Category: Reference Books

    Book: Guide to Microlife

    In 1996 Kenneth G. Rainis and Bruce J. Russell published a full colour highly illustrated book that introduces the plants and animals you might encounter in samples viewed under a compound microscope. It helps a beginner micro-naturalist to identify and understand the organisms encountered but also offers advice on where to go to find the habitats so they can be collected.

    At the back of the book is good solid information on the equipment and techniques needed to collect and view the organisms referenced in the main text. The book can be read with a microscope present, but of course works best when comparing a live image with the the images in the book.

    Publisher information

    ISBN 0-531-11266-7 Paper bound and published by Franklin Watts (A Division of Grolier Printing) 1996 The authors are Kenneth G. Rainis and Bruce J. Russell.

    Book: Complete Book of the Microscope

    Another Good Book for Beginners

    A big team of authors developed this book about the microscope for a beginner. It is richly illustrated and aimed at younger audiences. In fact any adult would be comfortable reading and learning from the text. Although the book is undated but I would guess that it was published about 2005. It may have been updated since the publication of the copy that I purchased.

    The book is linked to a website on the internet (which incidentally is difficult to find on its own). See

    Publisher information

    It was published by and is billed as being “internet-linked”.

    Book: Insect Microscopy

    A great book for beginner users of the Microscope

    The focus of this book is on the study of insects with a microscope. The book contains colour pictures on almost every page. It is interesting to read. It contains plenty of reference information too.

    The study of insects is an easily accessible focus of interest for a micro-naturalist. Most of the techniques that the author presents and explains are directly applicable to the study of any microscopic organism. Insects can be found everywhere even if you live in the center of a large city. Insects present endless possibilities for study under a microscope too. Even if you already have some experience with microscopes, or if you are a new entrant to the hobby, this is an excellent book to own and use.

    This is a great book for beginners to the hobby use of the microscope. It presents the details of modern microscope techniques and procedures.

    The Book Cover



    What’s in the Book?

    The book contains chapters devoted to equipment, microscopes, media for mounting, compounds and chemicals, slide mounting and publishing your work. Clearly ‘citizen science’ was on his mind when he wrote this book.

    Publisher information

    Author Andrew Chick is an entomologist (he studies insects) and teaches at the University of Lincoln in the UK.You will find this book through online booksellers. It was published in 2016 by The Crowood Press ISBN 978-1-78500-201-4 128 pages. It is paper bound.

    Categories: Reference Books

    Book: Introduction to Digital Photomicrography

    The new book (2017) written by Brian Matsumoto and Carol Rouillard is the most up-to-date book on this topic that I have been able to find. It is filled with practical information about modern microscopes, but more to the point, it covers modern digital cameras and their use. Most books on the market are stuck in the past offering advice on adapting SLR cameras which are seldom used today.

    The book covers making movies as well as images, and contains lots of tables and reference material that could be difficult to locate even on the internet. If you only own one book on digital microscope photography this should be the one.

    Publisher information

    The authors are Brian Matsumoto and Carol Rouillard. ISBN 9781785003042 The Crowood Press 2017

    Book: Safe Microscopic Techniques For Amateurs

    A Good Book for Beginners

    The late Walter Dioni was a proponent of using safe techniques and materials while enjoying microscopy. A new micro-naturalist often needs assistance in learning how to make good use of the microscope. In fact, anyone who has taken a course in biology will know that for decades the materials used to preserve specimens and slides were often dangerous to use. Some of them have been lately declared unsafe or even have been banned. It is no longer necessary to use these chemicals to enjoy all aspects of the hobby.

    This book shows how safe, easy to obtain, substitutes can be used for mounting specimens on microscope slides. The book is a collection of articles, previously published in the excellent online Micscape Magazine by its editor Mol Smith. The book gives illustrated examples of the techniques with a complete “how-to” approach to the techniques.

    Publisher information

    This book was published in 2014. ISBN: 9781499746518 Printed in Middletown DE.

    Book: Microscopy as a Hobby

    A good beginner level book

    Mol Smith’s book, published in 2014 presents “a 21st Century Quick Start Guide” that will bring anyone easily into the microscope hobby. Mol Smith, the editor of Micscape Magazine by its editor Mol Smith is an acknowledged world authority on the use of the amateur microscope.

    Most introductory books are decades old but this one gives the information for parents, teenagers or mature adults needed to get started (or restarted). This is now a high tech activity that rivals the excitement of any modern interest group and the tools needed have become very accessible. It is really useful for a micro-naturalist.

    The book recommends safe-to-use chemicals, and easily obtainable equipment that allows anyone to learn to access the hidden and unseen world under a microscope.

    Publisher Information

    This little book (142 pages) gives everything you need to know to get going. I own it, and I recommend it to you. Available online ISBN: 9781500301651 printed at Middletown DE USA.

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    Good Reference Book on Diatoms

    This is a good starter reference book to diatoms. They are tiny creatures that can be easily seen under the microscope. Its fun to see them but much more rewarding to be able to identify them. I capture my samples with a plankton net.

    Diatoms are excellent subjects for study by amateurs under the microscope. They occur in lots of locations so besides being beautiful they are easily found in marine and freshwater settings. Diatoms are recognizable by their silca-based ‘shells’ called frustules.These are in two halves, and contain the living organism.

    A good guide to diatoms is William Vinyard’s book which is available from online book dealers. This book will bring pleasure to the viewing of diatoms because it gives an easily followed identification index. It also provides lots of background on the biology of diatoms.

    The book

    Book Cover

    Some Images of Marine Diatoms from the Georgia Strait British Columbia



    Categories: Plants, Reference Books