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Raptor Research and Management Techniques - Chapter: 1 Page: 11 - THE RAPTOR LITERATURE

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The Raptor Literature


The Peregrine Fund,

5668 W. Flying Hawk Lane, Boise, ID 83709 U.S.A.


Doldersummerweg 1, 7983 LD Wapse, The Netherlands


Research Center for Biodiversity,
Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan 115


Falconry Heritage Trust,

P.O. Box 19, Carmarthen, Dyfed SA335YL, U.K.


We are currently experiencing a dramatic change in scholarly disciplines, as we shift from traditional print publications to electronic forms of communication. During this transition, many venerable journals are producing parallel electronic versions and others are completely discontinuing their print versions. Many libraries are discarding large quantities of paper copies of infrequently consulted publications and turning instead to electronic text, data storage, and information transfer. Simply put, the world of information storage and transfer is a moving target.

That said, this chapter provides a brief overview of important recent global raptor literature, lists the major technical journals with useful raptor content, and highlights the most important databases containing raptor literature. Emphasis is on identifying entry points into

relevant raptor literature, rather than providing a thorough historical review. We focus on regions most familiar to us, and have touched lightly on the raptor literature of some parts of the world.

Raptor researchers suffer from two chronic problems: too little information and too much information. Traditionally, most researchers, regardless of their discipline, have suffered from a lack of access to the whole spectrum of global literature. Few libraries offer comprehensive coverage of all types of raptor literature, and even now, the major online abstracting services, although extremely valuable, do not yet provide access to the full text of most articles. Language differences also have posed perennial barriers to communication, and few, if any, abstracting services adequately cover the literature in all of the world's major languages.

Now, with a flood of information on its way onto the worldwide web, we run the risk of descending from the Information Age into a state of information chaos. As a result, raptor literature is becoming increasingly vast and amorphous. In his chapter on this topic in the first edition of this manual, LeFranc (1987) stated that approximately 370 and 1,030 raptor-related publications were listed in the 1970 and 1980 issues of Wildlife Review, respectively. By now, we suspect that at least three times as many useful raptor-related articles are being published annually. It is impossible for any but the world's largest research libraries to keep pace with this torrent of information, yet staying abreast of current studies is a prerequisite for effective research on raptors or any other topic.

Although the Internet makes it possible to gain access to an enormous amount of information, users may find it difficult to deal with the overwhelming mass of detail that has accumulated on the web, much of it

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