research that people don't realize that you're doing. The Woodford Patterson letter, when I was looking through his papers, is pivotal to not only proving my abstract, but it was also pivotal to Anna Comstock's story.
I found-- and this is one of the reasons that makes archival research so important, is because it's just the story-- I'm trying to think of the word. Like I was saying, the original order, it's what you can find, and then it's what's missing. So what was missing in this book is the emotion and the voice of Anna. And I thought to myself, well, where did this voice go?
This letter explains that absence of original order. This letter was a letter that was written to Woodford Patterson when they were all interested in publishing the manuscript. Gage said, OK, but let's send it to Patterson and see what he has to say. Patterson sent back a letter to Gage and was like, are you kidding? This style of book is repulsive. These are direct quotes underneath each of the pages is a direct quote from that page.
They called this style of book repulsive, diffuse, disorder. And this was something. And one of those moments, when you're doing archival research, that I had a physical reaction. I literally walked, as I could, out of the reading room, and I went down on my knees. And I was like, oh my gosh, I found it. It was incredible. And researching in the archives really gives you that thrill.
Gage's notes-- this other piece I want to show you, is also for missing documentation and from what is there what is not there. I found this, then, in the Gage papers, where Gage typed out a little addendum list for a meeting that he was going to have for Herrick, where he did a complete about-face about publishing this book, and then these were his points that he was using to try to sway Herrick that, no, we're not going to print this after all.
This is what I was looking at in the manuscript. This is page one of the manuscript, and then this is what I want you to take a look here. These are the edits. This is incorrect. This one should be Patterson. This is edits from Anna Comstock's life-- the chapter on her life. This is edits from the chapter on John Henry Comstock's life. What Herrick--
Yeah. What Herrick wanted to do was to preserve the legacy of John Comstock in this book, and he did so at the expense of Anna Comstock. So when you read this book, what you're reading is actually the voice of Herrick and not the voice of Anna. But just to give you a little bit of a close-up, again, throughout the manuscript, this is what I was looking at-- anything that Anna said or gave her opinion on that they thought maybe was contentious, or they thought was boring, or absolutely of no significance, no importance whatsoever. And here is a close-up of her husband's biography in his section of the book.
This is what Patterson. Did he took a purple china marker-- or it's also known as a grease pencil, or a wax crayon pencil. He took a purple china marker, and he crossed off big X's across the manuscript pages. And I'm not talking, like, 10 or 15. I'm talking hundreds of pages. And it got to the point where he just put all chapter out. And he's not just even a cross-off. It's the complete hack and slay with a pencil. No, we're not having this whatsoever. And then, at the top, he wrote it out.
OK. Why is this important? Why is this significant? It is because, when you do research like this, especially archival research, what you're doing is you're reconstruction of history is crucial. As an example, I offer this photo. How many here are familiar with this photo? OK. OK. This photo is also featured in this particular book as Bailey regarding a sandwich.
This is the actual photo. And over here is Anna Comstock. So he's not regarding a sandwich as much as he's talking to Anna Comstock. And the quote here I believe just says it all, and that's, "how we constitute and reconstitute history is through our sources." And that is just an important point that I would like to make and pass on, as many of you probably know already.
Here's another example. No, that was not only. This is the other example. This is the picture I first found, and I thought, oh my god, what is wrong with Anna? She looks horrid. And then, in another box, I found this picture. And this is the original picture. And what they did is they put chairs there to make spaces, and then they cut out pictures of the Comstocks from other photos, and they put them in. And then they produced this one to pass it off as the original.
OK. Now, just a little bit. Something about the archives, in terms of not only just as historical record. It's a very interesting place. There's always something to discover. There are the photographs. These are genuine signatures of documents these people held in their hand over 100 years ago. And I'm holding them in my hand. If you're doing this sort of research, you're holding them in your hands.
And then there's also, over here, I have Ezra Cornell socks, which I find fascinating because these are his wedding socks. And these went to outer space. They were on one of the shuttle missions that the [INAUDIBLE]--
--Cornell alumnus. And he wanted to take something, and they were, like, well, take a letter or something. The RMC was like, no, you're not taking paper in a rocket ship, but you could take these socks.
So that's what he did. So he took his wedding socks. And I just think that's so cool. [LAUGHS] Besides the papers, I also found Anna's artwork. And here are some of her etchings that she made-- not all bugs. There's a few-- there's flowers, and there's animals. And these are actually-- her tools are there in the archives, which are wonderful. I did not realize actually how small they were. I don't know what I was thinking, probably something like a clamp or-- I don't know what I was thinking. But when I held them in my hand, it was magical for me. And yes, they are still sharp.
This here is just-- I don't know. The point I wanted to make is that you would not necessarily know what you're going to discover. And what I found in this box, when I opened it up, there were all the packages and the brown wrapping. And it turned out to be the editor's proof for this book, Manual for the Study of Insects. This was what the Comstocks considered their first book together. This is my copy. This is a first edition signed by both Comstocks. If you are interested in looking at it, I will let you, but I will want your driver's license. No.
But anyway, I just thought you guys would get a kick out of this because we're all kind of archival-y, librarian, research-y type of folks who like to, you know-- OK. And photos from Anna's youth. This is also that was found. And then here, of course, is Professor and Mrs. Comstock. This is something that she made, a frame and a deer hide as a Valentine's Day good for him. And this is their wedding certificate.
And then here is Anna in her a couple of photos that I found of Anna. Some of them are-- they seem like you may have seen this one, but it's not as frequently seen as, say, this photo here. But what was interesting is in the-- what's important about photos for researching in the archives is not only the information that you see blatantly, like, for example, where she wrote, "still carrying on"-- this is her 75th birthday-- but also if you look here at her ankles, you'll see that they're very swollen. And when I first saw this, I thought to myself, oh, I think she has a heart condition. She did. She had a heart condition and she had cancer. And this is what I believe is the last known photo of her taken.
And so the point here-- here is the chapter that is missing. This is just what was inserted in the folder in lieu of the chapter. They just said, Herrick wrote, I cannot account for chapter 14. And the point that I would like to make here on this slide is something that I've kind of been saying-- and not directly, but, basically, if as George Orwell put it, who controls the past controls the future, and who controls the present controls the past.
My new book is coming out April 2020. It is this book with everything back in, as Anna wrote it, as Anna wanted it to be. I dedicated my new book coming out-- I've dedicated it to the 2012-2017 staff of the RMC, because I felt that, without them, without the work that they do in the archives, without their help and support, I-- it's together we wrote it. And so I'm dedicating that book to them. I just feel that the archives are that important and that crucial. And I think that's it. I'm sorry if I went over. I don't know, but thank you.
KATHIE HODGE: OK. Hi. I'm losing my voice a little today, but somebody in the back will wave at me-- right, [? Eveline-- ?] if you can't hear me?
KATHIE HODGE: All right. I just wanted to start by saying that I'm just so pleased to be here and to get to meet some of you, hopefully, later because I'm such a fan of your work and also because I love the historical record of science. And I'm pleased to be able to talk about it a little bit. Mary said an awful lot about me at the beginning, some of which is even true.
But I thought I'd just mentioned that it was all the way back when I was a child when I really fell in love with that sort of the barely-visible world, at the intersection of what you can see and what you can't see. And my dad was a biology teacher, and he gave me a hand lens, and that was it for me. Here I am, and I still exist here in sort of that state of just wonder about the natural world.
And as I worked my way through school and ended up in college, I took all the courses on the tiny things, just anything smaller than that. I took the bugs, the algae, the mites, the everything small-- even bacteria, although they're boring.
But I really got hung up on fungi because they're just so enchanting, as you can see. so I put up some advertising here from my kingdom.
Fungi spanned this whole realm of, like, 12 orders of magnitude. A single fungus could be one micrometer in diameter, and that's as big as it ever gets, or it could be so big you can see it from outer space, killing a forest in big fairy rings. So if you haven't gotten besotted with fungi yet, just take a walk around the library because my 320 students have plastered the walls upstairs with art of variable quality, I admit, and also--
--posters with amazing scientific information on them. So we're insidious, us fungus people. We've invaded. But I want to talk to you today about the historical literature and how important it is not just to me, but to my field of mycology. Mycology is the study of fungi. We're kind of late to the game, mycologists, because of this problem of scale.
Before the 1600s, we couldn't see most of the fungi that exist in the world, right? And even if we could see them, we didn't know, like, what are they? Are they alive? Are they plants? Are they minerals? Did they just spontaneously appear? Maybe when lightning strikes the ground, that's when you see the mushrooms, right? So we were off to a slow start already.
We got some microscopes and we started naming things right away. And I'm going to talk to you a little bit about my work today in naming fungi. I have a thing about naming I believe that if you don't have a name for a thing, it's really hard to perceive it. Like, you don't have a way to talk to other people about what it is. It may even affect your ability to notice it in the world. So I think names are important for that reason, and I'll talk to you more about them as we go along. Am I still sporing? I'm still sporing. I've lost track of my tools. Here we go.
So part of my work has been to describe fungi-- new species of fungi, to put them in order, how do they make sense, how can you classify them, how do you recognize them. So here's a fungus and a millipede that live right here and the Ithaca area. And in fact, I've found this fungus right down this slope here and all around. And those of you who live around here will surely see it this summer if you look for millipedes in unusual places. This is a beautiful, poisonous millipede about that big-- maybe four inches big. It makes cyanide. That's why it's so colorful because it knows it has nothing to fear--
--but this fungus. And you can see the fungus in this photograph because it's the white stuff bulging out between the segments of the millipede. This is a fungus that makes its whole entire living killing this kind of millipede only, and it does it very well, but in mysterious ways. And when we found this fungus, Anne [INAUDIBLE] and I found this fungus in Ithaca over the last few years. We wondered if it had a name, and we had to go find out.
You might think you've found a new fungus. You know, I've talked to a fair number of people who go out in their backyard, and they send me a picture of something, and they're like, I'm sure this has to be new. Can we give it a name? But the only way if something is new is if you do the full exploration of all the scientific literature back to and before the time of Linnaeus. That's why not just anybody can really describe a new fungus. You have to put a lot of work into it first, and that's where the historical literature that you folks have been making available online is so incredibly valuable.
So Anne and I and our colleague, Andre, we did that for this fungus. We found that it was, in fact, new and not just a new species, but a whole new genus of fungi that we described from the first time from our backyards in Ithaca, New York, where there's been a mycologist since the 1860s. It's not very hard to find new fungi. And as Mary said, we think only about 5% of fungi have names so far, and my hair is already getting gray.
I wanted to show you a close up of this baby so that you would be convinced that it's really a fungus. You can see that salt all over its body is the spores that it has made, the fungus. And it shoots them off at incredible velocity, and just one or two of those spores might be able to infect a new millipede that encounters them. I don't know why I like weird fungi like that--
--but I really do. Used to be, when I was a grad student, if you needed to explore the scientific literature, you paid a visit to this gentleman here, not in person, but through the 26th or so volumes of his work. It took him the last 35 years of his lifetime to produce them. And Saccardo's work, which we call the Sylloge fungorum, has over 160,000 pages. And I know that sounds like not much for you Biodiversity Heritage Library people, because what are you at, like, a 55 million pages right now? Is that right?
