Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Herman's Catalogue of Staphylinidae

I received my copy of Lee Herman's catalogue in early 2002, while still a graduate student at the University of Kansas. I was actually too shy to write Lee and ask for a copy so Michael Engel did it for me. I remember thinking that there was no reason Lee would send me - a still unknown entity with just one publication -  a copy, but of course I was wrong.

I think it has been by far the most influential publication in my career. Yes, nothing is perfect, and like any paper it has some errors and omission (Aleocharinae, Paederinae...) but I would have been so lost without this, especially early in my life as a graduate student. I still open the volume that contains the Xanthopygina (the one specially bound in the picture) at least once every week. I think it is fair to say that my productivity would have been significantly impacted (in a negative way) if Lee has not published this work.

The amount of work required to produce something as massive as this is almost beyond comprehension and this is why other catalogues spend so much time in the [unpublished database] stage.

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