International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (Melbourne Code) adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress, Melbourne, Australia, July 2011

International Code of Nomenclature for Algae, Fungi, and Plants (Melbourne Code)
J. McNeill, F.R. Barrie, W.R. Buck, V. Demoulin, W. Greuter, D.L. Hawksworth, P.S. Herendeen, S. Knapp, K. Marhold, J. Prado, W.F. Prud’homme van Reine, G.F. Smith, J. H. Wiersma, and N.J. Turland (editors)
Koeltz Scientific Books
Publication Date: 

decorated boards, 208 pp., $89.00

Can a new book on the rules of taxonomy be exciting? In the case of this work, yes! This monograph describes a whole series of changes in botanical nomenclature, perhaps the most significant alterations since the publication of Linnaeus’ Species Plantarum in 1753. Indeed, these changes are so momentous that the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature no longer exists, becoming instead the more scientifically and politically correct International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). I find it personally satisfying that the rules allow for “certain forms of electronic publication” (p. x), or, to be more exact according to Article 29, “electronic material in Portable Document Format (PDF) in an online publication with International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) or International Standard Book Number (ISBN)” (p. 63). Hallelujah! Welcome to the twenty–first century, Taxonomy. There is much in this work that will alter and modernize taxonomy; hence, I see this work as both a joy to read (a claim that could not be made for many earlier versions of the Code) as a historically significant document. To some, these dramatic renovations represent a real “sea change” (my use of “sea change” correlates to Shakespeare’s original sense, from The Tempest: “But doth suffer a sea–change, into something rich and strange”). I instead see these augmentations making taxonomy more accessible, and less of an arcane science. This book is recommended to any library serving taxonomists, as well as those libraries with strong biological and botanical collections. There may be more than a few individuals ready to see this work as a new addition to their personal reference collections.

— Edward J. Valauskas, Curator of Rare Books, Lenhardt Library, Chicago Botanic Garden