141 SPEC Kit 352: Collection Assessment
Programs and Services Fiscal Year 2014 (excerpts)
Library Operations
Publishing trends had an impact on the selection of new
journals for the collection. The number of newly-launched
journals decreased at some major medical publishers. The
trend toward the “mega-journal” (a single journal that
covers a wide number of disciplines) had an effect, as
several publishers entered that arena and offered what
might have previously constituted many new journals as a
single title. Selection activity increased due to the adoption
of somewhat more rigorous journal selection guidelines,
necessitated in part by the proliferation of journals that do
not meet the most basic standards of medical publishing.
Following the discovery of a large collection of
uncatalogued World Health Organization documents that
had been given to NLM in the past, selectors reviewed and
sent many titles for cataloging. This collection includes
reports on malaria and other infectious diseases, brief
papers by notable medical scientists such as Jonas Salk, and
reports on health conditions in Africa and Latin America,
primarily from the 1940s and 1950s. The review of this
collection will continue into the new fiscal year.
In their efforts to enrich the NLM collections,
selectors focused on areas of critical national and
international importance. For example, in response to the
Ebola crisis, selectors identified books, reports, and video
recordings on the science and history of the disease, as well
as preparedness and response documents. HMD and TSD
staff also worked to launch a Web collecting initiative to
capture and preserve selected born-digital content
documenting the Ebola outbreak. Examined content
included Web sites and social media from Government and
non-government organizations, journalists, healthcare
workers, and scientists in the United States and around the
world, with an aim to collect and preserve a diversity of
perspectives on this health crisis.
Web content on other infectious diseases (such as
influenza and tuberculosis) and topics such as health care
reform, global health, and environmental health disasters
were also acquired. The collecting rationale is to assemble
a collection of works that are of interest to current
researchers and that also chronicle health-related events
that will be of interest to researchers in the future. National
Digital Stewardship Resident Maureen Harlow conducted a
project to collect Web content on Disorders of the
Developing and Aging Brain: Autism and Alzheimer’s.
LO also continued to collect blogs authored by doctors and
patients, to illuminate health care thought and practice in
the 21st century.
TSD received and processed 114,197 contemporary
physical items (books, serial issues, audiovisuals, and
electronic media). The number of electronic-only serials
grew to nearly 3,200 by the end of FY2014, now
representing more than 18 percent of all currently acquired
serials. In FY2014, 5,547 licensed and 4,415 free
electronic journals were available to NLM users. A net
total of 28,911 volumes and 4,810,440 other items
(including non-print media, manuscripts, and pictures
acquired by HMD) were added to the NLM collection.
Late in September 2014, NLM learned that Swets
Information Services, a company that served as the
primary serials subscription agent for NLM, filed for
bankruptcy. The company based in the Netherlands,
provided subscription services for hundreds of libraries
around the world. Swets managed NLM orders for
approximately 8,000 serial titles from over 3,300 different
publishers in 66 countries. NLM was able to de-obligate
the balance of funds from the contract prior to the end of
FY2014, which prevented any loss of funds as a result of
the bankruptcy. Orders for 2015 subscriptions will be
handled by a new contractor (or contractors). The shut-
down of Swets’ facilities interrupted the delivery of issues
to the Library, resulting in short-term gaps in the print
collection. Many publishers contacted NLM and offered
to ship issues directly, and staff contacted other publishers
to request that issues be mailed to NLM. Electronic access
was not impacted. Over 60 percent of the titles subscribed
to via Swets are available electronically.
HMD acquired a wide variety of important
printed books, manuscripts and modern archives, images,
and historical films during FY2014, including an early
German manuscript pharmacopoeia by an anonymous
author, written around the year 1600, with later additions
included. The pharmacopoeia is a recipe book with
formulae for waters, electuaries, oils, ointments, etc., for
combatting cancer, plague, jaundice, fevers, kidney and
liver ailments, gynecological disorders, burns, fractures
and other infirmities. Following the main text is a circa
1800 list of common abbreviations, an unfinished glossary
(going only to ‘C”) of Latin chemicals and ingredients
with German translations and a brief note about each, and
an alphabetical list of ailments and conditions listing the
main ingredients to be found in medicaments for their
Among the important printed books acquired in
FY2014 are several early foreign language editions of
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of
Natural Selection, including versions in Russian, French,
and Hungarian. The foreign translations of this
groundbreaking work are important because they often
include unique commentary by the translators, and because
the theory of evolution that was promulgated in the book
was received differently all over the world. These books
provide insights into how the theory was presented,
debated, and quickly spread throughout the scientific
NLM received a large collection of AIDS-related
books as a gift from Dr. June E. Osborn. During the 1980s
and 1990s, Dr. Osborn held numerous senior positions,
including Chair of the National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute advisory
committee on AIDS, the National Advisory Committee for
the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's AIDS Health
Previous Page Next Page