KATHIE HODGE: 56.
But still, there's more than one of you, right?
Yeah. So anyway, I just want to put a nod into Saccardo. Saccardo's the way we used to have to find names of fungi, and each name of fungus included a little brief Latin description and all of us synonyms. All the times, other people thought they described a new fungus, but it was really that same one. Really essential.
Trips through the mycological history in literature often take really interesting turns. And down in the rare manuscripts collection, I looked at an old, old, old 1781 manuscript from this Danish biologist who was concerned with this little scruffy fungus that grows out of the pupa of a moth. And because I was able to find that paper, we were able to solidify the application of that name so that it could be properly used. It sounds like a weird and boring pursuit, but it's, as you probably know, just so exciting to search, and search, and then find just the thing-- just the thing that you wished for.
Some of you have probably seen these plates from a famous work by the Tulasne brothers. They were a pair of brothers in France, one an accomplished artist, Charles, and his brother who was on mycologist. And what this picture shows is the structures of a microscopic fungus, or at least one of those ones that's right at that bottom edge of your vision. On the right-hand side, you can see this tree-like structure, which is making lots and lots of little spores at the top. And when those spores are blown off by the wind, they can start a new colony elsewhere.
And then those weird things at the bottom-left, the pear-like structures with the cellular kind of structure to them, those are the sexual fruiting bodies of a fungus. Inside there is where the fungus is having sex. So if anybody is dozing off, just think--
--about fungus sex. Fungus sex going on right there. And then the products of that sexual reproduction get shot off into the air too, and can also start a new infection elsewhere. And both these stages are really important for that fungus because it helps to get around, but the sexual stage is especially important because it introduces a genetic diversity in the population. In the way that you and your siblings look different, every spore that comes out of that fungus is a brother or sister to the others.
Not only does this work present these microfungi for one of the first times in this very naturalistic and three-dimensional sense-- very artistic. Very hard to see these fungi at the time these guys were working, but what an incredible job they did. But the other thing that they did was that they drew these two stages of a fungus together on the page, and you can actually see the connection between the sexual and the asexual forms, which seem so obvious to us now. But at the time, if you were looking at fungi, you were basically looking at them as roadkill--
--right? You squashed them in a glass slide, and they were just flattened. You didn't perceive them as three dimensional objects. This work had a really important impact on the field. This was the first time-- and this is what this fungus looks like in real life-- that a focus was put on the ability of the fungi to make different forms, a concept called pleomorphy. And their work really got it across through the pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, I think.
So that red stuff there, that's the sexual structures of the fungus growing on another mushroom. And here on the right, the tree-like structure is making the asexual forms. They're really the same fungus, but they look so different. OK. OK. Listen, they look so different that, for decades and centuries, mycologists gave those two forms different names.
They're the same fungus. Different names-- like, different genus and species name. And that has been our Achilles heel for a long time in mycology, a real problem understanding fungi as a complete life form. Hard to express what an impact that has had on our thinking. And there's those little red sexual fruiting bodies zoomed in.
So the message of the Tulasnes, at that point, was that a fungus can look very different at different pork parts of its lifecycle, right? And you probably can think of other organisms that do too. What can you think of it looks different in different parts of its lifecycle?
KATHIE HODGE: Frogs, yeah. Tadpoles turn into toads.
KATHIE HODGE: Insects, yeah. Thank you. That looks good.
Caterpillars, for example, but we don't give them different names, right? We don't call a caterpillar by a different name than the butterfly it turns into-- not different Latin names. That would be kind of crazy, but that's what mycologists have been doing all these years. So here's a beautiful, orange mold in a dish. If it was a caterpillar, I would just feed it and take care of it until it grew up, and then I would know, right?
I could take that orange mold and I could snuggle it for a long time, and give it its favorite food in that dish, and it would never, never turn into a butterfly or whatever its next step is. It can keep going in that stage for as long as it feels like. It's very difficult to know what it might like to eat. We do know what this fungus likes to eat now. It likes an entire oak tree.
This is the chicken of the woods, this fungus. It looks like a nice, orange mold in a dish. But if you feed it an entire tree, it makes these beautiful, edible, orange and yellow mushrooms. It's fantastic. But you could see the magnitude of the problem we were up against. Not so simple as taking care of caterpillars. Which, I know some entomologists are going to yell at me later, but I'm just-- anyway, this brings us to the current day, just about. We're having a revolution right now in fungi, where we're finally correcting this-- I can't quite call it a mistake, but this problem of ours that's been haunting us.
This problem came about because of very practical concerns, right? You got to have a name for something. You can't wait until you can hook up whole life cycles, but now we have DNA for that. So we can use DNA to put things together much more easily than we used to have to snuggle your Petri dishes. Boy, I'm so over that.
Just a few years ago, a major rule change in the way we named fungi has led to us deciding, at long last, to have just one name for one fungus. And the result of that has been a huge re-exploration of the scientific literature back to before the time of Linnaeus. Because to decide one name, we had to go back all that way. And so isn't it lucky that your project came along just at the right time that international mycologists, even those who had poor access to libraries, often suddenly had new access to historical literature that was really hard to find before? It's going to choke me up, I think.
And then I thought-- OK, so that's major. That's major in my field, and it's an ongoing work that will take us a long time to fix. And then we have the other 95% of funds to give names to.
But we're working on it. But I wanted to end my talk with the next thing. So we're doing this thing right now. We're doing the one name thing, but the next thing is really interesting, and I wasn't really expecting it. But the next thing is that it's no longer just professional mycologists who are working on naming things. Now we have this interesting-- I don't know what you'd call it-- explosion. It's a spore cloud of amateur mycologists who, because they can access rare literature now, can go deeper than they ever could before with a field guide and become truly expert mycologists.
