Category Archives: Electronic resources

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: February 2020 update: C20 nursing history

[Reblogged from The History Faculty Library Blog ]

The latest Oxford Dictionary of National Biography update, released yesterday, includes the lives of 20 leading figures in the nursing profession in the twentieth century, and coincides with 2020 being designated by the World Health Organization as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

The newly-added entries have been contributed by nurses as well as historians, led by the RCN History of Nursing Forum in collaboration with the UK Association for the History of Nursing, and curated by Teresa Doherty of the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive.

The lives range from Anne Campbell Gibson (1849-1926), matron of the Birmingham workhouse infirmary, which came to be regarded as the best-managed poor law infirmary in the country, to Annie Therese Altschul (1919-2001), who fled Austria in 1939 and settled in Britain, where she became an authority in psychiatric nursing.

The update includes the lives of the founding generation of the Royal College of Nursing (1916) and the introduction of state registration of nursing (1919), as well as  those who went on to work under the NHS, developing teaching and research programmes for nurses.

Mark Curthoys, Senior Research Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

News: RCS digitisation project for the UK Medical Heritage Library

Students and researchers of history of medicine may be interested to learn about a project to digitise almost 22,000 tracts and pamphlets from the library at the Royal College of Surgeons. These will become part of the UK Medical Heritage Library, a project bringing together books and pamphlets from 10 research libraries in the UK to form a digital collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century material on history of medicine and related disciplines. The digital library promotes free and open access to resources.

Digitisation work will be undertaken by a team at the Wellcome Library in London, and will make the RCS’s collection accessible globally. The pamphlets have a wide range of subject matters, and collectively provide valuable insight into developments in surgery, anatomy and disease over the duration of the century.

To read more about the project, visit the RCS website:

New: e-access to Nursing History Review

We are pleased to announce that electronic Access is now available for the Nursing History Review, the Official Publication of the American Association for the History of Nursing.NHR

Nursing History Review, an annual peer-reviewed publication, is a showcase for the most significant current research on nursing and health care history. Contributors include national and international scholars representing many different disciplinary backgrounds. Regular sections include scholarly articles, reviews of the best books on nursing and health care history, invited commentaries, and abstracts of new doctoral dissertations on nursing and health care history. Historians, researchers, and individuals fascinated with the rich field of nursing will find this an important resource.

Access is via OxLIP+, and is available from Vol. 1 (1993) to the present day.

New: e-access to Journal of Medical Biography, 1993 (v.1) onwards

[Re-blogged from The Bodleian History Faculty Library Blog]

I am pleased to report that Oxford users now have e-access to the Journal of Medical Biography [ISSN 0967-7720] from vol. 1, 1993 onwards.

Journal of medical biography - coverAccess is via SOLO or OU eJournals. For remote access, Oxford users should use their SSO login.

A peer-reviewed international journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, it covers the lives of people in or associated with medicine.

“… The Journal of Medical Biography covers medical personalities and many others in the field of health care, hospitals, instruments, techniques and so on. It features original research on persons and places, legendary and less well known, and provides a fresh new perspective on life and lives.” Sage Journals,

You can register for email alerts and set up an RSS feed. For more on current awareness tools, see handouts from Bodleian iSkills courses on Getting Information Come To You.

Red Cross Volunteers in the First World War

From the British Red Cross comes a range of information and resources on their activities during the First World War. 90,000 volunteers worked at home and abroad during World War One. They provided vital aid to naval and military forces, caring for sick and wounded sailors and soldiers, and the Red Cross is uploading personnel records into a searchable database.

The personnel records for surnames starting with A and B are currently available. Volunteers are updating the site with more names every few weeks.


Along with this, there are informative sections on Auxiliary Hospitals, famous volunteers and friends of the Red Cross, and downloadable information sheets on many aspects of the work of the Red Cross during WWI. There is also a page with photographs of unidentified volunteers – can you identify any?

Find out more at the Red Cross Website.

Doctor or Doctress?

The Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Special Collections and Archives announces the launch of its new website:

Doctor or Doctress? Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians (

Through the resources in Doctor or Doctress?, students will learn core American history themes—such as the Age of Reform, the Civil War, the World Wars, the Progressive Era, the Great Depression and social justice issues—through the lens of 19th- and early 20th-century women physicians.

The collections at the Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center reflect the history of one of its predecessor institutions, the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania–the first medical school in the world for women–as well as history of women in medicine internationally. Made possible through grants awarded by the Pew Heritage Philadelphia Program, the site makes the Center’s unique collection on women in medicine not only available, but truly accessible, to high school students and their teachers.

Video, audio, timelines, maps, contextualized presentations of primary source documents, guiding questions, and interpretive metadata provide the guidance that students need to place primary source documents in historical and cultural context.

Wellcome Library and Jisc announce partners in 19th century medical collections digitisation project

The Wellcome Library and Jisc have announced nine partner institutions whose 19th-century book collections will be digitised and added to the UK Medical Heritage Library (UK MHL), an online resource for the study of the history of medicine and related sciences.

