foxy's picture

Reference book review / suggestion forum

I would like to know what others would think about a forum to review and or suggest Reference books to help id species.As much as I enjoy Ispot I still like to have a book or two at hand ,and in particular invertebrates are a huge area that gets bigger every time I go out in the field.
Meanwhile thanks to everybody for helping me over the last year.




miked's picture
several people have already had this idea, perhaps we need to signpost this more prominently rather than just in the forums

foxy's picture

Book reviews

Well we have a start wasn"t aware of other suggestions ,do think a bit more signposting of topic would help and also a agree/ disagree button to get others involved,thanks Ray for starting it off.


Ray Turner's picture

Contributors Please

Although I have made a start we are still lacking contributors so come on all you experts (and not quite so expert ;-) ) why not add something? I'm sure we all have a shelf full of reference books we have opinions on.


Matt Smith's picture

Layouts and pages?

I think it's a good idea, particularly for beginners. I'm just wondering if I-Spot were going to have a "reference book" section whether it should be a specific set of pages rather than a post in the forums.

The problem with the forums is that a) I don't think than many people come here and b)just adding "another" post to comment to an existing forum thread is not a particulalrly effective way of doing things. In particular, it's not searchable at all in any logical manner, so it would be hard for users to look up a book on a particular subject.

Here is a suggestion for the I-Spot team. How about a series of "Reference Book" pages that look more like Amazon or E-bay. Anyone can post up a book, complete with image of the cover and a series keywords eg "insects / hoverflies / Stubb / Falk / identification / keys" etc etc. That sits on show with details of the full title, authors, ISBN no etc. Search options would allow you to search for authors, title or key words to generate a list of particular books.

Along with the book details would be a "post review" option and a "rate this book" option. Once the book is on the list anyone who wished to contribute could add a review or rate the book, though ratings should only be allowed if posted with a comment or review.

The book details would list these along the lines of "This book has xx reviews", clicking on the button would take you to another page where you could read all the reviews.

Hope this is not too hard to visualise.

Tachinid Recording Scheme

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anonymous spotter's picture

Recommended Sources

I think this is a good idea in principle, but there are a couple of issues.
First, as soon as there is any commercial gain to be had, unscrupulous souls will try use such recommendations to further sales.
More important, perhaps, is that many of us now tend to look on-line for help. I have some good reference books, but almost all are "field guides", and only show one picture of the typical appearance(with perhaps a couple of insets of certain diagnostic features). Many organisms are quite variable, and a quick trawl of the Internet can show you the variety that can be found. Internet sources are also more easily updated, of course.
The down-side of on-line sources is that they can be unreliable, and are also prone to the vagaries of some search engines. You can also get a bit of a shock if you use any search term that has a sexual connotation (and I never cease to be amazed by how many words do!)
But I certainly find on-line sources at least as useful as my reference books, so I think you'd have to cater for them, too.

farkonsdowgeo's picture


Очень интересно почитать, жду продолжения.

miked's picture

Очень интересно почитать, жду

Очень интересно почитать, жду продолжения does this mean "very interesting to read and looking for continuation"?
If possible could you write in English for the moment, we may have versions of ispot with auto translation into whatever language you want or the main pages manually translated into specific languages later, its on the very long list of things we would like to do with the site.

anonymous spotter's picture

Concise British Flora in Colour

This isn't totally connected to your question, but it's probably the best place to put the info.

There is a second hand copy of "The Concise British Flora in Colour" (1969) by W.Keble Martin in the Amnesty bookshop in Brighton (near but not in the Gardening section). It's been there for ages (There were two but I nabbed the other one).

(I hope that I'm not doing anything commercial by mentioning the shop)

miked's picture

what do you think of that

what do you think of that flora? from dim distant memories of trying to use it there was quite a bit of 'getting use to' involved in looking at the pictures then actual plants and reading the limited descriptions. The Blamey floras rather took over when it came to illustration (and much more pocketable) and now there are a range of different illustrated ones by a variety of authors.

anonymous spotter's picture

I like it

I've got four books which complement each other (If this is too commercial, you can delete it!)

The Wild Flower Key has excellent descriptions and although it doesn't have 'extra info' pictures (eg fruits) for every plant, the ones it has are extremely good. It's also nice and compact for taking out.

Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe generally has excellent pictures and a lot more plants.

Grasses has very detailed descriptions, and pictures of 'grass parts', although it can be a bit hard for beginners to use.

And then we come to the Concise British Flora. The pictures are of the whole plant rather than parts, but (for me) are generally very true to real life and include grasses, rushes and sedges, and a few other extra plants that aren't in the other books. It's true that there are lots of pictures on the same page, but this is actually very good for comparing.

Basically, I look through the Concise British Flora first to get an idea of what flower or grass it might be, then I use the other books to help narrow it down to one specific plant.

There's a recommended books bit on the BSBI website: