Section of the
Medical Library Association
Images Unplugged: A Photo Archivist's Most Excellent Adventure
The Prints and Photographs Collection of the National Library of Medicine originated with the acquisition of 6,000 medical portraits in 1879. It has grown from that original collection accessible only through an onsite card catalog to over 60,000 images accessible through the Web. From 1988 to 1995, new technology facilitated a slow transition from the card catalog to an online catalog. In 2001, new images were added to the Prints and Photographs Collection Website, Images from the History of Medicine. The process for adding new images was developed by examining the needs of visual researchers and blending those needs with current technology. The goal was to find the most efficient way of bringing image and researcher together.
The photo archivist's adventure begins with a newly acquired image. The new acquisition begins the journey to the Web by being logged in and assigned an accession number. Each image is archivally stabilized, photographed, and shelved. Next the image is cataloged. This is probably the most challenging part of the adventure. When cataloging an image, attention is focused on what information the visual researcher needs. Although subject access is the main concern for researchers, there are several other MARC fields of particular interest to the visual researcher. Finally, once an item has been cataloged and the record entered into the database, a scanned, watermarked image is attached to the electronic catalog record. The record and attached image are immediately available through the public database. Computer and Internet technologies have forever changed the course of visual research. Even though technology and information have advanced the cataloging and mounting of images on the Web, limitations still exist. Future technology may expedite the journey of images from the archive to the Web.
Fun and Frolic with Fascinating Films
Archival films are the bane of librarians. Audiovisuals are not only non-book materials; they are non-print materials. Historical films generate the additional problem of being rare. Hopefully, This presentation will offer some solace and guidance to librarians presented with an opportunity to add historical films to their collections. The first question librarians need to ask is "how does this film promote the mission of the library." The answer to this question will determine not only what they collect, but also how much they collect. In most libraries, space is restricted; therefore, librarians need to be selective in the films they acquire. Moving image archivists have a general rule (not always followed) to collect only what they can process. In addition to being appealing, films are also fragile. If films cannot be processed in a reasonable time, they deteriorate to the point of being unusable. Once librarians have accepted films for their collections, what do they do? Processing moving images involves a workflow similar to that of books with some subtle but distinct differences. The log-in procedures are the same, but the film catalog record is different. The presentation will provide some examples of easy-to-use film cataloging templates to input the record. When control is established, the film should be copied. The presentation will suggest a range of copies needed depending on their purposes. After copies are made, the original should be placed in permanent storage; the characteristics of which will also be discussed. Films have fascinating features that can further the frolic of the folks who find them fun.
Is There an Anarchist in the House? Archival Principles and Practices for the Non-Archivist
The session will explore a variety of issues faced by librarians with archival duties in their organizations and will discuss some techniques and strategies for coping with them. Some issues include developing a collection scope and policy, intellectual and physical control, preservation, processing collections, and customer service and public relations.
Eureka! Look what I've Got! Gathering and Promoting Special Collections
The strategies for developing and promoting non-book special collections are quite different from those for general collections or even rare books. This presentation will look at typical strategies for developing non-book collections, which do not include buying from publishers! Much special collection material—manuscripts, prints, photographs, and films—is donated rather than purchased. Relations with donors need to be initiated, developed, nurtured, and eventually brought to fruition. While there are some guidelines about how the donation will obligate both parties, many of the details—such as processing priority, access rights, copyright, and privacy rights—need to be understood, negotiated, and agreed to. Finally, developing relationships with specialized collectors is also good, not only as a way of getting them interested in an institution as a possible repository, but also for the guidance they give in developing collections. The flip side of collection development is collection promotion, and they work hand-in-glove: the better known a collection is, the more that others would like to donate to it, if they like what they see. Promoting the collections to researchers, besides affording an opportunity for the materials to be used, also helps in development, as researchers can be good sources of information for building the collection. Promotion can take a number of different tacks, including brochures, exhibits, Web promotion, promotional events, opportunities for people to volunteer to work with the collections, and talks at meetings. The talk will end with a short presentation on professional resources for dealing with non-book special collections
Pharmaceutical Sales Reps in the Hospital Library? FDA Regs Suggest that You Say No
Ever wonder why pharmaceutical sales representatives don't use their own companies' extensive medical libraries and show up demanding services at your hospital library? Most pharmaceutical libraries are not permitted to serve their field sales representatives, due to the concern of off label promotion. This presentation discusses a recent poll of pharmaceutical librarians on this issue and the FDA regulations that apply. A pharmaceutical librarian who had been a hospital librarian for twenty years tells all.
