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1.the Medical Library

1.the Medical Library

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Published by: Joenabie Andoy Encanto on Nov 09, 2012
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WHO – Regional office for the Eastern Mediterranean
Historical Background
Medical libraries are not a recent trend. Large collections of medical books existed in ancient Egypt, Assyria and China. The chief Egyptianmedical papyri range in date from 1900-1200 B.C. The library of Ashur- banipal King of Assyria (668-626 B.C.) provided 30,000 fragments of cuneiform clay tablets of which 800 were medical. The two libraries of Alexandria - the Brucheum and the Serapeum - were the most famous of ancient world.The Romans in general despised medicine. But the libraries of Byzan-tium were well equipped with medical works. During the long period of Islamic supremacy in science (9
centuries), great medical librarieswere built up in the East and Spain. Avicenna left a description of theRoyal Library at Bokhara. The earliest found-ers of monastic libraries inthe 3
century made provision for the custody and control of books.As soon as medical teaching began in the newly founded universities,medical libraries in a special sense were created, but grew slowly. Butthe outstanding examples were the libraries of medical corporations andsocieties of which many are still existent, an example of which is the pre-sent Royal Society of Medicine which has the leading British medical li- brary.In U.S.A, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) was established in1836 to become the most important medical library in the world
Libraries fall traditionally into one of the following types :a. National libraries b. Public librariesc. Academic librariesd. Special librariese. School libraries
Encyclopaedia of librarianship / edited by Thomas Landau, p. 239-241.
Medical Library Handbook
One is inclined here to consider medical libraries as special libraries astheir clientele and services are directed towards specific community andsubject respectively. But actually they are more than this, as they may benational, public or academic libraries as well. Moreover, the literaturethat medical libraries cater for is doubling at least every fifteen years, thenumber of medical students increases every year, the fields themselvesare changing as medical activities now take into account the complex in-terplay of personal, emotional and environmental factors that affect anindividual’s health and well being, as well as evidencing new interests insuch disciplines as psychology, anthropology, economics, sociology, biophysics, ecology, mathematics, electronics, communication scienceand operations research
as well as chemistry and physics.Saying this we may derive the following all-embracing definition of themedical library - better called health sciences library :“ The library that is exclusively or predominately concerned with materi-als and information whether acquired or accessible in the fields of healthsciences, and exclusively or largely serves all the needs of members of health, allied and related professions and services “.
Objectives of the Medical Library
The overall aim of the medical library, regardless of its location, size or  parent organization is to provide organized library services to meet theinformation needs of its clientele in their activities relating to patientcare, education, research, management and any other specialized ser-vices.To enable the medical library to meet this aim, and fulfill its mission, inharmony with the objectives and goals of its parent organization, the fol-lowing objectives may be listed
:1. Acquire, organize, provide access to, and process information so thata user has immediate access to all facts, concepts, ideas, or other items of information relevant to his particular needs ;2. Handle wide variety of inputs, including formal publications of allformats, informal notes and comments, and items derivedfrom more than one source ;3. Reduce the difficulties now caused by the diversity of symbols, lan-guages, jargons, and terminologies ;4. Essentially eliminate the publication lag ;
Miller, James G. Design of a university health science center, p. 101-121.
ibid, p. 103.
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WHO – Regional office for the Eastern Mediterranean
5. Make possible the retrieval of all, or nearly all, existing informationrelevant to a search ;6. Respond immediately to a user’s request, interact with him, and ad- just to his level of sophistication ;7. Facilitate interaction of groups of coworkers with each other andwith the library ;8. Provide the user, on demand, with either the flexibility, legibility, portability, and convenience of the printed page, or the dynamicquality and immediate responsiveness enabled by information tech-nology ;9. Store information on the users’ interests and needs for the purpose of formulating policies about acquisitions and retention, taking the ini-tiative to keep each user informed about new information which is inhis field of interest ;10. Develop flexible working relationships with other systems ;11. Standardize cataloguing, indexing and abstracting activities to makethem most efficient and most valuable to the users ;12. Record and process all bookkeeping, billing, receipt and dis- bursement ;13. Handle guidelines, strategies, tactics and rules of thumb intended toexpedite solution of the problems of information processing ;14. Provide for continuing efforts to improve the organization of andeasy access to the existing body of knowledge, including resourcessharing, and continuous education of both staff and users.These objectives, to be achieved whether comprehensively or selectively,depending on the resources provided and clientele served, require the provision of various types of services and functions which will be cov-ered later in the handbook.
Types of Medical Libraries
Medical libraries may be categorized by the subject they cover, the formof materials they collect, or by the type of users they serve. For instancethere may be a nursing library covering the subject of nursing, and ser-vicing the community of nurses, or a library that collects journals, his-torical materials or archives for researchers, while another library catersfor clinicians, physiotherapists, or consumers.

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