In this final contribution to the University Press Week Blog Tour (November 12-17), Harriet Kim provides a selection of interesting science books that she recently brought back into print as part of UTP’s Heritage Book Project. For today’s theme of #TurnItUP: Science, Harriet provides some fascinating picks from our backlist.
By Harriet Kim
University of Toronto Press carries a rich history in the breadth and depth of scholarly, reference, and general interest books published since our founding in 1901. Expanding on our tradition of advancing knowledge, the Heritage Book Project aims to increase access to our books by bringing out-of-print titles back into circulation as ebooks and as print-on-demand paperbacks. Titles date from 1928 to 2011 and range in categories from health sciences and medicine to philosophy, anthropology, politics, mathematics, and literature. We are making these important heritage resources available for a new generation of readers and learners to discover and to continue outreach to academic communities in their engagement of critical and innovative scholarship.
When I think of a new generation of readers and learners, I think of many of my friends, colleagues, and peers who are pursuing a variety of career paths and could possibly benefit from having these resources. I think of, for example, those pursuing careers in science – as science educators, climate change researchers, and epidemiologists – and the heritage titles that cater to their work.
I also think of the readers and learners who could benefit from this series in a less traditional or obvious way. Working on this series and having firsthand access to these resources has been a learning process for me, too. I think about a younger version of myself with her love of science and her many dreams of becoming everything from astronomer to zoologist. As someone who pursued a different path from the sciences, this has been a unique way for me to be doing what I am doing in publishing but also continue chasing my curiosity of the sciences.
Here is a roundup of some science titles from Heritage Book Project that piqued my curiosity:
Forest Regeneration in Ontario: Based on a Review of Surveys Conducted in the Province during the Period 1918-1951 (1953) by R.C. Hosie, “presents a general view of the nature of tree reproduction on cut-over forest land, an analysis of the procedure in conducting and reporting regeneration surveys, and conclusions and recommendations for the conducting of future surveys.”
The Snakes of Ontario (1957), by E.B.S Logier, gives an account of “the natural history of snakes, or how to identify those found in Ontario.”
Bacteriology Primer in Air Contamination Control (1967) by V. Victor Kingsley, provides a basic overview of the “problems in bacteriology which would help in the understanding, handling, and moving of ‘clean’ (uncontaminated) air to and from critical areas.”
The Life Puzzle: On Crystals and Organisms and on the Possibility of a Crystal as an Ancestor (1971), by A.G. Cairns-Smith, advances the author’s theories on the origin of life, with considerations of molecular biology and chemistry.
The Natural Alien: Humankind and Environment (1993) by Neil Evernden, “evaluates the international environmental movement and the underlying assumptions that could doom it to failure.”
Wild Things: Nature, Culture, and Tourism in Ontario, 1790-1914 (1995), by Patricia Jasen, “shows how the region now known as Ontario held special appeal for tourists seeking to indulge a passion for wild country or act out their fantasies of primitive life.”
The Discovery of Insulin: The Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition (2000), by Michael Bliss, recounts the fascinating story behind the discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921-22: “a story as much filled with fiery confrontation and intense competition as medical dedication and scientific genius.”
The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research (2007), by Kenton Kroker, is the “first ever history of sleep research, drawing on a wide range of material to present the story of how an investigative field – at one time dominated by the study of dreams – slowly morphed into a laboratory-based discipline.”
The magnitude of such a project is not lost on me – from the figurative weight of UTP’s history represented in this series to the literal weight of all the books that are sent for scanning! Since 2014, we have brought nearly 1,000 titles back into circulation and over 1,600 titles will end up in the Heritage Project. It has been and continues to be a tremendous effort supported by continuously improving scanning and printing technology and more importantly, many people at University of Toronto Press, University of Toronto libraries, and the Toronto Reference Library.
Whether you are reading any of these titles out of interest (and maybe even indulging your nostalgia of a childhood dream) or as a way to support your research and work, I hope they will be invaluable learning resources for you, too.
To continue on the final day of the University Press Week Blog Tour, check out posts by these other fine university presses:
Rutgers University Press