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Science and Technology Sources - Handouts: Step by Step with Bergey's Systematic Manual of Bacteriology

Here you can find the handouts and instructions for using many of the library's Science and Technology databases as well as Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology.

Step by Step with Bergey's Systematic Manual of Bacteriology

Step by Step with Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology

Bergey's is a multivolume set that offers in depth information on both bacteria and archea. Prokaryotes are microorganisms that lack a nuclear cell membrane and do not undergo mitosis. Bergey's is a must for any student who wishes to learn about a specific species, genus, family, or species or to know more about prokaryote taxonomy in general. Note: Bergey's is technically sophisticated, and requires at least high school biology and plenty of motivation.



1) Ebook Central offers Volumes 2-4 of the 2006/2011 version of Bergeys. You can learn more about searching Ebook Central Step by Step

The Clarkston and Dunwoody libraries have two older ersions of Bergey's. The 1984 version, which is outdated, does not rely heavily on RNA sequencing.

The 2001 version is more current, and all five volumes are available at the downtown Atlanta campus. If you do not find your prokaryote listed in the Twenty-first Century edition or do not want to travel, use a current microbiology textbook along with the 1984 Bergey's. Also please ask both a librarian and your professor for help.

There is also a 2015 Single Volume online version of Bergey's available through Wiley Online Library. Alas it is not full text. You can however, request, chapters via interlibrary loan (CampusID and password required).

2) If you are interested in prokaryote taxonomy, ecology, evolution, or in an order or phylum of bacteria or archea, the first hundred and sixty-nine pages of Bergey's (2001 edition) Volume 1 is a good place to start.


3) To find a specific prokaryote family, genus, or species use the Comprehensive Genus List (p.142-155) in Volume 1, and then the index in the back of the volume to which it sends you. If you are searching Bergey's in Ebook Central use each volume's table of contents and index since there is no multivolume index available. Follow the Genera List to the Indexes in our four volumes of Bergey's

4) Class, family, and genera descriptions come first. Species descriptions follow, though they are often separated by several pages. The binary keys beneath each taxon direct you to pages for narrower taxa, much like a choose-your-own adventure.

5) Articles on families, genera, and species these usually include the following:

  • Taxonomic name

  • Partial meaning in English

  • A short description of the inclusing the C+G /mol DNA percentage

  • A longer description that often includes electron micrographs
  • Distinguishing and identifying characteristics

  • A list of species that often include tables

  • Purification and testing procedures

  • A short list of additional readings and reference list

  • 6) For students interested in testing for and isolating a particular prokaryote, the testing and purification sections of each article are the most important. Many articles also include charts that indicate how species of bacteria grow under varying conditions and on different media.

    7) Bergey's is scarey. Having correct spelling for your family, genus, and/or species is VERY HELPFUL, and please don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help with this resource.