Barbara Epstein, MSLS, AHIP
Dust or diamonds? Appraising a History of Medicine Collection
Purpose: The challenge of securing and valuing primary historical materials can render such collections unattractive to libraries. This paper reports on an appraisal project for older and rare books in the History of Medicine Collection of the Falk Library of the Health Sciences.
Setting/Participants/Resources: The History of Medicine collection includes approximately 4,000 volumes. The collection features rare books on medicine, psychiatry, and public health. Many, but not all, are included in the library’s online catalog and in OCLC. Library staff, however, had little information about which books in its collection were the most valuable or rare and which needed to be secured and preserved more carefully. Brief Description: Following a university audit of library operations, it was recommended that the library undertake an appraisal of its Rare Book Collection. The purpose of the appraisal was to review of the adequacy of current insurance coverage and security measures and to facilitate recovery in the event of losses sustained to the collection. Steps in the appraisal process included conceptualizing the scope and methodology of the project, identification of a qualified consultant to conduct the appraisal, specification of deliverables, data evaluation and collection, and planning for needed upgrades in preservation measures and security procedures.
Results/Outcome: Knowing the value of volumes in its Rare Book Collection allows the library to promote and safeguard the collection effectively. Plans are to review and strengthen security and preservation measures where needed. Identifying specialized and rare materials in its own catalog and in OCLC promotes use of the collection to the history-of-medicine research community worldwide.
Evaluation Method: Evaluation measures include a review of whether the project met its goal of identifying the most valuable and uncommon volumes in the Rare Book Collection and assigning a value to the collection as a whole.
Douglas Varner, MLS
Stepping up to the Plate: Creating a New Service with Archival Collections in a Hospital Setting
Purpose: This paper will report on a large hospital library’s acquiring of a number of archival collections, and the challenges and opportunities it posed to organize and provide access to these collections. Library staff have developed a new service line providing institutional historic research and continue to develop web-based delivery of archival information to a broad-based user population.
Setting/Participants/Resources: California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) is a multi-campus hospital, with three campuses located in the city of San Francisco. The Health Sciences Library on the Pacific Campus is a large facility that supports an additional hospital library and two other small resource centers located on other campuses or in other buildings on the Pacific Campus. The library also serves the UOP School of Dentistry, which is located across the street from the facility. Brief Description: Several years ago, the CPMC Library was presented with a large amount of archival materials in an unorganized and unpreserved state. Collections included archives from three hospitals, collections of papers, photographs, instruments and ephemera and a large archival collection from a national society of anesthesiologists. Library staff learned principles of archival preservation and organization, networked with archival experts, joined professional archival associations, secured funding for archival organization and preservation from a variety of sources, and recruited staff with archival competency to complete the organization and preservation process. Currently library staff are converting print finding aids to web-readable formats.
Results/Outcome: Library staff have gained significant knowledge in access. organization and preservation of historical of materials in a variety of formats. In addition, we gained experience developing and marketing a new service line. We have also been able to use web-based technologies to promote and provide access to the library’s archival collections. Evaluation Method: Statistics are compiled on utilization of the archival research service. Anecdotally, we have found that these collections are used by patrons of our medical center as well as from visiting scholars from other parts of the US and Europe. We are also conducting an analysis of web site utilization for pages providing gateways to the archival collections.
Rediscovering yellow fever: the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection Digitization Project
Purpose: This session will discuss the development of a database of archival materials documenting the work of Walter Reed, M.D., and his colleagues' efforts to eliminate yellow fever. By using extensible markup language (XML), this project not only provides access to a digital archive of the manuscripts via the Web, but also enhances searching and presentation of the resources.
Setting/Participants: The Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection was created with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The completed project was the result of a collaborative team effort that included the Historical Collections Department's director and staff, the Electronic Text Center, as well as the library's chief cataloger, Webmaster, and systems administrator.
Brief Description: The Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection opened in December 2001 and features a comprehensive database from Philip S. Hench's collection on Walter Reed and the members of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission. The collection consists of manuscripts (most of which are handwritten), artifacts, and photographs. The project documents the discovery of the mosquito as the transmission vector for the yellow fever virus. The project is unique not only in that it presents the original materials in a searchable format, but also provides context for the primary documents through exhibit text.
