An Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terminologies: An Easy Approach to Plants [sic] Terms. Hasnain Nangyal. 2015. Bentham Science Publishers. (ISBN 978-1-68108-095-9). 165 pp. eBook. $39.00
The copy reviewed was "watermarked" as "Review Copy: Not for sale" so it is not clear whether this is a final edition or a beta release. As is the nature of the electronic publishing business, updates are easy to produce, making a review at least potentially (maybe likely) focusing on a moving target.
The cover page is an attractive collage of colorful photographs of plants. After some legal pages pertaining to the review edition is a Table of Contents (TOC). But each entry there is the alphabetical start page number; this is not too valuable for an electronic book that is easily scrolled to the right letter of the alphabet by simply pausing on pages during the scroll. Moreover, the page numbers in the TOC refer but do not electronically connect to those printed at the top of the electronic pages, but not to the page numbers in the viewing application. The format is a plain PDF, so the usual click on the TOC numbers or topics to jump to the pertinent page, or a tabbed alphabetical system on the page edges is missing. This is not a refined e-book as a Kindle or iBook user would think of it. For example, printed page 81 is page 87 in the app. This disconnect is likely due to the legalese pages inserted at the opening, and the cover page(s).
The Author Information, Foreword, Preface, Acknowledgements, and Introduction pages follow. Here the formal writing does not meet expectations for smooth English sentences; more editorial help is needed here with use of articles, number agreement, word choice, context sense of sentences, agent-action agreement, etc. It would not set an good example for students.
This e-glossary is 100% alphabetical in organization. This permits one who has found an unknown term in a document to determine its meaning while reading that document. However, without a topical organization as well (such as found in the printed illustrated glossary cited in this book), this glossary is not helpful in determining exactly which term works best to describe a botanical situation when the user is writing a manuscript. This reduces its value to students and teachers compared with the print-book competition.
In a similar way, this glossary does not assist in the form of adding a "see also" and then listing topical synonyms and antonyms or related terms. For example antesepalous is defined but does not refer the reader to antepetalous nor is that term even in the glossary. It also does not refer the reader to, nor does it include diplostemonous or obdiplostemonous or haplostemonous or isostemonous as related terms. Similarly, the definition of adnate does not assist with "(contrast with connate)."
What about the quality of the definitions? The entries in the glossary are defined in English that again needs some editorial polish and typographic correction. The definitions also suffer from use of the words in their own definition. For example "Abaxial petiole canal: A petiole canal on the abaxial surface of a petiole." This entry offers three words that are ALL used in the definition of their combination! The definition of abaxial alone is better-- "Abaxial: The lower surface of the leaf, away from axis." The definitions of petiole and canal are likewise fairly good. So the definition for abaxial petiole canal could be improved by simple substitution using the definitions of the individual terms found elsewhere in the glossary!
Since this is classified as an illustrated glossary, are there lots of illustrations and are they of good quality? The review edition typically has about 13 glossary items on a page and there is typically one or two illustrations on a page. The competition in the paper world has more glossary items on a page (about 20 or so, using two columns) and there are about 12 illustrations per page. So the e-book has many more terms lacking illustration than the print book. While some of the e-book illustrations are in color and some even include photographs, the e-book sketches are more crude and unrefined, with less detail than in the print book competition.
Another item not found in this eBook are organized ways to find the correct term while writing on a topic. The print competition, for example, has a 32-step dichotomous key to the different terms one might need to describe an epidermal surface. The print book has a 15-step key to determine the correct terms for an inflorescence followed up with diagrams and example sketches of each of the inflorescence types.
At the end of the glossary, the book has a Bibliography that includes Harris and Harris's (though cited incorrectly!) standard print-book glossary which has more definitions, more and better illustrations, and is grouped both alphabetically and topically. Since the print book is available for half the price of this e-book, the e-book is really no competition at all.
Ross E. Koning
Eastern Connecticut State University
Koning, R. E. 2016. Plant Biology. An Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terminologies: An Easy Approach to Plants [sic] Terms [Invited Book Review]. American Biology Teacher 78(1): 78-79.