Echoing the Physics Meta question and Math.Meta.SE on this topic, does Biology.SE have the will and use case for building a community list of books? Such a list has successfully been curated on the Physics.SE, and I would honestly appreciate this for Biology.SE. One can also see that there are some questions requesting for book recommendations on a variety of subjects. These observations suggest to me that there might be a want and use case, but I would appreciate the perspectives of others that have ideas about this option.

Do we need/want an overarching books question?

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    $\begingroup$ It seems like a nice idea, although using the tags are useful in this regard too, as you show in your question. However, in an organized post it may be easier for others to look for the correct book, instead of sifting through the questions list. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Jun 30, 2021 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have the energy or excitement to help build a list like this, but I'd add a couple sources in my own area if we had it. I think we'd want to decide whether having the list means book request questions are off-topic; I'm kind of both ways on that. On one hand, a lot of book requests are pretty low-effort (canadianer pretty much covers my view here: biology.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3102/27148 and then goes on to suggest what you do); on the other hand, I support learners' goals to do reading on their own, and a book suggestion gets them a step closer to it. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Jul 2, 2021 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


I am personally against book recommendation questions because it is generally very difficult to know at precisely what level a poster is at, and few of us have read enough books on a particular topic to be able to provide an objective recommendation. A list of books would have similar problems.

What I think might be useful is a list of sources of information for different areas covered in SE Biology, as is done in SE English Language and Usage, which I sometimes frequent. This would be mainly sources of Information on the Internet and would be to point people at who had not done their Homework before posting. However the problems I see with this are:

  • Getting People to do the work. My experience in trying to initiate something for Covid in January 2020 was not particularly encouraging. I could cover some aspects of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, but would anyone cover other areas?
  • Getting People to use it. They tend not to take kindly to being asked to go away and come back after they have done some research on a topic.
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your thoughtful input, David. I think those main problems are only empirically verifiable. It seemed to work for SE Physics, but perhaps SE Biology users are different. Perhaps the project could be treated as an experiment. $\endgroup$
    – Galen
    Jul 13, 2021 at 15:02

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