I need further information on a botany paper I found on jstor which is from the 1920s. So I am assuming the workers wouldn't still be alive. Sadly, there has no work been done in recent times on the subject.

What is to be done if I require further/supplementary information if the corresponding author doesn't exist?

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    What kind of information do you need?
    – ff524
    Oct 31, 2016 at 4:59
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    When you are interested in an old paper, you can look to see what was written since then on the same topic and by the same authors. Whatever you find is what you have to work with. (If you are very serious about it, you could look to see if any of the work of the authors has been kept in an archive or library.) I'm not sure I understand what it means to "require further/supplementary information" in such a situation. And why is it "sad" that there is no recent work done on the subject? Oct 31, 2016 at 5:39
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    Do you have access to some major library? (Library of Congress/British Library etc.) - going to a library is actually visceral fun in a weird sense, more so than googling results, even if it takes more time. If you need the topic, it might be worth a trip. Oct 31, 2016 at 8:58
  • Talk to a research librarian! If there isn't a "Research help" desk, go to circulation and ask how you can talk to a research librarian for help. Some libraries let you make appointments online, but that's not as fun, and in the long-term you should know your librarians. :) Oct 31, 2016 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


You could contact their institution (or its successor), explain your issue and ask if you can access its archive. There is at least a chance that supplementary information or even a specimen preparation can be found there. Obviously, going through an archive can be a big effort.

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