Welcome back to Literary Medicine’s Daily
Dose! Recently, I have been featuring my medical history and medical humanities colleagues, and it has been edifying to see the great variety of ongoing programs and projects. I have also begun to feature websites and search engines that I find helpful to our shared delight in the world of science and medicine (like the Research Raven). Today, I would like to continue with a feature on a wonderful digital collection project: The Medical Heritage Library. The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), a digital curation collaborative among several medical libraries, is dedicated to promoting free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine. The MHL is currently digitizing books and journals and is working to expand to the digitization of archival materials, images, and other formats. Today, I have asked Hanna Clutterbuck to join us and say a bit about its inception and mission. Thank you for joining us, Hanna!
Bio: Hanna Clutterbuck
I am the Project Co-ordinator for the Medical Heritage Library. I have Master’s degrees in history and archives management from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. My personal field of historical focus is not medical history, per se; rather, I work on modern (1600-1980) Irish history, focusing on the intellectual history, culture, and ideology of Irish Republican nationalism. I got my first job in a medical archive at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine Center for the History of Medicine working with glass plate negatives from the collection of the Salpêtrière Hospital, some of which had been taken during the late 19th-century tenure of Jean-Martin Charcot. Working with the MHL has been a wonderful opportunity to broaden my historical horizons. It’s a great chance to work with historical material I’m already familiar with and connect it with the history of medicine and the narratives of physicians and patients. I do a little bit of everything for the MHL, from running the Twitter feed, to keeping blog content current, to working with collaborators to get new content into the Archive collection – to just about anything else that needs doing. Just about the only thing I don’t do is select volumes for digitization and work with the digitized files before they become fully presented volumes in our collection!
The MHL began digitization of monographs in 2010 with an initial grant from the Sloan Foundation. Work on the MHL project has continued with funding support from collaborating institutions, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Council on Library and Information Resources. All digitized works are located at the Internet Archive. The collection includes books, pamphlets, journals, and video and audio recordings in the history of medicine, including the health sciences (nursing, dentistry, audiology, physiology, psychology, psychiatry, biological science) and titles on spas, weather, veterinary medicine, gardening, physical culture, and alternative medicine. A working list of subject headings is available here. Titles have been chosen for their scholarly, educational, and research value. The MHL consults with a volunteer group of scholars in the history of medicine and related fields and surveys its users regularly. As of January 2013 the collection consisted of more than 40,000 books, journals, and videos on topics including surgery, public health, infectious diseases, gynecology, psychology, anatomy, neuroscience, tobacco, and homeopathy. In 2012 under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, the MHL began digitizing 19th and early 20th century American medical journals.
For more information on this excellent project, please visit The Medical Heritage Library page–an excellent resource and a fine collection!