And we're seeing this rise of a new group of people. It's just so exciting. And here are two online platforms that support this amateur effort in science. One is iNaturalist, which covers all groups, and the other is Mushroom Observer, which is fungus-specific. But the excellence of the observations on these platforms is bolstered by this access to information that you all are a part of.
So I'm still that kid in the forest with the hand lens, and I still love discovering new things. And I'm also, like you, a collections person. I run a big herbarium, which I've been-- which we've been-- laboriously digitizing lately. But that's all I have to say to you today except, welcome, and glad to you.
THOMAS SEELEY: Good afternoon. [CHUCKLES] It's my pleasure to welcome you to Cornell. I've been here for, oh, 60 years, actually. So I feel quite close to the place. I'm glad you made it, and I hope you've had a good time here. I hope you will take the talk that I'm about to share with you as a personal thank you for the work that you're doing, along with the other speakers.
For many scientists, it's the latest 10 years that matters. But for some of us who are really interested in understanding the roots of what we're doing and what we're investigating now, it's a great deal of fun and inspiration, as well as a source of insights, to go back into the literature. And sometimes this involves going back more than 100 years, and I'll share with you some examples with that. And I hope this will-- if you have ever any doubts, this will hammer home the value of the work that you're doing.
I'm going to start by referring to these two gentlemen here. Who's the gentleman on the left?
THOMAS SEELEY: Thoreau. Yes. Very good. And on the right? This one's more obscure. He is the Saint of modern beekeeping, Lorenzo L. Langstroth. And I put them up because they were contemporaries, but there are also two people that are going to figure in this talk that I'm going to share with you now.
Here's a summary of my main points. I'll repeat this at the end, but I'm just stating it up front as well. How does this historical record help us biologists and other scientists-- especially biology, for this group? Of course, it's the knowledge base on which we build. We always add onto what's done before. Sometimes it's a correction, sometimes it's an extension. But I think, more interestingly, it also adds to the depth of our understanding, our inspiration, our connection to the subject. And sometimes it reveals to us that somebody else figured that out a long time ago.
It just got lost. So a dose of humility comes to it. And I think it's extremely satisfying to many, many people to see your place in history, to see that you're just a link in a long chain of investigators who have worked on a particular problem. And I know, Peter, you'll appreciate that, especially.
PETER: Thank you.
THOMAS SEELEY: I'm going to dip into-- these are the three books that I've written most recently, and each one has a historical element to it. And so I'm going to give you three stories, one. From each book I'm going to start with-- story one is about Charles Butler, who wrote, in 1609, a book called The Feminine Monarchie, published in London. And what you see there on the left is actually a screenshot that I got from the Biodiversity Heritage Library. So thank you very much.
I know Cornell has a copy of it. I've seen it, but it was a lot easier--
--to go look it up online. And I want to illustrate how this work is more than-- what's the math say? It's almost 400 years old, and-- or maybe it's more. But he laid out a problem, but nobody solved the problem in all of those centuries between until we looked at it. And I want to highlight this little part over here, which is a little hard to read in the old script, so I've pulled out the key part of it.
He's referring to the behavior of swarming bees. This is a swarm of honey bees. It's a reproductive unit that's a bunch of about 10,000 worker bees and a queen bee. They've left their home nest. They've gone out, separated themselves, fissioned themselves off, and they're clustered here, and they're choosing a new home site because their mission is to establish a new colony of bees living in a hollow tree, or a cavity in a rock crevice, or something like that.
And Butler, back in 1609-- or obviously before that, even-- noticed that there were bees on the surface of this beard-like cluster of bees that were active. And he knew that those bees that were active there were bees that had just flown in. And he presumed that they were bees that had been out scouting for a prospective home site. And I love the way he called them the spies.
"The spies return with all speed. And no sooner do they touch the column or cluster that they begin to shake their wings like as the bees do that are chilled. They begin to unknit, and be gone." And he saw that these bees that were coming in-- the spies-- were somehow activating everybody to initiate the move to the new home site. But he didn't, of course, know how that worked. And I won't bore you with an hour talk on how that works, but I'll just share a few highlights of it.
One is-- and this is work that was did in 2003-- if you track one of those bees, those are scout bees-- those little spy bees-- they land on the surface of the cluster. And at a certain point in the decision-making process, once the decision has been reached, they do just as Butler described. They run around on the surface of the swarm. Sometimes they're doing these waggle dances, which are indicated by this little zigzag mark. But other times, they're pausing, and this is every 10 seconds on here at one second intervals. They'll stop and they'll make a sound. And I'll show it to you in a second. They go eee, eee, eee.
And that's what's [INAUDIBLE]-- Butler doesn't mention it, but he was noticing that they were doing the shaking and running around. Now what these bees are doing is we call it worker piping. Yeah.
THOMAS SEELEY: There.
THOMAS SEELEY: Focus on this bee. She's floating around on the surface of [INAUDIBLE] cage [INAUDIBLE]. She's telling her, warm up and get going. Time to go. Everybody up. You need to come along with us. Eee.
That signal is called worker piping, and it's part of what was reported back in 1609. You notice these spy bees running around, being very active, shaking, and then everybody goes. Now, what does that be doing? It's actually sending a signal to all of the quiescent bees that it's time to warm up and get ready to fly away. These are two thermographic images of the surface of one of these swarms 15 minutes before takeoff, and that's the temperature scale that is over here on side here. And here's our body temperature right around here.
So 15 minutes before, everybody is pretty cool, below our body temperature. One minute before takeoff, the thorax of every bee has been heated up in response to that piping. And then the bees can-- when their flight muscle's hot enough, they can fly away.
So I'd show here the juxtaposition. We've got this beautiful cover page of The Feminine Monarchy, 1609, and then I put next to it what happens 394 years later? Somebody comes along and builds on what was reported, and makes an analysis, and reports reporting in a different format, but it's the very same subject. And to me, that's-- I don't know, it's just to solve a mystery that has been lingering or there for 394 years is a great thrill and very satisfying.
Let me give you a second example. And here I'm going to refer to Henry David Thoreau's journal. And this is another shot from his journal on September 30, 1852. And before it's taken-- it was a day where he went out with three of his neighbors to do what was called bee hunting. They were going to go out. They were going out. They left Walden Pond. They went south to Fairhaven Pond, and we're going to go on a search for a bee tree, a place where a wild colony of bees was living in a tree.
And this is from the Pierpoint Morgan Library shot. I don't know if they're part of the Biodiversity Heritage Library or not. They should be. And I learned from our first speaker what that blue pencil line through there is. Apparently, that's a grease pencil or something? Yeah. This manuscript, this is from Thoreau's-- that's his handwriting. It's from his journal.
But there was sort of an editor back in the early 1900s that was assembling a condensed version of Thoreau's journal, and he just marked out with a grease pencil-- wrote across the sections that he didn't want. And I guess you saw a lot of that. I was appalled when I thought this. I was even more appalled to see what was presented earlier. So very revealing.
So anyhow, they went out. Thoreau describes, on that day, going bee hunting. Now, why is that interesting to a scientist like me? Well, the technique he was showing was the technique that was used by people in the past, before there were bees living in beehives and it was easy to get honey. To get honey, people would do a process of lining bees back to their bee tree home, and then they were in their pork chop open the tree or sometimes even chop it down, and get access to honey, and bring it home.
And when I was growing up, there was an old timer. She didn't have much money. When she wanted a sweetener, that's what she did. She went out bee hunting with an axe, and a pot, and a ladle. She'd find the bee tree, she'd chop it open enough to get the ladle into it, and scoop out some cones and bring that back in a little pot. So it's not done now, but it was what was going on in Thoreau's time.
And another book that was written on this-- this is not quite as historical-- was by this gentleman here, George Harold Edgell. He wrote a lovely little book called The Bee Hunter. And I'm so proud to say that Cornell University owns the handwritten manuscript of Edgell's book, The Bee Hunter. It's a little book. It's only 49 pages long, but it's so cool to see the handwriting of the man who wrote it.
Now, both Thoreau and Edgell are very distinguished people. Of course, everybody knows about Thoreau, but George Harold Edgell was a professor of architectural history at Harvard. He eventually became the director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. So they both very-- another very cultured gentleman. But they both liked to go bee hunting.
Well, why does that and how does that relate? Well, there was a project I did, starting back in 1978, where I needed to locate the wild colonies of honeybees living in Cornell's Arnot Research Forest. I needed to learn about how these bees were living in the wild, not in beekeeper's hives. I wanted to know how they were living in the wild. And one of the things I needed to know is, well, what's the natural density of bee colonies in the wild, and how am I going to find them in this forest? Bee hunting.
So I went back. I read Edgell first, I learned about Thoreau second, but I learned a tremendous amount from both of those gentlemen. And using the methods that they described, resurrecting these old methods, I was able to line my way back, sample the would, and start near the clearing. And, bit by bit, by following the bee line home, you basically would capture a bunch of bees on flowers and give them a little cone filled with sugar syrup. They'd like it [INAUDIBLE] introduce [INAUDIBLE] they go home, they perform their waggle dance, they bring out their nest mates, and soon you have an aerial trail that can lead you back to their home.
It takes about a day and a half to do it-- to find each tree-- but it's great fun. And it was very scientifically valuable to have those historical records from Thoreau and Edgell on how you do this. If they hadn't existed, it would have-- I think the skill would have been lost as the old timers passed on. And in honor of those two gentlemen, I conducted, a few years ago, a bee hunt in Harvard Yard.
And it was nice. Because, see, Thoreau, when he was a Harvard student, he lived in Hollis Hall. That was his dorm. And here's where Edgell-- in part of his career, his office was in the Fogg Art Museum. And I found bees on daffodils in front of the Memorial Church. And lo and behold, they were just going to a nest over at Emerson Hall.
So it was short bee hunt. But I sure wish I'd had Thoreau and Edgehill. I wish we had been working together.
Now, the third little story I want to share with you is from the personal journal of Lorenzo L. Langstroth, a somewhat more obscure person, but he's very important. He's the inventor of what we call the movable frame hive. He invented this in 1851 in Philadelphia. Now, I'll show you what I mean by a movable frame high. But to put his work in context, this is what people had traditionally done for centuries-- really, for thousands of years, fair to say. They kept bees in these wicker baskets that were inverted called skeps, and they were covered with dung for insulation.
And this is a lovely-- I love this image. It's from a nice 1628 book. It's about this thick. It's all the [INAUDIBLE] by Munster. And it's, I think, Cosmographia. It looks like-- I haven't read the whole thing because it's in Latin, but it looks like it is an encyclopedia of what people knew about geography and history at the time, 1628.
So what Langstroth was trying to do is he was trying to figure out a way to keep bees in a way that you could actually look into the hive, take out the honey, do all sorts of things, without having to rip the nest apart. When the bees live in a skep or a box, not a movable frame hive, they attach the combs, and it's quite awkward for the beekeeper.
And here's what Langstroth came up with. It's this design whereby inside the box, there are frames. And the critical thing is each frame is surrounded by what's called the bee space. It is a space through which bees can walk, and they tend to leave those open because that's their way of getting around from one side of a comb to the other.
