Digitization Collaborative Provides Open Access to Over 100 Years of American Medical History through the Internet Archive

The Medical Heritage Library has completed its National Endowment for the Humanities-funded initiative Medicine at Ground Level: State Medical Societies, State Medical Journals, and the Development of American Medicine, 1900-2000

Boston, MA, October 2, 2017. The Medical Heritage Library has released 3,907 state medical society journal volumes free of charge for nearly 50 state medical societies, including those for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, through the Internet Archive (http://www.medicalheritage.org/content/state-medical-society-journals/). The journals – collectively held and digitized by Medical Heritage Library founders and principal contributors The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine; The New York Academy of Medicine Library; the Library and Center for Knowledge Management at the University of California at San Francisco; the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health; the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University and Columbia University Libraries; and content contributor the Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland, Founding Campus, with supplemental journal content provided by the Brown University Library, the Health Sciences Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System, and UT Southwestern Medical Center Health Sciences Digital Library and Learning Center –  consist of almost three million pages that can be searched online and downloaded in a variety of formats. State medical society journals document the transformation of American medicine at both the local and national level, serving as sites not only for scientific articles, but for medical talks, local news regarding the medical profession, pharmaceutical and device advertising, and unexpurgated musings on medicine and society throughout the 20th century.

Project supporter and former president of the American Association for the History of Medicine, Distinguished Professor of History Nancy J. Tomes, Stony Brook University, notes: “The value of this collection lies precisely in the insights state journals provide on issues of great contemporary interest. They shed light on questions at the heart of today’s policy debates: why do physicians treat specific diseases so differently in different parts of the country? Why is it such a challenge to develop and implement professional policies at the national level? How do state level developments in health insurance influence federal policy and vice versa? How do factors such as race, class, gender, and ethnicity affect therapeutic decision making? How have methods of promoting new therapies and technologies changed over time? These are issues of interest not only to historians but to political scientists, sociologists, and economists.”

The digitized collection offers unprecedented, centralized access to one of the richest resources concerning the evolution of American medicine and will open the texts to new forms of analysis in the digital humanities, such as those supporting the investigation of health trends and outcomes over time and region, as well as visualizations.

Journals were digitized between 2015 and 2017 through the National Endowment for the Humanities (grant number: PW-228226-15), with additional funding provided by the Harvard Library and the Arcadia Fund, as well as Harvard Medical School. All publications found in the collection are provided free of charge by individual journal publishers agreeing to open access for content currently under copyright. Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. For more on the NEH Office of Digital Humanities visit http://www.neh.gov/odh/.

Beyond the Internet Archive’s portal through which MHL content is delivered, the Medical Heritage Library hosts state-by-state links to the journals (http://www.medicalheritage.org/content/state-medical-society-journals/journals-by-state/) and the MHL’s advanced search interface (http://mhl.countway.harvard.edu/search/), which offers full-text, proximity, date, and language searching among other features.

 

About the Medical Heritage Library
Founded in 2010 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to digitize 30,000 medical rare books, the Medical Heritage Library (MHL) is 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. The MHL’s goal is to provide the means by which readers and scholars across a multitude of disciplines can examine the interrelated nature of medicine and society, both to inform contemporary medicine and strengthen our understanding of the world in which we live. The MHL’s growing collection of digitized medical rare books, pamphlets, journals, and films number over 200,000, with representative works from each of the past seven centuries, all of which are available through the Internet Archive. Information about the MHL may be found on our website, www.medicalheritage.org.

 

Media Contact
Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook
medicalheritage@gmail.com

New to the MHL!

In case you haven’t been keeping up, here are some of the latest things to come into our collection:

See more of our latest additions right here! And you can subscribe to the RSS feed of our latest additions here.

State Medical Society Journal Digitization Project Wrapping Up

Our latest digitization project, state medical society journals, is in its last months. We’re working on the final report to the National Endowment for the Humanities (#SavetheNEH, by the way!) and the last few volumes are going into the collection.

There’s more than one way you can access the material. There is, of course, the main collection page on the Internet Archive, but we’re also working on a more detailed list by state and we hope to supplement this list with links to each journal title individually.

You will automatically search the state medical journals project as part of the main MHL collection if you use the IA search box from our main collection page and you can also use our own full-text search tool. Scroll down to “collections” and select “statemedicalsocietyjournals” to use all the power of our search tool for this body of material.

New York Academy of Medicine Library Launches New Digital Collections Website

de Chauliac_watermarkThe New York Academy of Medicine Library announced
today the launch of its new digital collections and exhibits website, hosted on the open-source framework Islandora and accessible at http://digitalcollections.nyam.org/. The new site makes it easy for the public to access and explore highlights of the Library’s world-class historical collections in
the history of medicine and public health.

