Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
THE PARK INFORMATION MANUAL AND OTHER MANUALS
By Geo. C. Ruhle
The park information manual is a compilation of articles and other data largely in cyclopedic form and systematic arrangement. It makes readily available a great variety of information, and is intended for use not only among members of the Educational Division, but for other park employees as well.
Purpose: Its purpose is to make available in simple form a great amount of important information. It must be thoroughly accurate and reliable as far as possible. Without sacrifice of utility, its contents must be concise. It should always be kept up to date, It is not intended that it should supplant technical bulletins, books, and other sources of information, but is complimentary to such sources.
Arrangement: The park manual is divided into three main sections.
(1) The plan of administration of educational activities.
(2) A manual of instruction.
(3) A manual of information.
The plan of administration is a brief statement of principle of current operation to serve as a guide for immediate use and as a basis for further expansion. It is subject to official revision as far as practical experience and changing conditions demand. Its adoption through official channels makes it the official plan of operative procedure.
The Manual of Instruction contains articles and outlines describing the work at various centers. Descriptions of various Nature walks, method of procedure, division of time, etc.
The Manual of Information is subdivided into a score of divisions each pertaining to a certain branch of science. Each of these divisions should contain a general survey of the subject within the park, complete but concise descriptions of various forms and species and their distributions within the park. All space will vary with importance. Complete references must always be included, as well as information as to the identity of the person who prepared articles in the manual. Each manual should contain as complete a bibliography as possible on all subjects related to the park.
Format of the Manual: Manuals should be mimeographed on standard government letter-size paper (8 x 10-1/2). The lines should be single spaced unless expediency demands otherwise. The contents should be bound or otherwise kept in some position so that the number of pages is flexible, to permit revisions as often as necessary without undue expense.
A Manual of Information for Employees: Some parks are planning or preparing informative manuals for employees. These must be written in more popular style than the information manuals, but must be just as accurate and reliable. Their purpose is to acquaint employees in the park with authentic information which can be imparted to the visiting tourist.
Other Manuals: Other manuals such as park ranger manuals, fire fighting manuals, etc., are prepared by various parks. Park naturalists can often assist in preparation of these, but editorship is out of their hands.
It was proposed that a glossary be included as part of the Information Manual because, although these manuals are supposed to be non-technical in nature, certain technical terms are unavoidable. Park naturalists and ranger naturalists should be expected to understand these terms or to know how to look them up, but when the manual is placed in the hands of other park employees this will probably not be done. Therefore, the above suggestion.
The suggestion was made that it would be interesting to include in the manual brief accounts of the derivation of scientific and popular names of plants, animals, and other natural phenomena. Place names should also receive detailed consideration.
It was agreed that there should be an exchange of information manuals between all the parks.