Micscape Review

The Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club on CD 1868-1992

 

 

Introduction

A fascimile set of the Quekett Microscopical Club Journals from 1868 to 1992 has recently been completed on a set of CD's. This is a very exciting development for the Club and should prove to be a very valuable resource, which is available to both members and non-members of the QMC.

The peer reviewed Journal includes a wealth of articles on microscopy (primarily optical) of interest to both the amateur and professional. It is heavily illustrated with many fine photographs and line drawings. Many distinguished names in microscopy, both amateurs and professionals have contributed to the Journal since its inception.

Groups of organisms of perennial interest to the microscopist are particularly well covered especially rotifers, diatoms, algae, protozoa and includes both practical articles on their study to reports of new species.

Many aspects of the history of the microscope and microscopy are covered, some on less well known but fascinating topics e.g. Darwin's microscopes and microscopic work, and the development of the McArthur field microscope.

The Journal has recently covered topics such as homemade designs for electronic flash photomicrography, the use of video in microscopy and the role of the digital computer and the Internet in microscopy.

 

The Journal on CD set

The Journal is supplied on four CD's and is attractively presented in a black card box with gold lettering. An image of the boxed set and further details, including fascimile page examples, are shown on the 'Quekett' Web site. The set was produced for the Club by Cornwall Business Systems.

The fascimiles of the Journal pages are stored on the CD as jpeg images, and a good choice has been made for an image size that is readable but still easy to manipulate. For some Journal pages with finer detail a larger image format has been used so that readability is maintained. To access the indexes and journal page images, the QMC have sensibly chosen an existing software package ideal for this purpose i.e. the html web markup language. Netscape v.4.01 is provided on the first CD of the set for those who don't have a web browser.

The Introduction on the CD states master scans at higher resolution are available which in due course may enable newer technologies such as DVD to be exploited to store all the Journals on one disc.

The set is dedicated to Leslie V. Martin a sadly missed leading light of the 'Quekett' and who left a generous bequest to the Club. Part of the bequest has been used to produce the set and is a fitting tribute to his contributions to the Club.

A superb text based indexing system is provided on the CD set to search and access the fascimile pages. This is based on M. Newstead's printed Cumulative Index to the Journals (1868-1992) published by the QMC in 1994. (It was the availability of this Index that in part prompted the Journal on CD project). This Index has been enhanced for the CD and is extensively cross-referenced. Any of the four CD's can be in the drive to use the Indexes.

 

In Use

I found the CD set very easy to use and the instructions provided give sound advice. On a 15inch 800x600 screen the text is small but readable. For extended reading on screen some users may wish to use a 640x480 screen to display larger page images (as suggested in the Introduction on the CD).

The CD Indexes cleverly allows access to the Journal entries by a variety of routes i.e by Volume, Species, Author, Subject, Obituaries, Presidential Address etc. Even the adverts of the period in each Journal can be viewed. The author and subject lists are alphabetical with rapid access to each letter, and the Find button in the web browser can be used for a keyword search. A clear indication of when the CD has to be changed is given. I have an early 2X CD drive and had no problems with rapid access.

The web pages which display each image of a Journal page provide links to the previous and next page of an article as well as to major indexes. Preparing a unique web page for each fascimile of a Journal page was no mean feat in itself.

For off-screen viewing, the page fascimiles can either be printed directly from the web page, or as suggested in the Introduction on the CD, via any of the popular image editing programmes. The latter route (which I preferred) allows the fascimile images to be adjusted in size to suit and then printed out. The image filenames correspond to the original Journal page numbers and is therefore quite straightforward to print out an article within image editing software.

 

Conclusion

The CD set is an excellent resource and has been very carefully thought out and implemented. The Club and all the people involved from its conception through to production deserve the highest praise.

The CD set should prove an invaluable resource to a wide range of microscopists both amateurs and professional, and is excellent value at 85 ($142) for QMC members (and 150 for non-members). It is available in versions for both the IBM PC and Macintosh.

Purchasing details are provided on the 'Quekett' Web site.

Review by Dave Walker.

Acknowledgements: Links to and information on the Quekett site are courtesy of Tony Saunders-Davies, the QMC site webmaster, and Charles Hussey. Also thanks to Charles Hussey, who is one of the leading organisers of the 'Journal on CD' venture, for additional details and help.

 

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