And this is from a nice book [INAUDIBLE] 1888. Again, [INAUDIBLE] we're dealing with 1600s, 1700s, 1800s. Bees and Beekeeping, that's the first actual precise drawing that shows that bee space labeled bee space. Langstroth never use the term bee space, but in Cheshire's time, it was there.
So anyhow, this is what Langstroth invented. It's a frame. Bees build wax combs in the wooden frame, and here's the bee space along the bottom, and the sides, and on the top. Now, what am I thinking about? [INAUDIBLE]. One of the nice things is, in the Cornell collections mentioned already, there is Lorenzo L. Langstroth's journal in which-- and if you look at it, you can go through, and you can see on how he had his insight about this bee space, inventing this bee space, which revolutionized beekeeping-- the whole bee industry.
But you could see he didn't get it all in one day either. He sort of had this idea that, oh, I'm going to put a space at the top. I'll make this wooden frame. It will be a space at the top, and I'll put these little sidebars in to reinforce the comb. And then, later on, it was the 26th of November, about a month later, he realized, hey, I'm going to put a frame all the way around. I'll put a bottom on those frames, and I'll do what's drawn here. So it's really nice to be able to have these old records, and see them, and connect with one's subject.
So these are the historical records we mentioned today. Charles Butler, 1609, The Feminine Monarchy, Thoreau, his journal, Edgell's The Bee Hunter, Langstroth's personal journal, Cheshire, Bees and Beekeeping. I see I left out Cosmographia. But both those are just samples of pieces of historical record and books that have been very important to me, and I hope I've made clear how that works.
And I'll just end by coming back to these three points. How does this historical record help us? Well, we've heard two ways it does. Through scholarship and through taxonomic work, but also for experimental investigations of animal behavior-- bee behavior. It's the knowledge base on which we build. It ends in this depth of understanding, inspiration, and dose of humility, and it gives you this historical perspective on your work. As I say you see yourself as a part of a historical stream of learning about something-- in my case, about the bees. Thank you very much for your attention.
MARY OCHS: Thanks very much to our three speakers. I know any of my other librarian colleagues in the room always really enjoy hearing what makes the work we do valuable to the communities that we try to serve, so thanks very much for that. A real treat. I'm looking at the clock, and we have about 25 minutes for questions for the panel. You can present a question to one panelist in particular, or if there's a topic you think several people might want to comment on that's more general across the speakers, then the panel can sort of take turns deciding who might answer that.
And they need that mic, so is there another mic for questions?
SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE] just--
MARY OCHS: OK. We'll just take them. So, questions? OK.
AUDIENCE: I wanted to know what your named that fungus.
KATHIE HODGE: The fungus?
KATHIE HODGE: Is this on?
KATHIE HODGE: We named it Arthrophaga-- which means bug eater--
--and then we used Thaxter's species epithet. I went to the Farlow Herbarium at Harvard University--
KATHIE HODGE: --and looked at some very old specimens that Thaxter had looked at. And we found that he had noted that he believed it was a new species, but he never got around to publishing it. So we used the species name he chose, which is myriapodina, which means "of millipedes."
AUDIENCE: Could I ask a follow-up?
KATHIE HODGE: Yeah.
AUDIENCE: Yeah. So a lot of these organisms co-opt the behaviors of the host. Do you think that was going on with that millipede, that it was perching up there to disperse the spores?
KATHIE HODGE: Yeah. Yeah. So if you look for this fungus-- and we actually know, from photographic records from amateur photographers on Flickr, and iNaturalist, and other websites, that this fungus occurs throughout the Northeast, at least east of the Mississippi, and up into Quebec and down into the Great Smokies. Where was I going with that? Yes. It does make the millipedes climb, almost always. Yeah. Good question.
MARY OCHS: Other questions? Yeah. Over here.
AUDIENCE: I'll ask more of a librarian question. How do you incorporate the literature-- this historic literature-- in your classes and your assignments, and how does that become part of what the legacy that you're passing along to the students so they'll understand how this literature can enrich their research?
KATHIE HODGE: Tom, you want to do that one?
THOMAS SEELEY: Thank you for that question. I like to put it in lectures. I like to give students not only what we understand, but where that understanding comes from. And so that's where they get a dose of history. For example, when I explain how the bees communicate the locations of food sources with their waggle dances, I will take them through the history of how the gentleman who deciphered that, Carlin [INAUDIBLE], how he did that. It took him about 40 years, and he made a very zigzag route of discovery. And only by chance did he stumble upon the correct interpretation. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
KAREN PENDERS ST. CLAIR: I'd like to add to that that I've given some guest lectures about archival research to different classes. And while I'm not taking the students precisely through an exact topic like Tom or Kathie is, what I tell them is in respecting what they're doing to-- this was someone's life, that this was the things that they valued, and that they may have written their legacy or somebody else may have chosen their legacy for them, and that when they go into the archives, they should do it with a sense of propriety, that this is something that has been taken care of and passed down to them, and that what we are doing as researchers, and librarians, and archivists, and professors is that we're now taking our turn with passing that information onto them. And that is the point that I try to make to these classes.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
MARY OCHS: Yes?
AUDIENCE: I'm curious if you keep journals, yourself, when you're doing your field research, or is the result of your field research really publications in either electronic or print form? Is someone going to come [INAUDIBLE] after you and say, I want to see Tom Seeley's journal?
KATHIE HODGE: Yeah. I wish I had a better answer to your question, Tony. I feel like I don't do a very good job at keeping journals. I have a succession of laboratory notebooks for stuff that I do in the lab, and I don't have great-- or I have very spotty field records. I wish I was a Thoreau or somebody was who was a little more disciplined about writing down everything I see.
And I guess the other thing that I worry about right now, as my colleagues retire ahead of me-- I'm getting there-- is that my older colleagues left a very rich legacy of printed matter, correspondence in particular, that documented-- like, file folders full of information that the current generation, that's all in emails and electronic files. And I'm sure you folks have thought about this, right? We're losing huge chunks of stuff right now. Sorry. I went on a tangent there, but there is a problem for you.
THOMAS SEELEY: I do start a new journal-- it's a bound journal-- every summer, and I'm glad I do. I refer back to those. When I wrote these books, I needed to know what happened back in the '70s. I've got some pretty good information about that. Not as good as I would like because it always takes time. And I like to keep a record of those things. When I take care of my woods, for example, I've got a woods work journal as well. I think it's good. And boy, I agree about who's going to do that-- what are we going to do for these historical sources as so much of it is recorded electronically?
KAREN PENDERS ST. CLAIR: One of the things I used to say to my friends in the RMC is, well, when that zombie apocalypse comes, we are really screwed. [LAUGHS] But I do keep a journal. Some of my friends at the RMC, they've already said, Karen, we want that book, because I have all these notes in here, I have my notes in the margin. This is just filled. And kind of in this offhand way, this book became a journal.
But then I realized, in talking with archivists and in my own research and reading, that they were saying that it's the everyday, mundane things that you do that that's what the people glom onto and they find so fascinating. For example, I found the Comstocks' grocery list. So from that grocery list, I got a sense of what they liked, what they, in terms of-- they loved figs. They loved candied figs, and dried figs, and fresh-- they loved figs. And they also ate a lot of lamb.
Now, that sounds silly, but that tells me a bit more of their personality. That tells me a bit more of who they were, maybe even how financially well-off they were. It tells me tells me about the grocer in Ithaca. It just keeps kind of going outward and building outward. So I decided the journal I keep, every day, if something happens, I'll write even if it's just a sentence. Because I don't want-- I often think, oh, yeah, this sock I'm knitting is the only thing that's going to be left of me 500 years from now. Someone's going to try to trace the pattern. And I'm like, oh my gosh, it can't be a sock, you know?
MARY OCHS: It might go up in space though.
KAREN PENDERS ST. CLAIR: It might go up in space. But yeah, I try to do it because the things that we might consider mundane are actually things that mean just the world to someone else.
MARY OCHS: Oh, [? Eveline ?] in the back.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] have a question for Kathie. It was about the [INAUDIBLE] definitely [INAUDIBLE] 5% of the fungi kingdom [INAUDIBLE]. And as you know, we've just recently acquired a beautiful three-volume set of fungi illustrations, not published, done by a woman, [INAUDIBLE] Lewis, in the 1860s [INAUDIBLE] over 40 years. You know, just a whole sort of forest of mushrooms. Do you anticipate [INAUDIBLE] that in the historical record, essentially being able to find some of the fungi they haven't described yet-- In fact, might have been described or at least captured by all these potentially--
KATHIE HODGE: Yeah.
KATHIE HODGE: Yeah. That's a good question. So you can see some of those beautiful watercolors, which are exhibited very nicely, right outside this room thataway. One interesting thing we can get from journals like that, that people keep of their observations of local fungi, is we can get information on phenology. Phenology is, like, when does a tree flower? And in this era of climate change, observations on when a specific mushroom fruit tell us a lot about how things might have changed over the years. So that's just one of the things you can extract from that.
And then we can also look at how forests have changed and mushroom populations have changed. So, yeah, it's a really cool find. And I haven't even seen that whole thing, myself. I'm just an art gallery observer, but I'm looking forward to seeing it.
MARY OCHS: Yes?
AUDIENCE: Relating back to the title of this event, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your approach to publishing and where your works of scholarship-- and the issues of access and paywalls there.
KAREN PENDERS ST. CLAIR: OK. Well, let's see. Interestingly enough, my dissertation you can access online through eCommons, and I have it published here. And it was so anticlimactic for me when I saw it in print, and then I realized that they just basically shrank the pages. And then this one no page numbers, and I thought, well, this is useless. But it is online, and that was kind of different for me because I'm not-- I like to handle a document. I like to read a book.
For publishing the book, the reason-- the book that I'm going to be publishing is Anna's book. It's not my book. And it was very important to me, when I spoke to my editor, that I tell her, look, this is somebody else's work, somebody else's words, somebody else's life, and I am just putting it where it should be.
So in terms of, I guess, preserving the historical record, what I'm wanting is I'm wanting it to be right. I'm wanting it to be as it should be, and that's how I feel with the different things that I have-- what I have done with my book, what I've done with my dissertation. I want it to be right. I want it to be an example for everyone, and I don't want it to be something that's weak. And that's what's important to me with archival research, is that it takes effort. It takes time. And I'm putting in that effort and time, and I want it to be quality.
And I think that that's one of the things that's very important with archival research, is the quality that you can produce from tatters of something left behind. I don't know if that answers your question, but--
MARY OCHS: Do either of you have comments on that?
THOMAS SEELEY: Yeah. The paywall is a huge problem for science because most of the journals do require-- for most journals, you cannot get access to the papers unless your library pays a bundle to the publisher. Interestingly, universities in Europe or are now just saying, we're not going to print work that way anymore, but I don't know the situation in the US.
What I can do is-- and this is out of self-interest. I want to be sure that what I've done is actually available to anybody, anywhere. So I cough up the $2,000 to $3,000 for every paper to make sure it's open access. But, yeah, and it's a huge problem. And I wish I had a better answer to the solution, except maybe, oh-- I'd love to hear what the librarians' perspective on this is too. So maybe after--
MARY OCHS: Sure.
