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Project Spotlight: LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport, A Chronological History

Image of Old Hospital Building at LSU HSC S

The most recent digitization project undertaken at the LSU Health Sciences Center Medical Library was funded through a Technology Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region. This digital initiative focused on the founding, development and progress of the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport.

The idea of a medical school located in north Louisiana was first discussed at a Shreveport Medical Society meeting on April 4, 1950, but politics, funding, and other obstacles delayed the establishment of this facility until June 7, 1965. The first class of 32 medical students began their studies in September 1969 in temporary classrooms at the Veterans Administration Hospital. This first class graduated in May 1973, two years before the medical school building was completed, bringing the 25-year struggle to a successful conclusion. Medical School alumni now number 3,300.

1981 Ground Breaking

The primary source materials that formed the nucleus of this project were drawn from the holdings of the Medical Library Archives and include correspondence, photographs, slides, newspaper articles, institutional publications, audio and videotapes, as well as three dimensional artifacts. Specific resources include the Gordon W. Maxcy Photograph Collection, several thousand newspaper clippings dating from the early 1960s, taped oral history interviews with Medical School founders and pioneers, and videotapes of memorable events including Dr. Edgar Hull’s last Faculty Council Meeting as Dean and the School of Medicine groundbreaking. More than 100 cubic feet of archival resources were searched to provide a fascinating glimpse into our past.

The NN/LM SCR Technology Award provided funding for equipment and services, including the digitization of the paper documents and the transfer of the audiovisual materials from analog to digital format. Technical and descriptive metadata was created for these digital surrogates, supplying much needed bibliographic control and subject access. These digital images provided unlimited possibilities as vehicles for education and publicity. Two of the more important applications were the Louisiana Digital Library www.louisianadigitallibrary.org and the Library’s history website, LSU Health Sciences Center –Shreveport: A Chronological History www.lsuhscshistory.org.

Our digital images can be accessed in three format-based collections in the Louisiana Digital Library: the LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport Audiovisual Collection, the LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport Photograph Collection, and the LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport Newspaper Clippings. Researchers will find extensive information and images that highlight the people, places and events that document the history of the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport.

Nurses

The LSU Health Sciences Center –Shreveport: A Chronological History website provides another graphically rich source of information about the medical school’s history. Newspaper clippings reveal the unflagging loyalty of the local Shreveport physicians who fought long and hard to establish a medical school. Photographs document the groundbreaking, construction and dedication of the Medical School building. Audio and video clips bring life to important events in the medical school’s history.

While digitization efforts over the past five years have transformed a small portion of our growing archive, future digital initiatives will be necessary to reveal the numerous treasures still hidden in boxes and filing cabinet drawers. These newly digitized resources will be used to enhance and expand the historical website and allow us to share more of our collections through the Louisiana Digital Library.

For additional information, please contact Dee Jones at djone4@lsuhsc.edu or 318-675-5458.

Special thanks to guest author Dee Jones, Head of Cataloging, LSU HSC Shreveport Medical Library.

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