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Field Notes on Science and Nature

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A new Harvard publication edited by Michael Canfield, "Field Notes on Science and Nature" explores multiple methodologies for creating science field journals with multiple authors presenting a chapter each. This includes the Guild's own Jenny Keller of the California State University, Monterey Bay campus.

The book covers disciplines as diverse as ornithology, entomology, ecology, paleontology, anthropology, botany, and animal behavior, and Field Notes on Science and Nature. Readers are allowed to peer over their shoulders and into the notebooks of a dozen eminent field workers, to study firsthand their observational methods, materials, and fleeting impressions. And features wonderful illustrations of the journals of the authors. Jenny's work is prominently featured.

Jenny remarks: "I had the pleasure of working with Michael Canfield and contributing a chapter to this book (chapter 8). We all wrote without reading what the other contributors were saying, so it was late in the process that we ourselves were able to read the book in its entirety. From that partially-objective perspective, I can say that it was a really enjoyable read. I loved learning how various field naturalists (some of my long-time heroes among them) create and later make use of their field notes. There are a lot of different approaches, a few fantastic tales, and definitely some 'aha!' moments in the stories."

Another review of this book in a blog post by John Pavlus lays out Michael Canfield argument that hand generated field notes are still in many ways superior to new fangled computer records. The development of scientific thinking as recorded by the human hand provides a better record of how the work was actually done.

You can see the book at Harvard Publications and Amazon