The Medical Heritage Library wants your feedback!

The Medical Heritage Library is gearing up for its next round of strategic planning. To ensure that we’re meeting the needs of our users, we need to hear from you!

Please take a few minutes to take our short survey and let us know how you’re finding and using  MHL content and what you think our priorities should be.

Don’t know about the Medical Heritage Library? Even better! We’re a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries that promotes free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine through the Internet Archive. We recently incorporated and are in the process of obtaining 501(c)(3) status. This is a perfect time to check out our content and let us know what you think!

Save the Date: “Choosing Pathways to OA” Working Forum, Oct 16-17

~This post is courtesy Polina Ilieva, UCSF Archivist.

The Premise: 

Many within the scholarly community have been trying to achieve a large-scale transition to open access (“OA”) to scholarly literature for nearly twenty years. To date, only around 15% of peer-reviewed journal articles are published in fully open-access journalsAt this rate, realizing a full OA scholarly universe could take decades. If we within the research community are going to accelerate progress toward free readership for all, we must make critical choices about how we spend our money in supporting OA publishing.


To advance data-driven decision-making on these issues, in March 2018, the University of California (UC) libraries and the California Digital Library released the Pathways to Open Access toolkit. The Pathways toolkit analyzes the many approaches and strategies for advancing the large-scale transition to OA, and identifies possible next action steps for UC system-wide investment and experimentation.


We also designed the Pathways toolkit to be a practical resource for other institutions wrestling with the same choices. Now, we invite you to join us in this decision-making process to create localized plans suitable for your own institution or community.

The Call: 

Participate in a two-day working forum focused on action-focused deliberations about redirecting subscription and other funds toward sustainable open access publishing.

The Details: 

Who:   North American library or consortium leaders and key academic stakeholders are invited to substantively deliberate and develop plans for how they will repurpose budgets and subscription spends to support a transition to open access publishing.


The forum seeks to engage participants with relevant decision-making responsibilities involving subscriptions, licensing, collection development, publication policy, research funding, and other strategic areas. This may encompass more than one individual attending on behalf of an institution or community.


When:  October 16-17, 2018


Where: UC Berkeley (Berkeley, California)


What: A two-day working forum that inclusively engages participants in deliberations of OA approaches and strategies–with an eye toward empowering local decision-making. Diverse views on pathways for transitioning to open access are encouraged. The forum will be governed by a public statement of diversity and inclusion spanning from the planning process through the event itself. We are exploring ways to make portions of the event available remotely for those unable to attend in person.

Participants will have a meaningful opportunity to:

1.     Understand actionable mechanisms and opportunities for advancing the transition to OA

2.     Engage in facilitated, substantive exchange on the pragmatics of each of these strategies

3.     Accelerate their own action initiatives based upon the discussions

After first-day discussions, attendees will have dedicated time to further consider, align with, or plan for implementing various strategies, suitable for their institutions or communities.

For a preview of the panoply of OA approaches (Green, Gold Non-APC, Gold APC) and funding strategies that will serve as a basis for discussion and decision-making, please see the UC Libraries’ Pathways to OA toolkit.

How much:  This working forum is free to attend. No registration fees will be charged, and invited speaker travel and lodging will be covered by the University of California Libraries. Attendance includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and one dinner.

Additional details and a registration form are forthcoming.

Questions in the meantime may be directed to:

“Transplanting Technology: Dr. Michael DeBakey and Cold War Technology Transfer”

~Post courtesy Stephen Greenberg, Section HEad, Rare Books and Early Manuscripts, History of Medicine Division.

You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held Thursday, May 24, from 2 pm to 3:00pm in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD.  This special program will be the second annual NLM Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine, honors the legacy of Dr. DeBakey as it exists in modern medical practice and in the ongoing public service of the NLM.


This year’s lecture will be delivered by Heidi Morefield, MSc — 2017 NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellow in the History of Medicine, Doctoral Candidate, Department of the History of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland:

“Transplanting Technology: Dr. Michael DeBakey and Cold War Technology Transfer”

At the height of the Cold War, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, one of the most prolific American surgeons of the 20th century, made several trips to China and the USSR to survey the medical landscape on the other side of the Iron Curtain. DeBakey became a broker of valuable medical information, teaching new techniques and introducing new machines in the USSR and China, while reporting on the conditions of Chinese and Soviet medical institutions back home to the American public. His diplomatic success was possible in part because of his willingness to take less high-tech medical systems seriously—he praised the barefoot doctors and was “impressed” with Russian medical inventions that were showcased during his visits. With rich diary entries describing his visits, DeBakey understood medical technology as being appropriate only in context. He situated both the Western technology he helped transplant to the East as well as that which he encountered there within the topography of the Soviet and Chinese medical systems. In reflecting upon DeBakey’s Cold War travels, this talk will interrogate how his influence and mobility shaped perceptions of both American and communist-sphere medical technology

The NLM Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine is supported by a generous gift to the NLM by the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Foundation. This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.




All are welcome.

Big News!

We are pleased to announce that the Medical Heritage Library is now the Medical Heritage Library, Inc.! Thanks to the unceasing efforts of our working group and the kind donation of pro bono hours from a Philadelphia law firm, we are now formally incorporated.

Stay tuned for more news about what this means for the future of the MHL but rest assured: our collections will remain free and readily accessible.