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It’s Time to Dust Off Your Unique Historical Materials!

Does your institution’s collection contain unique historical health science materials (books, papers, images, artifacts, etc.)?  Would you be willing to answer reference questions about these materials?  Can you fill interlibrary loan requests for circulating items?  If you answered yes to these questions, your institution should be added to the National Library of Medicine’s Directory of History of Medicine Collections!

Preserving health sciences materials is an important part of the National Library of Medicine’s mission.  In addition to its own large collections, the NLM has created a directory of historical materials to highlight unique collections at other institutions and to provide contact information to researchers wishing to access them.  The NLM has asked its Regional Medical Libraries to identify collections in each region that should be included.

Inclusion in the directory is a great way to increase awareness of the depth of your collection and to reach more people interested in accessing your holdings.  You will also be helping the NLM to promote History of Medicine resources.  Please complete the brief information sheet and send it to Crystal Smith at the NLM so your collection can be added.  You will be asked to provide a description of your collection’s pertinent holdings and contact information for the directory entry.  Check out the University of Washington’s Rare Book and Special Collections for an example.  All participating institutions receive a complimentary copy of the print Directory every two years.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Burroughs, NN/LM PNR Associate Director, at cburroug@u.washington.edu, 206-543-9261 or 1-800-338-7657.

You can also contact Crystal Smith, History of Medicine Division, NLM, at crystal_smith@nlm.nih.gov, 301-496-9225.

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