Tag Archives: digital collections

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: http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/library/blog/tracts-and-pamplets-digitising-for-the-uk-medical-heritage-library

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.

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.


New free online history of medicine resources

This week we have come across three new free history of medicine resources on the web:

1) Social History of Medicine – special virtual issue on tuberculosis

shmSHM have published an online special issue on tuberculosis that is free to access until the end of May. This issue includes 9 research articles and 7 book reviews.  Articles include Sunil Amrith on tuberculosis in South Asia in the 1950s and William Johnston’s ‘Genealogy of  Tubercular Disease in Japan.’

Members of Oxford University can access all issues of Social History of Medicine via our online subscription using OxLIP+.

2) Journal of History of Science and Technology online v.6


This free to access online peer-reviewed journal is based in Lisbon, Portugal and publishes articles in English from researchers across the world. The most recent edition includes an article by Carlos Tabernero, Isabel Jiménez-Lucena and Jorge Molero-Mesa on “Scientific–medical knowledge management through media communication practices: a review of two opposite models in early 20th century Spain”.

3) Wellcome Library, London –  Codebreakers: makers of modern genetics


The Wellcome Library in London launched their new online digital resources, which contains over a million pages of books and archives relating to the history of genetics, with more to be added soon.

Codebreakers contains twenty archives including the papers of Francis Crick, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, as well as archives of the Eugenics Society, made available by kind permission of the Council of the Galton Institute, the papers of J B S Haldane, and the collections of Guido Pontecorvo and his students Malcolm Ferguson-Smith and James Renwick at Glasgow University.

Codebreakers also contains over a thousand digitised books covering the science, history and social and cultural aspects of genetics and related disciplines, mostly from the 20th century.

It is very easy to browse using the timeline function or the topic list, which deliver results directly from their library catalogue.

Related Links OxfordHSMT links on Delicious | OxLIP+

Christmas Closure and Online Resources at the Wellcome Unit Library

Wellcome Unit in the snow by Bethan Jenkins

Wellcome Unit in the snow by Bethan Jenkins

The Welcome Unit Library will be open this week:

  • Tuesday 18 Dec (today) 2.15-5.00
  • Wednesday 19 Dec 2.15-5.00
  • Thursday 20 Dec 2.15-5.00
  • Friday 21 Dec 2.15-3.00 – closing early

The library will be closed from 3.00pm on Friday 21 Dec to 2.15 on Wednesday 2 Jan 2013.

Welcome Unit opening hours in start of January 2013

  • Wednesday 2 Jan 2.15-4.30
  • Thursday 3 Jan 2.15-4.30
  • Friday 4 Jan – Monday 7 Jan closed
  • Tuesday 8 – Friday 11 Jan 2.15-5.00

If you would like to visit the Wellcome Unit Library please contact us in advance to arrange an appointment by emailing wellcomeunit.library@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

While the Library is closed there are lots of interesting online resources available for history of medicine scholars to access 24/7. We have a variety of websites bookmarked on our HSMTOxford Delicious page.

Free online books
Many out of copyright medical texts are available to read in full online via the Internet Archive and Google Books.  The Internet Archive’s Medical Heritage Library continues to be added to and currently has nearly 45000 items, including texts and videos, from various institutions, including the National Library of Medicine and New York Public Library. For French and Latin speakers, the Bibliotheque numerique Medic@ provides a wealth of original sources and also biographical information about key medical figures.

Contagions blog

Contagions blog

Blogs and Project websites
Find out what your fellow historians are researching on one of the many fascinating history of medicine blogs and project websites online.  Our favourites include:

If this has whetted your appetite, the Contagions blog is hosting this month’s On Giants’ Shoulders history of science carnival and has a great selection of links to current articles and blog posts across the web.

Related Links Wellcome Unit Library contact details | HSMTOxford Delicious page

New website and article on mental health institutions

Devon County Mental Hospital website

The Devon Country Mental Hospital website takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of the Devon County Lunatic Asylum at Exminster. Based on archival case notes and supplemented by Medical Superintendents’ and Commissioners of Lunacy’s reports as well as interviews with former staff, the website tells the stories of real patients and their journey into, and life within, the asylum, hoping to highlight changes in the legislation and care of people suffering from mental health problems.

Hosted by Exeter University, the site is based on a series of Wellcome Trust funded projects carried out since 2007 by Dr Nicole Baur and Prof Jo Melling (Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter), in collaboration with John Draisey from the Devon Heritage Centre (DHC).

Devon County Mental Hospital homepage

Collectors Weekly article on Willard Asylum

Another interesting article this week (discovered on Twitter from @KarenAbbott via @2nerdyhistgirls) was published in Collectors Weekly on the suitcases of patients the Willard Asylum.  Hunter Oatman-Stanford’s article, entitled ‘Abandoned Suitcases Reveal Private Lives of Insane Asylum Patients examines Jon Crispin’s project to photograph the suitcases that patients at the Willard Asylum in New York State brought with them when entering the institution.  The suitcases that were left in the institution, often when patients died and no one claimed their belongings, were kept by staff even after the asylum closed.  The collection has been photographed by Crispin in added to the New York State Museum.

(c) Market Street Media

Related Links


WISER Sessions in Week 6

There are some really handy sessions for historians coming up next week, including one on Online Resources for Historians.

All members of the University and Bodleian Library Readers may attend WISER workshops. Some individual workshops are designed for particular groups (for example researchers or postgraduates). Check the individual class descriptions for more details.

Bodleian Libraries will be running the following workshops in Week 6.

