Rudolf Jenny, chemist by training, working with Orchids since more than 30 years, especially interested and active in the subtribes Pleurothallidinae, Catasetinae and Stanhopeinae.
Author of monographs of Gongora, Sievekingia and Stanhopea.
Author of the worldwide most comprehensive database about Orchid literature Bibliorchidea.

ON: What is exactly Bibliorchidea?
RJ: It is a database about orchid literature in all its aspects, providing a fast and actual access to books and articles about or in connection with Orchidaceae. Special emphasis was given to taxonomy and systematics. Because of copyright regulations Bibliorchidea is a collection of citations only, together with a extensive list of keywords based on the “hard-copy” of the publication in one of the most complete orchid literature collections worldwide. For the people maintaining the database it is important to know what the potential user needs. Also in this case the spectrum is very broad, from a simple search for the correct spelling of a certain epithet to a search for literature as basis for a monograph or dissertation almost everything is possible. The structure of the database should ensure that questions from allover this area can be answered. Because no database is complete, it cannot be expected to get a complete list of publications about a certain issue, but the list has to be complete enough for a start.

ON: Why Bibliorchidea?
RJ: Literature is still playing a major role in science and research, on one side because it is a documentation of research already done and a demonstration of the results. On the other hand it is also a record about recent research. At least for the time being, literature search is a part of any scientific work or project. Whoever has done literature search knows about the difficulties to reach an overview of the literature in connection with a project in an acceptable time and with acceptable effort. Computer technology today provides us with a large selection of very helpful tools to limit time and effort for literature search.

ON: What kind of document does it concerne?
RJ: As explained above, literature still plays a very important role in science. In this context the term literature should not be defined too narrow, we have to accept a very broad collection of publications as literature. In botany – and in orchideology as a division of botany – we find, general scientific periodicals, occasionally with articles about orchids, scientific periodicals in the botanical field, occasionally with articles about orchids, orchid periodicals, with at least partially scientific content, society publications (Orchid Societies), dissertations, general floras or orchid floras, proceedings, abstracts and reports of congresses and symposiums, catalogues of all kind, travel and expedition reports, textbooks and basic research publications, bibliographies and Biographies, correspondence and letters

ON: How long have you been working in this project?
RJ: It has been developed over a period of about 15 years.

ON: Is the Bibliorchidea accessible through internet?
RJ: Yes, the actual form of Bibliorchidea as it is accessible through internet (

ON: Which is the method or the methods to do search on it?
RJ: You can use different kinds of search and also combinations of different search methods such as direct search for author and co-author, for the year of publication, for new descriptions in the respective fields, for keywords by direct selection from the keyword catalogue as single keyword or in connection with other keywords by using the connecting terms and / or (Boolean connections). You can also enlarge the result by using one of the above mentioned methods. Besides the search mechanisms, the software naturally allows the sorting of results by different criterions and the printout as list of documents or as single document with all the detailed information. Another possibility is the compilation of a cumulative index of a periodical. The actual version of the database Bibliorchidea allows institutional users also to build up an own database with Bibliorchidea as basis. Electronic lists of collections of specimens (herbariums), of illustrations (judging) or even a collection of scanned publications are possible without spending too much time for the fundamentals. According to the very fast technological development especially in the information technology it is extremely difficult to guess what development a database like Bibliorchidea will see in the next years.

ON: Which is the audience for Bibliorchidea?
RJ: Certainly Bibliorchidea will remain a most important tool for everybody who need orchid literature for profession or hobby. The important addition is the fact that all documents the user can find in Bibliorchidea are also available as physical copy, hence a very fast access is guaranteed.

ON: Would you say that it is complete?
RJ: Naturally also Bibliorchidea is not complete and there is much doubt whether it ever will reach completeness, but it will grow continuously. Today it contains more than 125,000 documents, included in this number are articles from all kind of periodicals, books or „single publications“, catalogues, dissertations, checklists, manuscripts and iconographies. All these documents, as far as they have been published, are included in a form with enough information to order them through a public or scientific library. One of the hopes for the future is that authors all around the world would realize that the best way to make their own publications known would be to send us a copy in order to add it to Bibliorchidea as fast as possible. This is especially important for publications which are not widely distributed, like dissertations.



ON: Thank you, Rudolf Jenny.

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