World Book Day 2019

World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day is a yearly event on 23 April, organized by UNESCO. The purpose of the day is to recognize the importance of books, authors and copyright for spreading ideas and knowledge, and to contribute to the understanding and tolerance between people. In 1995 the UNESCO General Conference made the following proclamation at their session in Paris:

The General Conference,

Considering that historically books have been the most powerful factor in the dissemination of knowledge and the most effective means of preserving it,

Considering consequently that all moves to promote their dissemination will serve not only greatly to enlighten all those who have access to them, but also to develop fuller collective awareness of cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire behaviour based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue,

Considering that one of the potentially most effective ways to promote and to disseminate books – as shown by the experience of several UNESCO Member States – is the establishment of a ‘Book Day’ and the organization of events such as book fairs and exhibitions on the same day,

Noting furthermore that this idea has not yet been adopted at international level,

Adopts the above-mentioned idea and proclaims 23 April of every year ‘World Book and Copyright Day’, as it was on that date in 1616 that Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died.

Reading books and learning from other people’s stories widen the reader’s knowledge and perception of the world. Unfortunately this is not something that is appreciated in all parts of the world, nor has it always been appreciated throughout history. Books have through all times been censored, banned and / or destroyed because they had the “wrong” content. The book may have contained stories or facts about religion, they may have had too detailed descriptions of sexual acts, maybe they contained rebellious elements or there was another element for “wrongness”. For those who want to read about banned books of all time, please see the books Banned Books – four books about books that have been banned because of political, social, sexual and religious grounds.

Having the ability to read, and in addition having access to all sorts of books should be every person’s right in the world we live in today, but unfortunately it is not so. Hence the need for World Book Day! Remember the famous words from Malala Yousafzai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014:

let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.

As you all know, the library is full of books for you to borrow. In the picture you can see some of the books the library has on the topic “reading”. Welcome to the library to borrow a book on any topic to celebrate this years World Book Day!
worldbookdayText & picture: Katharina Nordling

Things to consider when reading a scientific text

To sit down and read a text may seem like a simple thing to do, but there is a difference between texts and texts – here are some tips on how to think when you’re reading a scientific text. 

Scientific texts have often the following structure IMR(A)D: Introduction, Method, Results (Analysis) and Discussion. But first in all scientific articles is the abstract. The abstract is a summary with the purpose to give you a quick indication on whether the article is of interest to you or not. It should contain some type of purpose for the study, how the study was done, what results were found and what conclusions could be drawn.

  • Then, the introduction follows, with two purposes: To create interest as well as to put the study into a general context by presenting previous research.
  • The method section describes which methods have been used to answer the questions. This section is important to read carefully so that you can determine the validity, that is how reasonable and correct the conclusions are.
  • Results present what the research data shows and it can be visualised with figures and tables.
  • In the ending discussion section the current study is related back to previous research and the current results are put in context. In the discussion, you should also find the conclusions made from the study.

When reading a text try to find the main points in the text. Perhaps you can also find what is surprising, unexpected or different from previous research or if there is something that is rarely focused on other research.

When you read a scientific text, you can consider and answer the following questions:

  • What is the problem that this text is trying to answer? Why is this question important to answer?
  • Is the used method the best to answer the questions or is there a better method?
  • What are the specific results? Can I summarize them in a couple of sentences?
  • Are the results supported by the research data?
  • Are there other ways to interpret the research data which the authors didn’t address?
  • In which way are the results unique/new/unusual/ or supporting compared to other related research in the area?
  • How can the results be related to what I am interested in? To other texts I’ve read?
  • Are there some specific applications presented in the text? Which future experiments could be done? Are there unanswered questions or are the results open for new questions?

You can also draw inferences, like in this example:

“Rett Syndrome is a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder and one of the most common causes of mental retardation in females with an incidence of 1 in 10000-15000.”[1]

Comment: Hmmm…can it be related to a gene on the X-chromosome since its one of the most common causes in females… How common is that?

You should also take notes while reading. The best case scenario is that you take notes electronically, because you probably will find a specific note much easier later on. One way to do this is to create a template that you fill in for each text you are reading. Then your reading will be systematically documented and it may also help you in reading. The Library has also created a Google Drive document that you can download and use. You can download the template in a couple of different formats (Choose File and the Download as…).

Text: Pieta Eklund & Katharina Nordling
Photo: Mostphotos

[1] Ballestar, E., Yusufzai, T.M., & Wolffe, A.P. (2000) Effects of Rett Syndrome Mutations of the Methyl-CpG Binding Domain of the Transcriptional Repressor MeCP2
on Selectivity for Association with Methylated DNA. Biochemistry, 31, 7100-7106