“The Academy is committed to enhancing access to our Library’s world-class collections through digitization,” said Academy President Jo Ivey Boufford, MD.
“With the launch of our new digital collections and exhibits website, users across
the globe will have access to an ever-growing number of important resources in the
history of medicine and public health.”

VESALIUS ICONES SUITE_010_watermark2
The website includes a glimpse into the Library’s rare and historical collections material. In one day, high-end photographer Ardon Bar-Hama, courtesy of George Blumenthal, took photos of a subset of the Library’s treasures, which are all accessible via the new website. Visitors interested in cookery can page through the Library’s Apicius manuscript with 500 Greek and Roman recipes from the 4th and 5th centuries. Other highlights includes beautiful anatomical images from Andreas Vesalius’s De Humani corporis Fabrica and striking botanicals like this skunk cabbage
(Symplocarpus Foetida) hand-colored plate from William P. C. Barton’s
Vegetable Materia Medica.

AyersHairVigor_watermarkAlso featured is The William H. Helfand Collection of Pharmaceutical Trade Cards, which contains approximately 300 colorful pharmaceutical trade cards produced in the U.S. and France between 1875 and 1895 that were used to advertise a wide range of goods in the nineteenth century. Such cards are now regarded as some of the
best source material for the study of advertising, technology and trade in the post-Civil War period.

“It is gratifying to digitize our materials and see them come to life with the launch,”
said Robin Naughton, PhD, Head of Digital for the Library. “Our digital collections and
exhibits website represent a bridge between the Academy Library’s collections and
the world as it intersects with the humanities and technology.”

The Library will continue to launch new digital collections and exhibits, including
“How to Pass Your O.W.L.’s at Hogwarts: A Prep Course,” which celebrates the 20th
anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and will be
launched on June 26. Two other upcoming digital projects focus on the history of the
book: “Facendo Il Libro/Making the Book,” funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas
Foundation, and “Biography of a Book,” funded by a National Endowment for the
Humanities Digital Projects for the Public grant.

About The New York Academy of Medicine Library
The Academy is home to one of the most significant historical libraries in medicine
and public health in the world, safeguarding the heritage of medicine to inform the
future of health. The Library is dedicated to building bridges among an
interdisciplinary community of scholars, educators, clinicians, and the general
public, and fills a unique role in the cultural and scholarly landscape of New York
City. Serving a diverse group of patrons—from historians and researchers to
documentary filmmakers to medical students and elementary school students—the
Academy collections serve to inform and inspire a variety of audiences from the
academic to the public at large.

Freeing the LAMS from the Silos; or, How We Learned to Love MARC for the Sake of BIBFRAME

On April 1st, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia released what we lovingly refer to as the “Digital Spine,” one of the few MHL_image_1catalogs in the United States that merges descriptions of, and access to, library, archival and museum collections.

Approximately 145,000 bibliographic records for collections in the Historical Medical Library and approximately 28,000 records for objects in the Mütter Museum will be merged in a single, cross-searchable database.  To sample this integration, go to https://cpp.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/library and search for “foreign bodies.”

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Museum records are slowly being released into the online public access catalog (OPAC).  One of the biggest problems with integrating these two collections is the lack of standardization for describing museum objects (of any kind).  In library description, we have “title.” In museum description, something akin to a title can be found in “Remarks” or “Description” or “Object Description” or “Object Name.”  Building crosswalks between library and museum descriptions is an engaging activity.

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Another problem is the interim use of the MARC format to catalog museum objects.  The long-term goal of the Digital Spine project is to expose collections metadata to crawling by search engines.  In order to do this, we had to start with MARC, which seems antithetical, since MARC is not a structure that is understood by search engines. The College selected SirsiDynix as the vendor for this project because of SirsiDynix’ recent release of its BLUEcloud LSP.  BLUEcloud Visibility pulls a library’s records and transforms them using BIBFRAME, which exposes catalog records as linked data.  Here, for example, is part of the “Person” record for Chevalier L. Jackson, the “father” of American laryngology, whose foreign body collection, items referenced above, is one of the first museum collections to be released into the OPAC.

 

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In the near future, we anticipating spending a lot of time tidying museum records and releasing them to the OPAC; retrospectively cataloging original library material that never made it into the original conversion to electronic format; and working with SirsiDynix to create an archives “module” to accommodate hierarchically described collections.  In the long term, we plan to expand the reach of our metadata as linked data – how extensible can we be?  In answering that question, we will truly free the LAMs from the silo.

 

 

Congratulations to UCSF and Partners!

