Information: Finding it and presenting it
The access systems and botanical information outlined in Chapters 4 to 6 form the basis of any field guide, together with illustrations, described in Chapter 8. However, a field guide usually contains a considerable amount of additional information other than simply botanical description. In Chapter 3, we described ways in which to decide how much information is appropriate to the purpose and user group of the guide. This might include background information about the area and the plants to be included, in an introduction; details about the uses or ecology of each species; and sources of further information, such as conservation organizations that the user might like to contact. But where does this information come from, how do we know that it is accurate, and what is the best way of organizing and presenting it? This chapter provides guidance on methods for collecting, checking and organizing information. It considers various sources of information and methods for gathering material from these sources; questions of accuracy, validity and comprehensibility; and sorting your results in a manageable way and preparing them for inclusion in the guide. As well as checking the accuracy of the information, we emphasize the need to check that typical users can understand and access the information once it has been written up and formatted on the page.