Six university libraries have joined the partnership – University College London, University of Leeds, University of Glasgow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Kings College London and University of Bristol – along with the libraries of the Royal College of Physicians of London, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

The project’s focus is on books and pamphlets from the 19th century that are on the subject of medicine or its related disciplines. This will include works relating to the medical sciences, consumer health, sport and fitness, as well as different kinds of medical practice, from phrenology to hydrotherapy.

Approximately 15 million pages of printed books and pamphlets from all ten partners will be digitised over a period of two years and will be made freely available to researchers and the public under an open licence. The content will be available on multiple platforms to broaden access, including the Internet Archive, the Wellcome Library and Jisc Historic Books.

This is an exciting development for those interested in the history of medicine, and for the Wellcome Library forms part of a larger ambition to digitise and make freely available over 50 million pages of historical medical books, archives, manuscripts and journals by 2020.

Catalogue of the papers of the Overseas Nursing Association

Rhodes House Library have recently converted the Catalogue of the papers of the Overseas Nursing Association to EAD format, and now published them online. The Overseas Nursing Association, formerly the Colonial Nursing Association, was established in 1895 to provide trained nurses for hospital and private work in the British colonies and among other British communities abroad. When Queen Elizabeth’s Overseas Nursing Service (as the Overseas Nursing Association came to be known) closed on 1 December 1966 the Executive Committee agreed to donate their papers to the Oxford Colonial Records Project. The papers were received by Rhodes House Library in February 1967. An association for members (Queen Elizabeth’s Overseas Nursing Service Association) was formed on 25 May 1966 and continued until 2006.

The collection covers the whole period of the association’s existence, 1896-1966, and includes some earlier papers concerned with its formation (MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 400 / 120 / 1, fols. 1-20) and some later papers concerned with financial matters (MSS. Brit. Emp. s 400 / 18a). There are 119 bound volumes – minutes of meetings, ledgers and registers, and printed material – and 32 boxes of correspondence and other records including the complete series of annual reports. In the final annual report the work of the association is reviewed in a “Historical Survey” (MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 400 / 131, item 53).

The full list of items can be found here – Catalogue of the papers of the Overseas Nursing Association, and will be of interest to those studying Colonial History, as well as History of Medicine and Nursing History.

A reminder that the reading room at Rhodes House will be closing on 12 September 2014 and reopening in the Weston Library on 22 September 2014. The archives and rare books will be moved to the Weston stacks in August-September. The majority of the rest of the book collection has now been moved to the BSF at Swindon. Information about the Weston Library is available on the Bodleian website and this will be added to over the coming months.

The Weston Library opening hours have also now been decided.  The reading rooms will be open at the following times:

Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 19:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 16:00
Sunday: Closed

Wellcome Library (London) and NLM partner up!

From the Wellcome Library press release:

Wellcome Library and NLM establish agreement to make 150 years of biomedical journals freely available online

14 April 2014

NLM - sm

Representatives of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), a component of the National Institutes of Health, and the Wellcome Library have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to make thousands of complete back issues of historically significant biomedical journals freely available online.

The terms of the agreement include a donation of £750,000 ($1.2 million) to the NLM that will support coordination of the three-year project to scan original materials from NLM’s collection at the article level, and the Wellcome Library’s work to secure copyright clearances and permissions for electronic deposit from publishers. NLM will undertake conservation of the original material to ensure its preservation for future generations. NLM is authorised to accept donations in support of its mission.

Key journals charting the development of modern medicine over the last 150 years will be digitised in their entirety and made available on the National Institutes of Health life sciences repository PubMed Central (PMC) and its European counterpart, Europe PMC. The project builds on the Medical Journal Backfiles Digitisation Project (2004-2010), and will contribute substantially to the current PMC archive of over 3 million articles from medical journals.

Part of the project will concentrate on mental health journals, supporting a major archive digitisation programme also being undertaken by the Wellcome Library. Journals to be digitised include ‘Mental Health’, ‘Mental Hygiene’ and the ‘Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology’. Other journals have been selected for their general relevance, such as the ‘Indian Medical Gazette’, the ‘British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review’ and the ‘Transactions of the Epidemiology Society of London’.

Donald A B Lindberg, Director of the NLM, said “This is a wonderful step forward in our continuing partnership with the Wellcome Trust to preserve and make freely available important biomedical literature for research, education, and learning. It is an example of a truly useful collaboration, and NLM is grateful to the Wellcome for its generosity.”

Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, and Jeffrey S Reznick, Chief of the NLM’s History of Medicine Division, worked together to arrange the partnership in cooperation with their respective teams.

“We are delighted to partner with NLM to make these important archives freely available to users across the world,” said Chaplin. “It is crucial that digitised content can be found and used easily, and PubMed Central, and its European counterpart, Europe PMC, are at the top of the list for anyone searching for biomedical journals.”

Reznick said: “This partnership will benefit generations of individuals who wish to learn about biomedical history, the thousands who use PMC regularly today and the many more tomorrow who will discover and use its rich content to study the past for the benefit of the present and the future.”

In addition to images and searchable text, NLM will also create article-level citations for PubMed. Digitisation is expected to start in late 2014 and to be completed by 2017. Material will be added to PMC and Europe PMC as it is digitised.


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