plant anatomy text (long)

Fri Oct 20 13:19:08 EST 2000

Hi Peggy,

I don't have an answer for you as I don't teach Plant
Anatomy per se...

But we really do have to rethink how we deal with
publishers in education.  The prices are horrendous,
the edition cycles are way too fast, good books go
"out of print" before they can be adopted.  In plant
education, in particular, when a book doesn't get the
sales hoped for, the title dies very quickly. A "specialized"
text subject such as plant anatomy just isn't going to
be a big money-maker for a publisher. It is a fact we
must face.

Perhaps we need Mauseth and others to think about
putting their stuff on a website rather than going to a
publisher with it.  I know that these works become
labors of love rather than cash cows, but I think we
need the stable electronic venue rather than the
business world controlling the educational access
to our professional expertise.

It is hard for many of us to accept the electronic world
as we were trained in a paper world. But a historical
reflection would give us some good models.  We 
went from stone to clay to papyrus to paper and now
probably to electronic media...we are at the cusp of
this changeover and will need to face the reality of
this change just as surely as the stonecarvers did.
At first people will regard the "ethereal" medium as
not sufficiently, is an out-of-print book
any better...and do we have the complete set of
stone, or clay documents? Is it the paper or the
information that we cherish so much?  If books need
such frequent revisions, why do we worry about
permanence? Obviously our field is dynamic and our
medium could be/should be dynamic too. People
worry that the electronic medium is an easy place for
trash to achieve credibility. What and paper books aren't?
How many questions do we get about the effects of 
music on plants? or ESP? or whatnot?  Thanks to books by
you-know-who! We have all found errors in just about
every text and tell students not to believe everything they
read in print. And now we consider paper media to have
some fantastic level of credibility...just because it is on
paper? No, I really think we need to develop interest groups
in plant anatomy and other specialized areas who work on
a consensus electronic text that people can point students
to, that faculty can display in lectures, etc. The credibility 
comes from the authors and the review process, and only
the latest stuff is in our "book."  People argue that the paper book
offers students the material where and when they need it
because it is portable.  Yeah, right, like my students carry
the texts around. Like they actually read the book before or
even after coming to class. How many students buy the
latest edition and resell it to the bookstore...still crackling as
you open it at the end of the semester? I'm sure the wireless
revolution will fix some of the portability problem...but I must
say being able to access electronic pages from all over the 
world is far more "portable" than any paper book.

It is a "brave new world" in information delivery, and I think
our specialized texts in particular need to embrace it.


Professor Ross E. Koning, PhD
Chapter President ECSU-AAUP
Biology Department - Goddard Hall
Eastern Connecticut State University
Willimantic, Connecticut 06226 USA

Phone: (860)-465-5327
FAX: (860)-465-5213
Pager: (860)-744-2705
email: koning at

> ----------
> From: 	peggy.pollak at NAU.EDU
> Sent: 	Friday, October 20, 2000 1:49 PM
> To: 	plant-ed at
> Subject: 	plant anatomy text
> PLEASE HELP!!!  I just found out that Mauseth's Plant Anatomy is actually
> out of print, after ordering it for next semester's plant anatomy course.
> Although the publisher will provide copies. they are xeroxed and have poor
> figure quality.  Am I the only one with this problem?  What text do the
> rest
> of you use?  
> Peg
> Peggy E. Pollak
> Department of Biological Sciences
> Northern Arizona University
> Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5640
> ---


More information about the Plant-ed mailing list