From the UKMHL: Digitisation at the Royal College of Surgeons England

We are grateful for the opportunity to cross-post content from the Wellcome Library’s blog about the UK MHL project! This post originally featured there on 5/4/2015.

Over the next year the Library at the Royal College of Surgeons of England will be preparing almost 2,500 volumes to send to the Wellcome Library for digitisation as part of the UK Medical Heritage Library project. Carried out by a team-in-residence from Internet Archive at its Euston Road centre, this project will make our collections visible and accessible to a new, global audience.

Title page of Contrbution to Comparative Pathology

Handling the items as I prepare them for digitisation is fascinating and I am frequently surprised at the variety of titles that I come across. While some may seem puzzling to today’s reader (for instance Joseph Sampson Gamgee’s 1852 inquiry “into the reasons why the horse rarely vomits”, with a further inquiry apparently necessary in 1857), others contend with issues still hotly debated even today, for example the effectiveness or necessity of vaccines, the form medical education should take, or who has responsibility for caring for the poor. Taking time to systematically examine the items is also proving useful for another on-going project at RCS England – a review which assesses the care, use, condition and significance of our entire collections (find updates and images of our [re]discoveries on twitter @HunterianLondon#CollectionsReview ).

Unusually, RCS England’s contribution will come entirely from its tracts and pamphlet collection, and consists of almost 22,000 individual titles bound in 2,500 volumes. This represents almost 80% of the pamphlet collection in total. Each item must be individually flagged with its unique identifier, a process that has caused the Library Collections Manager to scale new heights of expertise using Microsoft mail merge. The pamphlets are as diverse as they are numerous and their inclusion in the UK Medical Heritage Library indicates their rarity and interest.

Slips. Image credit: Dot Fouracre

Funding from the Wellcome Trust made it possible to catalogue RCS England’s tracts and pamphlet collection over four years, and the online visibility of these records has already resulted in higher usage of the collection. The UK Medical Heritage Library represents the next stage in enabling as many people as possible to use it. Items from our collection are already starting to appear on the Internet Archive site, and we are looking forward to even more people discovering some of its delights and using them in new ways.

Author: Dot Fouracre is Collections Review Assistant at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and also works part-time at the Wellcome Library.

New to the MHL!

Check out some of the latest additions to our collection!

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Images from the Library

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From William P.C. Barton’s A flora of North America: illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature (Volume 2) (1821).

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlight: CSI (circa 1905)

Police procedurals — such as the popular CSI series and its spin-offs and imitators — were not the cultural presence in turn of the century America that they are today. The development of the detective story and the crime novel are fascinating topics in and of themselves, but so is the development of “legal medicine” — what we might now call “forensic pathology.”

Frank W. Draper was one of the original practitioners of legal medicine in Massachusetts. He held positions at Harvard University, first in 1877 as a lecturer in legal medicine under Professor Walter Channing and then in 1884 as a professor of the same subject. When the Office of the Massachusetts Medical Examiner was created in 1877 to replace the officer of the coroner, Draper was appointed as the first ME for the Commonwealth.

Draper wrote one of the original North American texts on legal medicine, A text-book of legal medicine in 1905 — as with many professors since his appointment, he had to create the textbook for the classes he taught.

Flip through the pages below or visit A text-book of legal medicine to read Draper’s full text.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Celebrating Nurses

National Nursing Week closed formally yesterday but we figured we could stand another day of celebrating nursing professionals. Check out some of the titles we have on nurses and nursing below!

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Images from the Library

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From William P.C. Barton’s A flora of North America: illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature (Volume 2) (1821).

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

While We Were Out…

…new items were being added to our collection steadily! Here are a few:

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

In Case You Missed It….

We had a wonderful time at the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences and American Association for the History of Medicine conferences in New Haven, Connecticut, last week. If you were there, we hope you did, too!

In case you happened to miss them, here are a few highlights from our time…

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Images from the Library

Spring flowers for May!

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From William P.C. Barton’s A flora of North America: illustrated by coloured figures, drawn from nature (Volume 2) (1821).

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

As Requested by AAHM15!

The Medical Heritage Library (MHL) is a digital curation collaborative committed to free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine. Currently comprised of 25 libraries and special collections in North America and the United Kingdom, the MHL holds more than 75,000 digitized monographs, journals, videos, audio recordings, and other cultural heritage objects. We are always seeking new collaborators and users!

Search the MHL

Full Text MHL Search: http://mhl.countway.harvard.edu/search/

MHLbookworm: https://593b7163.ngrok.com/

Catalog only: https://archive.org/details/medicalheritagelibrary

Browse the MHL

Via list of American Medical Journals: http://ow.ly/LiFVP

Via MHLbookworm: https://593b7163.ngrok.com/

Follow the MHL

Website (blog and news): http://www.medicalheritage.org/

Twitter: @MedicalHeritage

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/medicalheritagelibrary

Contact the MHL

Email: MedicalHeritage@gmail.com

Project Co-ordinator: hanna_clutterbuck@hms.harvard.edu

Phone: 617-432-2666

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