Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nature, Science, and Wildlife Conservation

Northern Californians can revel in a renewed sense of pride in our region's devotion to nature, science, and wildlife conservation this weekend when the reborn California Academy of Sciences opens the doors to its new home in Golden Gate Park. And while people will wait hours in line to take advantage of the free admission on opening day, here at the Magazines and Newspapers Center you can get a free fix of Nature, Science, and Wildlife Conservation any time the library's open.

Nature is a stalwart weekly science journal that publishes original research from a broad range of disciplines. You can look here for research-paper-quality articles, rigorously reviewed, with plenty of footnotes provided. About half of this journal is dedicated to research papers, the other half to news and opinion pieces, which make for interesting reading for anyone with even a passing interest in science. We have a full run of Nature, going back to 1869 [!], in this case available in paper. If you'd like to look at really old issues, give us a call at 415-557-4400 and let us know in advance so we can retrieve them from remote storage before you come in.

Science is the publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is considered to be one of the most prestigious multidisciplinary science journals in the world. Published weekly since 1880 (we have issues going back to 1883), Science consistently publishes original research from some of the most important names in science. This is heavy-duty stuff: Look here for footnotes, peer-reviewed articles, and technical charts and diagrams. The writers don't pull any punches with their use of technical language, so a reader should have either some scientific knowledge or some reference books handy. (Don't worry, we have a bunch of encyclopedias at the library.) This is highly respectable writing, and an excellent place to look for authoritative new scientific research and fodder for research reports.

Wildlife Conservation stands apart from the rest of this bunch for a couple of reasons: First, it focuses on one facet (albeit a huge facet) of science; and, it is written by journalists rather than researchers. These differences mean that, though the content may be less groundbreaking and authoritative, it's probably more interesting for people without much knowledge of scientific language. In other words, the Kermit the Frog quote from the August 2008 issue probably wouldn't cut muster at Science or Nature, but it's welcome here. Look in Wildlife Conservation for thoughtful features about animals that are facing difficulties in the modern world, and for some positive coverage of efforts to save those species from disappearing. Wildlife Conservation comes out once a month, and you can find the current issue on display in the reading room. Back issues are available upon request from the friendly pages at the Fifth Floor page desk.

A little knowledge about the world around you can make your trip to the California Academy of Sciences, to the beach, or to the forest that much more interesting, and we here at the Magazines and Newspapers Center have plenty of magazines to help you get up to speed on important issues of nature, science, and wildlife.

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