WISER: Finding Stuff – Books etc on SOLO [Wednesday 30 May 14.00 – 14.45] – An introduction to SOLO for finding books, journal titles and other materials in Oxford libraries. The session will cover effective search techniques, placing hold requests for items in the stacks, reservations and using the SOLO eshelf and saved searches. >Book your place online

WISER: Finding Stuff – Journal Articles [Wednesday 30 May 14.45 – 16.00] – This session will focus on finding journal articles for your research using a wide range of databases as well as developing effective search strategies. There will be plenty of time for participants to try out their own searches using databases for their subject. >Book your place online

WISER: Finding stuff – Conferences [Wednesday 30 May 16.00 – 17.00] – Conference papers can be difficult to find but they are valuable because they describe cutting-edge research. This session will enable you to find out about forthcoming conferences and also to locate the published papers of proceedings which have taken place. >Book your place online

WISER: Online Sources for Historians [Friday 1 June 14.00 – 15.15] – A general introduction to the vast range of electronic resources which are available for all historical periods for British and West European history including bibliographical databases, biographical and reference research aids, e-books and ejournals, web portals and collections of online primary source materials. >Book your place online

WISER: Sources for US History [Friday 1 June 15.30 – 17.00] – An introduction to key information sources for the study of colonial America & US history. Starting with finding tools to locate material, examples of source materials will then be shown including archival, microform, printed/online collections & useful web portals & audiovisual collections. >Book your place online. >Book your place online

More Bodleian Libraries workshops – Check http://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/workshops for the full WISER programme and for details of other training opportunities offered by Bodleian Libraries. Why not follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oxwiser , visit the BodWiser blog at http://bodwiser.wordpress.com or join our mailling list by sending an empty email to wiser-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk

Not a member of Oxford University? – If you are not a current member of Oxford University but would like to attend a workshop please contact usered@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. Please quote your Bodleian readers card barcode number.

If you have any questions please contact usered@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

International Mission Photography Archive

(c) Uni of Southern California

We have just bookmarked the International Mission Photography Archive on the HSMT Oxford Delicious page.

This free online digital image archive offers over 50000 historical images from Protestant and Catholic missionary collections in Britain, Norway, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the United States. The photographs, which range in time from the middle of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, offer a visual record of missionary activities and experiences in Africa, China, Madagascar, India, Papua-New Guinea, and the Caribbean. 

The search tools are very effective, allowing you to search by country and/or keyword (e.g. nurse, medicine) and browse by date.  The results are presented as thumbnails in the ‘Lightbox view’, but switching to the ‘List view’ provides more details about the results.

Search result for keyword ‘leprosy’

The detailed results pages are really clearly laid out and provide lots of information.  As well as location, date and descriptions, additional subject terms have been added that allow further related searches.

The site is very easy to navigate and the information and images are of a high quality.

Related links: International Mission Photography Archive | HSMT Oxford Delicious page.

Digital Humanities Session 8 June 2012

Course Title: Make: Data – Towards a digital toolbox for researchers in the Humanities
Date: Friday 8 June 12:30-13:30
Location: OUCS

The session will present how two DPhil projects in History apply various digital tools (text encoding, data visualisation, corpus linguistics, semantic web) to analyse medieval texts.  The session is aimed at anyone interested in text analysis, particularly in a Humanities context.

Case one
In 1457, a Florentine merchant decided to transmit his experience and knowledge to his sons. He created a manuscript which covers all aspects of human existence. The goal of this project is to analyse the thinking and knowledge of this merchant as it is represented in the text. The manuscript was transcribed and encoded in TEI XML. The transcription was then transformed into a semantically and linguistically annotated corpus. Finally, an ontology is being built to reconstruct and visualise the knowledge of the merchant.

Case two
The project uses eXist for an XML ‘native’ database of an English family’s twelfth and thirteenth century charters and related material. A TEI marked up copy of the text allows publication either on the web or as pdf as well as the normal database query, listing and tabulation functions. Bibliography is fully incorporated using Zotero. The data relating to social and text networks can be extracted and passed to programmes such as NodeXL to enable it to be visualized graphically.

More information and online booking at: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/itlp/courses/detail/TM12Q

Related links: HFL’s Post Grad Training webpage | http://digital.humanities.ox.ac.uk/dhoxss/

Medical ephemera in the US National Library of Medicine

This post by Julie Anne Lambert, Librarian of the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian Library, originally appeared on the John Johnson Collection’s Ephemera Resources blog.  We are very grateful to her for allowing us to re-post it here.  She has blogged about a number of other medical ephemera resources.

Medical ephemera in the US National Library of Medicine

(c) U.S. National Library of Medicine

Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) contains 69,271 images, including 7,763 posters and 4,445 postcards.These can be searched (including advanced searching) or browsed by an impressive range of categories under What, where and who. Although predominantly from the USA, these images are international with hundreds from the UK, France, China (notably Chinese anti-malaria and anti tuberculosis posters) and Switzerland.
Here today, here tomorrow: varieties of medical ephemera is the online version of a1995 exhibition of medical ephemera from the collections of William H. Helfand and the National Library of Medicine. It is arranged by theme: Addiction, Aids, Bookplates, Children, Medical education, Medical show, Public health, Tuberculosis and Women. The online version contains 140 of the original 400 items. The site also hosts separate online exhibitions of  Aids ephemera (based on an exhibition held in 2002) and Public health posters.

Ephemera and books on ephemera in the NLM collections can be found through Locator Plus.

(c) US National Library of Medicine and William H. Helfand

Related resources: US National Library of Medicine | John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera | More posts about medical ephemera