Monday, March 02, 2015

The Inner Sanctum

Last week was “no-meeting” week at the library which gave me ample time to execute one of the goals I have for 2015: a re-organization of the physical archival materials at OHSU HC&A.  The re-organization was prompted by an analysis of the physical holdings of the archives which indicated that we could gain some space and maximize shelf utilization by moving from an accession number-arranged schema, to one in which materials were arranged by the size of their enclosure (metal edge letter boxes, versus legal; oversize materials versus negatives, slides or micro-formats, etc.).  In scoping out the plan I determined that I would need to move roughly 1,155 linear feet of material.  No-meeting week seemed perfect for this.

I started with an inventory of the oversize boxes and their rough dimensions.  I cleaned off one row of materials and moved them to work tables, allowing me to free the space where the oversize materials would move to.  I decided initially to start with oversize materials and ensure that they were located closely to the work tables and the giant flat space under which more oversize materials are stored.

Stacks - Oversize materials on the right
As materials were moved to the first row and eventually the second row, they were re-indexed on a spreadsheet and the resulting new locations were entered into our archival management software tool.  As the central rows were slowly filled with oversize boxes, the row that had been marked for letter-size metal edge boxes was also starting to fill.  After approximately 30 hours of shifting and shelf-optimization, the process was complete.

Stacks - 14 sections of letter-size boxes on right

In the end we freed roughly 80 linear feet of shelf space and set the stage for new materials to fit right in with their same sized buddies.  With the new layout we also have completely free aisles and table tops to work with.

I thought I would end this post with a "shelfie."  In the background you can see a little of the School of Nursing Banner, which adds some color and light to the room.  Also, you can see our new (not really "new") archives buddy, Melvin P. Judkins' cobra, which once sat on Dr. Judkins' desk.

University Archivist (right) with cobra (left)
Interested in visiting our archives?  Contact University Archivist, Max Johnson and I'll be happy to schedule a tour.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Simulation history and pocket phantoms, oh my!

Recently, we hosted a visit from a medical illustrator and graphic designer who is collaborating with us on a planned display on simulation in medical education history (which is to say, using anatomical models, manikins, virtual tools, and other stand-ins to educate students before turning them loose to practice on patients). One of the materials we pulled for visual inspiration and sources was an English edition of a 19th century obstetrics text, Dr. K Shibata's Geburtschülfliche Taschen-Phantom, (Obstetrical Pocket-Phantom), 1895. 

The pocket phantom text was first published in German before English and Japanese translations appeared. In the reprinted preface to the first (German) edition, the publisher notes that Shibata's phantoms sought to provide a portable, economical alternative to previous manikins or models for students learning obstetrics practices. 

The pocket phantom consists of two movable paper baby manikins and one paper two-layer manikin of a female pelvis through which the babies can pass. The mechanisms of labor, right at the fingertips of any in-the-know medical student!


As a "Call the Midwife" fan, I couldn't help try my hand at a breech birth...

Good thing I'm not a nurse-midwifery student!
As a funny coincidence, while conducting research for our upcoming summer exhibit on rare ophthalmology texts, Head of Historical Collections Maija Anderson came across this advertisement for the German first edition of the Geburtschülfliche Taschen-Phantom in this 1895 German ophthalmology handbook, Atlas Der Ophthalmoskopie, by Otto Haab. Clearly it's a must-have for the 1895 medical student set!

Did this post turn you into a fanatic for phantoms? (of the medical simulation kind...) You can make an appointment to see the Shibata text by sending me a message at or calling 503-494-5587. 

Further reading on simulation history: 

Owen, Harry, and Marco A. Pelosi. "A historical examination of the Budin-Pinard phantom: what can contemporary obstetrics education learn from simulators of the past?." Academic Medicine 88, no. 5 (2013): 652-656.

Owen, Harry. "Early use of simulation in medical education." Simulation in Healthcare 7, no. 2 (2012): 102-116.

Monday, February 23, 2015

OHSU Oral History Program update: Dr. Ira Pauly interviewed in Phoenix

Last week I made a whirlwind trip to Phoenix with Morgen Young, the consultant who manages our oral history program. We enjoyed the 80-degree sunshine and then interviewed Ira Pauly, M.D. in his home outside the city. The interview was captured by videographer Suree Towfighnia.

I talked with Dr. Pauly for over two hours about his education and upbringing; his early experience with transgender patients, which led to a meeting with Harry Benjamin, who became a mentor; the evolution of his approach to transgender patients; and his time at OHSU. We had an in-depth discussion of his important 1965 article, which was the first aggregation of case studies of male-to-female transgender patients: Dr. Pauly spoke about his initial interest in the subject matter, his difficulty getting the piece published, and the eventual publication and groundswell of support from colleagues. While Dr. Pauly retired from practice in the 1990s, he is still well ahead of his time in understanding LGBT health care issues.

The interview will result in a transcript and video available from OHSU Library - More updates soon!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Old Library images in a new library space

Recently, Max and I selected a number of images from our Historical Images Collection to propose for display in the OHSU Library's Graduate Learning Resource Center (LRC), located on the 4th floor of the Collaborative Life Sciences Building. Library administration turned to HC&A to create a display connecting the new library space to the history of the library and of OHSU's Marquam Hill campus.

 Along with three campus aerials spanning the 1920s through the 1990s (you may recall that aerials are, in fact, Max's favorite images!), the display plan includes one photograph from the Old Library that draws some of the library's historical activities into the beautiful new resource center. We will be asking Information and Research Services staff for feedback on the images we have proposed and their final selection will hang in the service desk area. We've narrowed the options down to six (no easy task for such lovers of the Old Library!). 

I'm partial to this gorgeous shot of an old card catalog:
Overhead photo of Old Library card catalog, c. 1940s
We also loved this shot of an old study carrel, which draws the viewer to connect the study spaces of today with the study nooks where previous generations of students camped out:

Study carrel, September 1946
How could we resist a photo that practically shouts, "Research help here"?

Stacking books outside of the Old Library entrance, June 1962
We also included some photographs of students and staff using Old Library spaces such as reading tables and seminar rooms:

Reference activities, 1945
Gathering in Old Library seminar room, c. 1940s
Finally, we just had to include this perennially popular photo of a student with Bertha Hallam, the first librarian of University of Oregon Medical School (1919-1965):
Bertha Hallam and student, c. 1930s
Which image would you choose to represent OHSU Library history in the shiny new LRC space? Stay tuned for the big reveal of the winning selection!

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Accession: Erickson Collection

We recently received an accrual of materials for the Erickson Collection which had initially only contained a doctor's bag and several implements.  The recent addition which came in last Friday was quickly inventoried by Meg Langford and is currently on track for preservation actions.  The materials in the new accrual contain records from 3 generations of health sciences practitioners (dentists and physicians), including early graduation materials, class notes and images from Dr. Charles A. Erickson, articles and drawings from Dr. Russell Erickson, Sr. and a painting of Dr. Russell Erickson, Jr.

One folder I wanted to highlight contained several materials on Dr. Charles A. Erickson.  Pictured above you can see on the left a leather bound Commencement Program from the 1910 graduating class of the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery, Valparaiso University.  Within we found an obituary for Dr. Charles A. Erickson, an undated photograph of him (upper right) and in the lower right a picture of him and his classmates during an Anatomy lecture.  Erickson is the second from the right.  All of the materials are well worn, but in excellent structural condition.  Please contact us for further information or to set up a research appointment to view the materials.

Till next time,