Health Sciences Library celebrates
10 years in its 'new' home

Net surfing was hardly a job requirement in 1855 for the librarians who staffed the Atlanta Medical College library, precursor to the Health Sciences Center (HSC) Library. How times have changed.

In addition to its collection of nearly 200,000 medical volumes and some 2,000 scientific journals, the library-which is celebrating its 10th year in its "new" Dental Building location-provides access to some of the most sophisticated computer reference sources available. Visitors can "dissect" a cadaver using ADAM software, browse medical encyclopedias via CD ROM or learn to surf MedWeb, the library's own popular Internet search engine that links to more than 11,000 biomedical Net resources <>. MedWeb had more than 2 million hits from Emory alone last fall.

Fourteen publicly available computer workstations in the reference area provide users access to EUCLID, Emory's online catalog for all the University's libraries; access to Internet resources including the GALILEO set of online databases; and access to OVID Web Gateway, a collection of biomedical databases such as Medline, CancerLit and AIDSLine for searching current medical literature. Hours spent accessing OVID through the library have increased more than 305 percent since 1990.

"We see ourselves as part of a national biomedical information network," said Library Director Carol Burns. "We envision the library of the future in which digital resources from both local and remote systems are accessible to library users wherever they may be, reducing significantly the reliance on print resources."

The HSC library was formally established in 1923 as the A.W. Calhoun Medical Library. Dr. F. Phinizy Calhoun contributed the gift to support the facility and named it for his father, Abner Wellborn Calhoun. It was housed in a few different locations in Emory Hospital, moved in 1952 to Woodruff Memorial Building, then again in 1987 to its present 39,000-square-foot home. The library includes the extensive Alice Kidd Davis Nursing Collection and remains an important resource for all health professionals in the Atlanta area, not just those affiliated with Emory.

The library tallied more than 230,000 visits during 1995-96. Additional services include an interlibrary loan program that has access to Ariel, an enhanced document delivery system for the Internet; a Media Services/Learning Lab with Macintosh and PC microcomputers that provide programs such as LearnLink; statistical software and computer-assisted test review; slide services; audiovisual materials; course reserves; nursing and public health theses; and access to the library's historical collections. Users photocopied more than 2 million pages of material in 1995-96.

A Grady branch of the HSC Library was created in the 1950s and an Emory Hospital branch in 1992. Both branches serve as clinical decision-making resources for medical staff and students. In addition to housing a limited number of books and medical journals, the branches provide computer access to medical literature databases, HSC Library titles and even to the electronic medical record system of patient charts.

"Library services, while increasingly automated, still rely on well-trained and responsive staff," Burns said in a profile of the HSC Library in UPDATE: The Bulletin of the Georgia Health Sciences Library Association. "Fifteen librarians and 31 staff members strive to provide a high level of professional service in accessing a growing body of health information."

Questions may directed electronically to reference librarians through the library's World Wide Web homepage at: WHSCL/REFERENCE/reflib.html.

-Lorri Preston

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