Something for Everyone: The Anatomy Update Project at UNC Chapel Hill Health Sciences Library

Something for Everyone: The Anatomy Update Project at UNC Chapel Hill Health Sciences Library

Susan Swogger (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1897-8.ch020
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This chapter describes a broad anatomy collection development project undertaken by the Health Sciences Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The project included the selection of a wide range of new electronic resources and print materials to fully support the breadth of program needs and learning styles. As a case study, it provides ample opportunity to discuss strategies and best practices for materials selection to support multiple professional schools with similar but distinct curriculum needs. It also allows discussion of an equally critical but occasionally neglected aspect of collection development—marketing the resources to the users and continuing follow-up.
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In 2009, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill Health Sciences Library initiated a major project to increase and update its human anatomy holdings to better support its divergent curricular and clinical resource needs. This project began with a few simple requests and evolved into a complex endeavor requiring an extensive internal review, the selection of multiple varieties of new resources, and a major publicity campaign.

The Health Sciences Library (hereafter called the Library) supports five Health Sciences Schools, as well as the UNC Hospital system (hereafter called the Hospital). UNC Hospitals includes a variety of specialized public hospitals, all of them on the grounds of UNC Chapel Hill. There are five Schools—Medical, Dental, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health. Each has its own unique set of library resource needs that require attention, though there are many areas where resource needs overlap or are closely related. This is true of any library serving multiple health sciences, whether that means multiple academic schools or two different clinical specialties in a small hospital.

Several incidents highlighted the need for an updated and expanded collection for anatomy. The Library maintains a teaching collection of media and audiovisual resources rather than an archival collection. As these items are both subject to a very fast rate of decay and are in frequent danger of equipment obsolescence, the collection management policy calls for a regular review to ensure that they are in line with curricular needs and are being used. It had been several years since this review had last occurred, and it seemed unlikely that there would be very much circulation activity among the VHS cassettes. This supposition was proven correct by the circulation statistics for the past three years—few VHS cassettes had circulated, and most of those were titles known to be used by faculty and already slated for replacement. One group of cassettes, however, stood out—almost everything to do with anatomy was circulating heavily. Most of the few non-circulating anatomy tapes emitted the characteristic acrid smell of rotting VHS film afflicted with vinegar syndrome, and seemed unlikely to be functional. The worst smelling and most shattered looking tapes were piled at the circulation desk to be sent for testing when a pair of students brought a pile of well-worn anatomy books to the desk to borrow. Their faces fell when they saw the pile of wretched anatomy tapes. “Were those the only ones?” they asked, sadly. The willingness of our usually tech-snobbish students to use VHS cassettes, and that pile of battered anatomy books, provoked a deeper investigation of the state of all of the existing anatomy resources.

The Library also became aware at that time that several of the medical school faculty were contributing to new editions of Elsevier’s Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations volumes, as well as working to develop a series of companion videos. The faculty had sought their own subscriptions to the e-book editions of the Netter Collection, as they were then not available to libraries. The Library wanted to ensure that all of the potential users would have access to this resource rather than just the small number that this initial subscription could serve, and was thus interested in acquiring its own subscription as it became available to libraries.

Very soon after a decision had been made to update and expand the anatomical book and media resources, a request was received for a new electronic database. The radiology residency program at the Hospital had been using a free website focused on anatomy as a clinical support tool for years, unknown to the Library. The creators of this website—e-Anatomy, from Imaios—had decided to make some of their content accessible only to paid subscribers, and the chief resident immediately made a request for help to the Library. A decision was made to seek the best online anatomy database resource possible to support both the clinical users and the academic users.

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