KATHIE HODGE: I don't have too much to add, but I guess-- well, first of all, it's not always easy to afford open access, although Cornell does have some funding available to us to promote it. But on the other side of it, it seems like what we should be doing is we should be boycotting citing journals, who are the thieves among them, but how can we do that, as scientists, because that's data?
Like, I can't omit to cite articles written by scientists and published in journals that are somewhat predatory because I'm a scientist. I can't-- like, that doesn't seem like a real option to me, so that end of it is very hard for me. And I think I'd better not say anymore.
THOMAS SEELEY: Will you tell us [INAUDIBLE]?
MARY OCHS: Well, I can take a first stab at this. This would have been a good one to prepare about three days before I'd made my comments, but the Cornell University Library has been looking at this issue for a number of years and trying to do what we can to promote open access. And we have had, over the last year, what we've called our big deals task force that's been trying to work on better strategies for negotiating our contracts with the large publishers.
We've done a lot of work helping the developing world get access to the research literature through programs like TEAL and Research For Life, which are two programs that open free access to the journals to, like, 110 countries in the developing world. It's one of those problems where the transition is complicated.
Kathie brings up the point that the tenure and promotion process requires that faculty get their articles in the best journal they can get it in, but meanwhile, you've got the momentum going towards the open access. So I think there's a lot of momentum going in that direction. It's just getting through the transition process. I don't know if there are other librarians out in the audience that would also like to comment on that. I see Gerald Beasley, our University Librarian.
So Gerald, do you want a microphone?
GERALD BEASLEY: [INAUDIBLE] to what you just said. I think you're absolutely right, Mary. And I thought it was a great series of presentations, by the way, so this gives me the opportunity to say thank you because I really appreciate the panel and the words. It's a complicated issue. We could talk about open access certainly until the cows come home and probably many other animals livestock.
[INAUDIBLE] as well this morning. Fundamentally, I think that [INAUDIBLE], the one that I take, at least, is that, on the one hand, we have to negotiate like crazy in the world we live in, which is to say, insofar as we can, reduce the financial burden both to the library and to the faculty members or anybody else who wishes to publish research. That's what we do.
But we also strive very hard to provide the alternatives so that faculty or anybody else wishing to engage and disseminate their research have alternatives. But I see the Biodiversity Heritage Library as actually being not necessarily a forum for your publications, but certainly a way in which scientists, in a historical context, are able to have their work somewhat renewed and brought to light again.
So I think those two efforts need to be done together. And at the same time, so to speak, we need to work with the world we live in and look at the world-- we actually work towards the world we want to have existing, which is more about [INAUDIBLE] science and the free exchange of information [INAUDIBLE]. So that's [INAUDIBLE].
MARY OCHS: Great. Thanks, Gerald. How about other questions or other comments on that topic? In the back. Jim.
AUDIENCE: Hi. I'm Jim [INAUDIBLE]. I manage a couple of open access repositories here on campus-- not eCommons. But on the topic of boycotting the journals, there are increasingly articles that are published in journals, but also have a post-print or an accepted other manuscript. So I'm wondering if you thought about, instead of citing the final version in the problematic journal, citing the version that exists in the repository.
THOMAS SEELEY: I haven't. It's following the custom. You sort of want it to be familiar. It'd be nice to do both, wouldn't it?
[? KATHIE HODGE: ?] You just can't.
THOMAS SEELEY: I'd have to figure out how to do that.
KATHIE HODGE: Darn, it came back to me.
I'm not sure what to say about that because I personally have a pre-print published by an archive right now that has done the rounds of some top-tier journals, and been rejected by most of them, and will eventually, maybe get published-- probably get published-- by a less-than-top-tier journal in a different form.
And I guess maybe it's my own ignorance about that pre-print that we originally posted and how long it might persist despite the fact that the manuscript eventually accepted after a significant peer review and revision. I'd be leery of-- I don't really want people to cite the first version now that it's changed so much, but maybe I have more to learn about.
MARY OCHS: Yes?
AUDIENCE: Just a command, but you actually have to pay to have-- my experience is you have to pay to put it into these repositories.
KATHIE HODGE: Would you like to talk about the cost to put an article into a repository? A pre-print server?
AUDIENCE: Sure. Well, to first answer the question, there is no cost to the author to put it within one of the repositories that is run out of Cornell University. And I know from talking to colleagues elsewhere, they are not charging people to put those in. Also, clarify that are many pre-print services, Archive being one of the most famous. Many of us are actually working with post-print, the versions that have gone through peer review as well.
So it's a good thing that kind of talk about, and figure out what version something is, and how far through that process it has come [INAUDIBLE]. But to answer the question, I can speak for us. We're not charging authors, and we're not charging users.
MARY OCHS: Any other comments on that topic? There's a glare on the clock. I can't tell if it's 5:30.
AUDIENCE: It's about time.
MARY OCHS: It's about time? OK. All right. Well, thanks again to our panel, and thanks to our audience.
SPEAKER 1: This has been a production of Cornell University Library.
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Primary historical materials can be essential to pioneering work across the sciences, yet rapidly spiraling fees charged by private companies to access information are raising ever-higher barriers to the advancement of knowledge.
Highlighting the importance of current open access efforts to facilitate discovery and learning now and in the future, three Cornell life scientists--neurobiologist Tom Seeley, mycologist Kathie Hodge, and science historian Karen Penders St. Clair—reflect on the role that the historical scientific record has played in their own research. This program took place at Mann Library in conjunction with the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Biodiversity Heritage Library held at Cornell from April 30 –May 2, 2019.