Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Cleaning: Subject Files overhaul

Well, I don't mind admitting that I am worn out. I have looked through, shifted, and assessed every folder within the Subject Files in the past two days, and hauled a dozen boxes down from storage for archival processing.

For some time, we've been aware that there was a great deal of material in the Subject Files that is more properly archival in nature. In much the same way that we removed all archival materials from the PNW Archives Collection a few years back, these small collections-within-a-collection will be accessioned into the archives as separate groups. Deselected in the overhaul of the Subject Files are materials which include:
  • annual reports and correspondence from the People's Institute and Free Dispensary;
  • Christmas cards, correspondence, budgets and other materials from the Doernbecher Memorial Hospital for Children;
  • some of the papers of Bertha Hallam, first University Librarian and one of the founding members of the Medical Library Association;
  • records of the Oregon State Medical Society;
  • UOMS Dean's correspondence from 1911-1925;
  • documents pertaining to the transfer of land from the Oregon-Washington Railway and Navigation Co. to the university dating from 1913-1917;
and other materials, along with some publications which should really be cataloged. House cleaning always feels good when it's done--it's the doing that can be a bit of a drag.

For a little relaxation, I flipped through one of the publications I came across: Henry Sigerist's Medical History in the Medical Schools of the United States to see where UOMS ranked in 1939. I was a little surprised to find that in 1939 (which incidentally was the year in which the university's first library building was erected), third-year medical students at UOMS were required to take an 11-hour course on the history of medicine and an additional 4 or 5 hours of history of anatomy instruction. An elective class on the history of physiology, also 11 hours, was available to any student who had completed the required physiology course. Under the section labeled "Various", Sigerist notes: "Problem not solved; plans are nebulous; inadequate library facilities, crowded curriculum and so forth, make a well organized course in medical history difficult."

And so the wheel turns and nothing is new under the sun...

No comments: