The History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine has a rich collection of illustrated anatomical atlases dating from the 15th to the 20th century. The Historical Anatomies on the Web Project has been designed to broaden access to this collection by providing high-resolution downloadable scans of selected important images from the atlases. Atlases and images have been chosen for their historical and artistic significance by the project's content coordinator, Michael North. Important images may be omitted if the atlas is damaged or fragile, or if the work is bound in such a way as to impede high quality scanning. A priority has been placed upon scanning the earliest and/or the best edition of a work in Library's possession. The scans generally omit text.
In order to produce the highest quality images, the pages of the atlases have been scanned directly at a high resolution (see Technical Matters). Large JPEG files are offered for downloading, allowing users to employ them in any number of projects, including close examination and comparisons, publications, presentations, and artwork. The images are presented in a format that allows zooming and panning in high magnification. High-resolution TIFF files will be archived and made available to researchers.
Each atlas listing is accompanied by a brief historical discussion of the work, its author, the artists, and the illustration technique. A bibliographical description is also included, so that users will know which edition was scanned and if there are any characteristics special to the Library's copy. For more in-depth information about the history of anatomy, visit our online exhibition, Dream Anatomy.
All of the scanned works are in the public domain. The National Library of Medicine does not charge for the use of its images or require requests for permission. However, we ask that published images include the credit line "Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine." For further information see the Library's copyright policy.