NEH awards leading San Francisco institutions $315,000 to digitize AIDS archives

The Archives and Special Collections department of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Library, in collaboration with the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society, has been awarded a $315,000 implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The collaborating institutions will digitize about 127,000 pages from 49 archival collections related to the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay Area and make them widely accessible to the public online. In the process, collections whose components had been placed in different archives for various reasons will be digitally reunited, facilitating access for researchers outside the Bay Area. Continue reading

National Endowment for the Humanities Awards New York Academy of Medicine Library with Digital Projects for the Public Discovery Grant

Interactive digital “Biography of a Book” project brings to life the creation, use and collection of key historic texts in the Academy Library’s rare book collections

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded The New York Academy of Medicine Library $30,000 through its Humanities Digital Projects for the Public Discovery Grant program to support the development of its interactive digital “Biography of a Book” project. This innovative project aims to tell the individual and collective stories of books, ranging from the survival of one of only two extant medieval copies of an ancient Roman cookbook, to a twentieth century re-imagining of a classic work of Renaissance anatomy. Continue reading

The MHL Welcomes a New Partner: The Osler Library

The Medical Heritage Library is pleased to announce our first new partner of 2016: the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill University.

The Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, opened in 1929 to house the collection of rare medical and other books donated by Sir William Osler (1849-1929), the renowned physician and McGill graduate and professor. Initially comprising 8000 titles listed in the Bibliotheca Osleriana, the collection – one of the world’s outstanding ones – has grown to around 100,000 works including rare monographs, journals, archives and prints, as well as scholarly publications about the history of the health sciences and related areas. To date, the Library has scanned 152 items, all of which are available on the Library’s own Internet Archive site as well as in the MHL collection.

Making the Osler Library’s items available through the MHL not only enriches the MHL collection, but makes the Osler’s items searchable through the MHL’s Bookworm and full-text search tools.

We’re delighted to be able to include the Osler’s material in our collection and will be tagging more as the Library continues to scan items.

Lectures and Conferences, and Panels, Oh My!

I’m seeing lots of announcements for great events going by recently. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Have we missed hearing about something you’re doing? Are you using MHL materials for a talk or a class or a conference panel? Please get in touch and let us know!

The MHL Welcomes a New Partner: Rush University Medical Center Archives

The Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill., is the official archival agency of Rush University Medical Center and Rush University. The Rush Archives holds almost 3000 linear feet of material from these two institutions and their predecessor schools and hospitals going back to the founding of Rush Medical College in 1837, two days before the city of Chicago was incorporated. The Rush Archives also includes the personal papers of many individuals related to those institutions. Photographs, audiovisual material, paintings, artifacts, nursing school uniforms and caps, and digital assets document the history of Rush, also.

From St. Luke’s News, August 1946, p. 11. From the St. Luke’s Hospital Records, #4704.

From St. Luke’s News, August 1946, p. 11. From the St. Luke’s Hospital Records, #4704.

Hundreds of the Rush Archives’ most used documents have been digitized and are available on the Internet Archive, including annual reports and newsletters from Rush Medical CollegePresbyterian Hospital, founded in 1883; St. Luke’s Hospital, founded in 1864; and the Central Free Dispensary, founded in 1873. These items also document Presbyterian Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital’s nursing schools, founded in 1903 and 1884, respectively. These newsletters and annual reports provide significant information and photographs regarding the advancement of medical and nursing education, developments in research, and changes in patient care during Rush’s more than 175 years of serving Chicago communities.

All of the yearbooks in the Rush Archives from the following schools are now available online, also:

St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing

Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing

Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing

Rush University and its four colleges, Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences, and the Graduate College

Thanks to the Book Digitization Initiative Grant and the Yearbook Digitization Project grant from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), these items were digitized by and made available through the Internet Archive.

Rush University Medical Center Archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS, is particularly fond of the 1895 issue of

Drawing by Rush Medical College student Christian H. Beyer, class of 1895.  From The Pulse Yearbook, 1895, p.158. From the Rush Medical College Records, #4707.

Drawing by Rush Medical College student Christian H. Beyer, class of 1895.
From The Pulse Yearbook, 1895, p.158. From the Rush Medical College Records, #4707.

Rush Medical College’s yearbook, The Pulse, and the school’s newsletter, The Corpuscle, 1890-1900. “The 1890s were an exciting time in Chicago history, spearheaded by the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The World’s Fair really put Chicago on the map. The items in our collection from the 1890s feature wonderful drawings of smiling skulls, darkly funny poems, and photographs of its football team in action. During this era, Rush’s faculty was heavily involved in raising national standards for medical education. Rush Medical College set itself apart from many other Chicago medical schools by providing its students with a solid background in the sciences, incomparable laboratories, and experience in patient care through Rush’s teaching hospital, Presbyterian Hospital.” Rush Medical College became affiliated with the University of Chicago in 1898 and served as its medical school until 1941. To learn more about the history of Rush, please visit http://rushu.libguides.com/rusharchives.