Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ex Index

There was a time I was student at the P.A. Tiele Academie (The Hague) to become a librarian. Didn't work out that way. However I still benefit the lessons about classification. I have witnessed the transfer from old style Librabry Index Cards to full digital systems. Yep, those were the days. Pulling drawers filled with numerous index cards. Some of them still handwritten. Would 'The Raven' be indexed as 'The' or as 'Raven'? Or should you have a look at 'Edgar', 'Allen' or 'Poe'? 

DDC vs UDC. Dewey's Decimal Classification versus the Universal Decimal Classification. Lessons about information storage and retrieval. I have strolled the catalogue of index cards of the former Library at the Museum of Natural History in Leiden many times. By hand. Running my fingers along the thousands of index cards. Searching for new data on some of my favorite fish. Making xerograph copies using one of those huge copiers. I travelled by bike from Delft to Leiden. Everyone who has been at the old museum, will never forget the way it smelled. The strange scent of books and formalin. It will not become succesfull in any perfume shop...

Nowadays the cataloge of the library is available online. Part of Naturalis Biodiversity Center. No doubt Google will be of help too. 
I have started to make Index Reference Cards on my books. Including additional information like a list of characters, my inspiration and more. These are now used as basic datasheet in my blogs about my books, Flash Fiction and Short Stories. 

Some of my visits have led to articles in hobby magazines, for instance on the genus Megalamphodus. Pretty characids and popular aquarium fish which are now (re)considered members of the genus Hyphessobrycon
This article includes some of my first fish drawings published in an official magazine. I noticed I still used my initials (EM) instead of my present signature in those days. And, now that I come to think of it, some of my first photos of fish. I used color slides in those days. (Oh boy! Another piece of history...).
Megalamphodus rogoaguae, additional lines, to indicate outline of fins, 
from M. sweglesi. (Drawing published in Meinema, 1988)