Results: The project serves as a model for making archival and unique materials more widely available. In addition, the use of metadata enables researchers to tailor their searches and approach the digitized materials to best suit their personal interests and needs. Evaluation: The project team worked closely with faculty members and selected researchers throughout the project to ensure scholarly needs were met. A detailed report was also submitted to the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is publicly available via the Internet.
Leslie J. Duncan
Design and implementation of a Web-based library catalog: providing access to all
Purpose: This paper will report on a model to merge the National Limb Loss Information Center (NLLIC) Virtual Library, a monographic collection, and a vertical file into one Web-based library catalog.
Setting/Participation/Resources: The NLLIC is a small special consumer health library in a small urban setting, serving a national disability community. Since its establishment in 1997, the information center has developed and continues to maintain three separate collections on limb loss–related materials: (1) a virtual library on its Website, which contains full text electronic articles and links to Websites; (2) a monographic and audiovisual library collection, which includes materials appropriate for staff researchers, limb loss consumers, and health care providers; and (3) a vertical file of articles from pertinent academic periodicals. Currently, only the virtual library is accessible to the public via the NLLIC Website.
Brief Description: The primary goal of the project is to merge the three collections into one large electronic, Web-based library catalog. Many nonprofit organizations maintain a library collection, but only for in-house use. This model is innovative in that it will provide free public access to the largest and most comprehensive collection of limb loss–related materials in the world. The primary audience is limb loss consumers, their families, and health care providers.
Results/Outcome: One of the primary goals of the National Limb Loss Information Center is to reach out and empower our constituency through education. This Web-based library catalog will extend our ability to reach out and empower. Evaluation Method: Number and length of search sessions, user satisfaction, and quality of the catalog will be evaluated via the use of a hit counter and a comments feature on the Website.
Kathleen Bauer, M. Panaitisor
Challenges in the digitization of a Yale School of Nursing historical collection
In 2001 the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University and the Yale School of Nursing (YSN) began a project to digitize material about the history of YSN. Included in the project were print items and photos dating from the early 1900s. The project entailed several challenges, including forging working relationships among YSN faculty, computer support, and library staff members. In addition, archival standards had to be established so that project members would digitize an item once only, at a sufficient level of quality so that the digital copy would work for any future projects. Archival issues addressed were resolution-quality settings, file formats, and disc media. After archival standards had been set and the scanning work was done, a finding aid was put in place that linked the digital copy with the artifact. This system was designed so that users looking at physical items would know that digital copies of the artifacts existed, and the location of the digital copies. Conversely, users who saw digital copies on the Web could find the physical items. A final part of this project has been the development of a Website based on Web-accessible copies of the archived files. The site is available at info.med.yale.edu/library/nursing/historical/welcome.new.html. Although this digitization project has entailed many challenges, the work involved will pay off in increased awareness of a special collection with unique historical items from the history of nursing in the United States. Along with increased awareness, a wider audience will be given access to the materials, at least in their electronic form.
The impact of digital collections: historical and contemporary collecting projects
Purpose: This paper will report on the impact of the development of the History of the University of California–San Francisco (UCSF) Website, as well as the library's contemporary collecting projects and digital archives currently under development. Setting/Participants/Resources: The Kalmanovitz Library and Center for Knowledge Management is a large, academic health sciences library in an urban setting. Within the last year, the library completed a Website on the history of UCSF. Besides this latest digitization effort, the library is known for spearheading a number of contemporary collecting digitization projects, the most notable being the Tobacco Control Archives. Brief Description: The History of UCSF Website was a collaborative effort between the library and the History of Medicine Department on campus. Besides detailing important historical events on campus in a narrative form, numerous images from the library's Special Collections Department were digitized for this project. The paper will outline the development process and marketing efforts surrounding the Website. Digitization projects as potential sources of library funding will be highlighted, as well as trends and challenges. Current status of the Tobacco Control Archives digitization efforts will also be discussed, including significant grant monies recently acquired for a new Tobacco Education Center. Results/Outcome: Digitization projects have had a positive outcome on the library's ability to obtain funding from extramural sources. Whether a contemporary collecting project such as the Tobacco Control Archives or a historical Website using materials from special collections, these efforts can have an impact on a library's ability to fund and promote its services.
Evaluation Method: Statistics on use of digital images from the History of UCSF Website will be collected, as well as statistical and anecdotal evidence of increased use of special collections reference services related to Website availability and marketing. Monies from donors and other extramural funding sources due to the library's digitized collections will be noted.