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Collection Development Manual

History of Medicine


Definition:
The history of medical thought and practice.
Discussion:
The selection of the secondary source literature for the history of medicine, that is, for interpretive, analytical and biographical studies of the medicine of the past, requires a broad interpretation of medical thought and practice, and a recognition that the boundaries of medicine change over time. Further, an understanding of the impact of social, political, economic and religious factors on medical practice is essential for research in the history of medicine.
Scope and emphasis:
The scope of the Library's collecting effort in the history of medicine is broad, including such topics as the history of the biological sciences; all aspects of the practice of medicine; medical and allied professions; histories of selected hospitals, schools of medicine, medical museums, and other health-related institutions; public health; biographies of medical figures; medicine as depicted in art, stamp and coins; medical theories and philosophies; popular and folk medicine; quackery; and the sociology of medicine. NLM also selectively acquires significant works in related subjects to document the sociocultural context of a particular era. Scholarly works are collected without regard to their language or geographical origin.
Selected related works are acquired as needed to provide a cultural context for the study of medical history, as are the reference and bibliographical tools of historical scholarship deemed most important for the NLM mission.
Special Considerations:
Because the Library of Congress comprehensively collects reference and bibliographic tools, NLM collects only those which are most critical to the support of scholarship in the history of medicine.
See also:
7/30/04
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