Thursday, February 18, 2010

Collective Collaboration

This afternoon, the History of Medicine Room will be the site of the annual meeting of the OHSU History of Medicine Society Steering Committee, when we will touch base on lecture series planning, get a budget update, talk about possible projects, and--of course--ooh and aah over books.

The OHSU Library's financial contribution to the Society comes not in the form of operating cash but in the printed page: each fiscal year, a small amount is set aside in a fund for the purchase of books. Selections are made with the input of the group as a whole from a short list of possibilities (I get to do all the window shopping in advance). Since 2003, this collaboration has brought four books to the History of Medicine Collection, to wit:

Bert, Paul, 1833-1886.
La pression barométrique : recherches de physiologie expérimentale / par Paul Bert ... Avec 89 figures dans le texte.
Paris : G. Masson, 1878.
Bert's classic work on the physiological effects of air pressure.

Descartes, René, 1596-1650.
Tractatus de homine, et de formatione foetus / René Descartes ; quorum prior notis perpetuis Ludovici de La Forge ... illustratur.
Amstelodami : Apud Danielem Elsevirium, 1677.
This is considered by some to be the first book on physiology.

Glisson, Francis, 1597-1677.
Anatomia hepatis. Cui praemittuntur quaedam ad rem anatomicam universe spectantia. Et ad calcem operis subjiciuntur nonnulla de lymphae-ductibus nuper repertis ...
Londini, Typis Du-Gardianis, impensis Octaviani Pullein, 1654.
The book includes the first description of the capsule of the liver, and is an important early work on the physiology of digestion.

Glisson, Francis, 1597-1677.
Tractatus de ventriculo et intestinis : cui præmittitur alius de partibus continentibus in genere & in specie de iis abdominis / auctore Francisco Glissonio.
Amstelodami : Apud Jacobum Juniorem, 1677.
In this text, the author first sets out his description of what came to be called "Glissonian irritability", which posited that tissues other than nerves have a "natural perception" that allows them to respond to irritation.

Students of medical bibliography will recognize these titles from lists like Norman's One hundred books famous in medicine and Hanlin and Martin's Heirs of Hippocrates, as well as Morton's medical bibliography (also called Garrison-Morton). They might also recognize a pattern of purchasing physiology texts; this builds on our strength in that area (just below anatomy in the collection numbers) and reflects the relative antiquity of physiology as a specialty within medicine. Will we stick with physiology in the next election? Stay tuned to find out.

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