Best Books – Spotlight on Digital Book Collections

What’s new in digital book collections? 

Last month, THI’s Dr. O.H. “Bud” Frazier was featured in an article in the Texas Medical Center News online, “Heart surgeon collects literary treasures.”

Here at the library, we always enjoy hearing about a doctor’s love of books and medical history. Thanks to digitization, collections of historical medical texts are now more accessible to everyone. For instance, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has a collection of selected rare books and items on the history of medicine, and unless you plan to visit the library in Maryland, you may never see these items in person. Digitization brings these items to you via the Internet.

NLM Digital Resources

NLM also has the full text of the recent book, Hidden Treasure: the National Library of Medicine, online in PDF form! The book highlights the NLM’s diverse historical collection, from anatomy and surgical procedures to dental cartoons. Adolf Hitler’s medical records are even included. The book is a fascinating read with photographs and an essay to accompany each item.

Hidden Treasure: the National Library of Medicine

Hidden Treasure book

PDF of book

Plus, an iPad app lets you virtually turn the pages of rare medical books from their collection!

There are many great online sources for free e-books. Larger medical libraries offer digital collections, and many older texts are available from Google Books.

De Humani Corporis Fabrica: Google Books

Here are some digital library collections to check out:

Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, Medical Historical Library, Yale University

Wellcome Library, the History of Medicine Collection, London

Moody Library, Blocker History of Medicine Collection, UTMB Health

The TMC Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center Digitized Collections, Texas Medical Center

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