Wednesday, February 28, 2007

People like you

I thought all our lurkers out there might be interested in some statistics on patrons here in the Historical Collections & Archives, which I have spent some of the morning laboriously calculating by hand (it's just like your grade school teacher told you: you do need to know math once you get to be an adult).

We break our patrons into two broad categories: those who actually physically come to the History of Medicine Room to examine materials, and those whose questions we answer remotely via email. Additionally, we classify patrons into four types: OHSU faculty/staff, OHSU students, researchers from other universities, and unaffiliated or independent researchers. Being such a coarse granularity of categorization, the system is not without its disadvantages, but it works well for our current purposes.

The time period under review is from my debut on the scene here in HC&A back in August of 2003 through last month (talk about currency!). Here is the breakdown:

In-House Use:
OHSU faculty: 31
OHSU students: 4
Other universities: 19
Unaffiliated/Independent: 14
Total: 68

E-Reference:
OHSU faculty: 70
OHSU students: 7
Other universities: 18
Unaffiliated/Independent: 104
Total: 199

While these numbers might seem low to the reader unfamiliar with research in archives, keep in mind that each researcher might visit us (or email us) dozens of times as their investigations progress. Also keep in mind how tough it is to be a med student (or a nursing student, or a dental student): there just is not that much time in the day.


What do these numbers mean to you? They mean: come on down! If you have a question about our collections, don't be shy if you're unaffiliated with OHSU. And if you are affiliated with OHSU, look at all your colleagues who are making time to drop by and see what we have to offer. If you're a student here, just wait until your research year during your residency: there are many historical topics to be mined with great payoff for modern medicine.

Don't be the last kid on the block to have a history project in the works!

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