DAHSL: Developing Academic Health Sciences Libraries


a collaboration to create the 21st century academic health sciences library…

How Physical Does the Library Need to Be?

by: James Shedlock, Director of Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University COM in Library Notes

The announcement that the Johns Hopkins University medical school will close its health sciences library starting January 1, 2012 has stunned many in the library world. A posting on the Welch Medical Library website describes their new reality. As surprising as the news is, the Hopkins staff and their director, Nancy Roderer, deserve credit for making a tough but reasonable decision.

One take away from the Hopkins announcement is that it’s time to rethink our terminology about libraries. The library building may be closing but the library is still open … online. The physical library is less relevant at Hopkins but the electronic library is what users want, need, appreciate and actually use.

You may wonder if this will become more common at other medical schools. Because this is happening at Hopkins, a top ranked research-intensive medical school according to the U.S. News and World Report, I’ve already been asked by NU faculty if this is a trend. I doubt it for established medical schools, and particularly for Northwestern. Hopkins developed separate student facilities for their programs in medicine, nursing and public health and as a result, the students didn’t need to use the physical Welch Medical Library. At Northwestern, the Galter Library is one of the chief education and collaboration facilities for our students, and the medical school has invested money to make the library a versatile space for study, research, resource storage and social functions. Read the rest of this entry »


Filed under: Administrative Issues, Issues and Challenges, , ,

Evolution of the Textbook, in the HHMI Bulletin

Publishers are beginning to go digital with textbooks, pushing boundaries to give students a personalized, interactive experience.

The ink hadn’t dried on the first edition of Molecular Biology: Principles and Practice when its scientist authors began dreaming up ideas for the second. They would go way beyond words on the page to give students a front row seat to science in action.

It was the summer of 2010, and the collaborators had just met with Adam Steinberg, the book’s artist. On his newly minted iPad, Steinberg showed them a splashy periodic table application called The Elements: A Visual Exploration that rocked their world.

The app included cleverly worded facts and scintillating periodic table trivia. But its real impact was visual. Its creator, scientist Theodore Gray, had gathered a mini-museum’s worth of fascinating objects to represent each element—from an iridescent hunk of bismuth to a dimestore dragon figurine made of copper. App users could see the objects in 3-D and rotate them, front to back and front again, with the swipe of a finger.

It wasn’t quite holding an object and turning it over in your hand, but it was pretty close.  Read entire article here.

Illustration: Keenan Cummings

Filed under: Administrative Issues, ,

Update from Dave Boilard at FIU

Hello Colleagues,

The Medical Library at the “Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine,” Florida International University is now open for business. The College of Medicine’ s (COM) inaugural class numbers 43 excited students. Orientation began on August 3rd. Classes start next Monday.

The Medical Library (not yet named) is currently located inside the university library building, and is expected to remain there through 2012. The library’s reporting line is directly to the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the COM, with a dotted line to the FIU Dean of Libraries. In the next 4-8 years, the medical library will evolve into a health science library to support the emerging Medical Center on campus. For this year, we have four professional librarians and four support staff (plus students).

The collections are 99.9% digital and are licensed for all of FIU.  Students have online access to over 4,000 journals and 800 books in the medical and health sciences through FIU and the Florida Center for Library Automation. The only print materials are the required textbooks, and gifts of older materials. It will be an interesting experiment.

The new COM website should go ‘live’ on Wednesday, and we are pleased to have a spot on the home page (bottom). On subsequent pages, the library has persistent placement in the Quick Links. I’m afraid I do not have a link to offer right now.

The Medical Library has joined DOCLINE, so feel free to add us to an appropriate cell.

Special thanks go to Barbara Shearer and her medical librarians at Florida State University, Nadine Dexter, the FIU university and law librarians, and to other colleagues too numerous to mention in Florida and around the country for their assistance.  Now we’ll see what happens.


David W. Boilard
Director, Medical Library
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine – GL 324
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-0643 phone
(305) 348-0631 fax

Filed under: New Libraries,

From the Texas Medical Center Digital Commons

The Library of the Future: a presentation

Leah Krevit–HAM-TMC Library

In the 2007 film Starting Out in the Evening, Leonard Schiller, an aging writer, whose novels are out-of-print and who is doggedly trying to finish writing his last book, is asked by a young graduate student: “Aren’t you afraid that, in 100 years, no one will be reading your books?” His answer: “My dear, I’m afraid that, in 100 years, no one will be reading at all.” This presentation will look at the role of libraries in the future, how they will continue to maintain the traditions of reading, scholarly publishing, and the preservation of knowledge, and how they will use technology to enhance research, education, and communication. Current issues will be noted and future trends will be identified. The library’s role as an agent for change will also be addressed.

Find entire presentation at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/library_collpubs/1/

Many thanks to June Simms, Touro University Nevada for pointing out this presentation!

Filed under: Issues and Challenges, ,



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