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Collection Development Policy Guidelines

  1. General Scope

    1. Audience
      This collection development policy refers to the material collected with funds designated for medicine and housed in the Biomedical Libraries.  Other funds may purchase, and other Dartmouth libraries may house, material touching on medical topics due to the interdisciplinary nature of medicine and its effects on culture, literature, history, economics, and other areas of scholarship.

      The Biomedical Libraries are comprised of the Dana Biomedical Library on the Dartmouth College campus and the Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan staff for the Biomedical Libraries are located at the Dartmouth Library Depository (DLD), as are the majority of journals and monographs formerly housed at the former Dana building at 64 College Street. The mission of the Biomedical Libraries is to provide health and life sciences information resources and services that advance research and scholarship, education, and patient-care activities of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (Geisel), the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI),  the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), and Dartmouth College. The collection is nominally divided between the primarily clinical Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library and the primarily research and teaching collection in the Dana Biomedical Library; however, the majority of items in the Dana collection are now housed off site at the DLD. For the purposes of this policy, the divided collections are considered as one.

      The Biomedical Libraries' collection in the medical sciences is used not only by Geisel, TDI, and DHMC, but also by the Dartmouth College departments of Biological Sciences, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Anthropology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and others, and the Thayer School of Engineering.  It also serves the personal health and disease information needs of members of the Dartmouth and DHMC communities, including patients and families.

      The Dana Biomedical Library opened in 1963 in Hanover. The Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library opened in 1992 at DHMC.

      The Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (Geisel), known as the Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) until 2012, was founded by Nathan Smith on November 22, 1797. Its early graduates received M.B. degrees, beginning in 1798. The M.D. degree was first awarded in 1812. The first Ph.D. degree was awarded in 1966.

      The 1910 Flexner Report on medical education nationwide found that Geisel had an inadequate patient base for clinical training. As a result, the final two years of the M.D. program were suspended in 1913. Geisel concentrated on preparation of students in the basic sciences; the students transferred to other institutions to complete their degrees. In 1970, the M.D. program was reinstated with a 3-year curriculum; the first M.D. degrees since 1914 were conferred in 1973. A four-year curriculum was adopted in 1979.

      The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, formerly the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences at Dartmouth, was established in 1993.  The nation's first graduate program in evaluative clinical sciences, TDI is now also a school of public health.  It originated as a program of the Dartmouth Medical School and became independent in 2008.

      The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science (TDC) was established in 2010, and in 2011 began offering a Masters in Health Care Delivery Science. This degree is a collaboration of the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration (Tuck) and TDI.  In 2015, TDC merged with TDI; however, this hybrid distance/residential degree is still offered.

      Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital (MHMH) was founded in 1893 with Geisel faculty as its medical staff. Graduate medical education (post-medical school residency programs) was offered at MHMH beginning in 1894. The MHMH School of Nursing operated from 1893 to 1977. The Hitchcock Clinic was established in 1927. The White River Junction Veterans Administration Center (WRJ-VA) became a teaching affiliate in 1946. The Norris Cotton Cancer Center opened in 1972. Geisel, MHMH, and WRJ-VA joined in 1973 to form the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). A new facility called the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, incorporating the hospital, physicians' offices (the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic), research labs, and teaching space, opened its doors in Lebanon, NH, in October 1991.

      Dartmouth-Hitchcock has regional clinics and hospital affiliates in New Hampshire and Vermont. Geisel has teaching affiliations with healthcare practitioners and clinical facilities throughout the region and beyond. Individual practitioners in any of these affliliate programs and facilities may, by virtue of their faculty status granted by Geisel, have access to library resources.  However, other healthcare providers and staff in those facilities do not have access, as contracts specify access for only Dartmouth College faculty.

      Geisel, TDI, and Joint Programs
      The Geisel School of Medicine consists of Education, Basic Science and Clinical Departments. In 2016, Geisel initiated the Department of Medical Education, and the Basic Science departments were consolidated to become Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Biomedical Data Science, Epidemiology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Molecular and Systems Biology.  The Clinical Departments are Anesthesiology, Community and Family Medicine, Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedics, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Radiology and Surgery. However, while physicians in clinical departments have Geisel faculty appointments, as of July 2016, the departments themselves and their chairs report directly to DHMC. Faculty research interests include all areas of clinical medicine, cancer and its prevention, public health and medical outcomes, epidemiology, cellular and molecular biology, immunology, neurosciences, genetics, and bioethics.

      Geisel has more than 750 full-time faculty members and over 1,200 part-time and adjunct faculty. There are about 390 medical students and about 200 graduate students. The Graduate Medical Education program at DHMC supports over 40 residency and fellowship programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education for a house staff of over 350.

      The courses of instruction in Geisel lead to the M.D., M.D./Ph.D., M.D./M.B.A., M.P.H, M.S., or Ph.D. degrees. The undergraduate medical education program is a four-year program leading to the M.D. degree. Geisel's graduate education programs include the Pharmacology and Toxicology Program, the Molecular and Cellular Biology Programs (Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Genetics, or Microbiology and Immunology), the Immunology Program, the Molecular Pathogenesis Program, the Molecular, Cellular, and Systems Physiology Program, the Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine, and the Quantitative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. The combined M.D./Ph.D. program integrates medical studies with the doctoral programs in other disciplines. Medical students may also work on a combined M.D./Ph.D (in biomedical engineering) with the Thayer School of Engineering or an M.D./M.B.A. degree with Tuck.

      The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI) offers M.P.H., M.S., Ph.D., and Post-Doctoral Fellowships programs focusing on healthcare evaluation, medical decision-making, and health policy. In 2016, TDI began offering on online M.P.H.  TDI also offers a dual M.B.A/M.P.H. degree program with the Tuck School. TDI and Tuck also continue to offer the M.H.C.D.S. degree, focusing on the value-based improvement of health care delivery.

    2. Boundaries
      The Biomedical Libraries' medical sciences collections cover the clinical, research, and teaching interests of faculty, students, and staff of the Geisel School of Medicine and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. No area of medicine or public health is considered out of scope; veterinary medicine, dentistry, and chiropractic are collected at only a very basic level. The book collection's subject coverage is more broad than deep.

      Most books considered for purchase are quite current; materials published more than five years ago are purchased very selectively. Monographs are weeded regularly since clinical material becomes obsolete rapidly. Older editions of prominent textbooks may be kept for historical perspective but most monographs are withdrawn as they are superseded by new material.

      When Matthews-Fuller was established in 1992, its collection was limited to very current, clinically-oriented books and journals, while the basic science, research-oriented, curricular, public health, and historical material remained at Dana. As research programs are increasingly based at both campuses, the subject split between the collections has blurred with more non-clinical books and journals now housed at Matthews-Fuller.  However, Matthews-Fuller's small size continues to dictate that the bulk of the Biomedical Libraries' collection remains in Dana. Duplication between the two sites is minimized.

      Medicine and Public Health are increasingly interdisciplinary and any of the Dartmouth libraries might collect material that is relevant to research in these areas. For example, Baker Library collects in psychology, anthropology, ethics, sociological and political perspectives in medicine, and economic health care issues. It maintains the collection of U.S. government documents. Feldberg collects materials in biomedical engineering, medicine and business, health care administration, and biotechnology.

      LC Class
      QM, QR, R-RZ

      Special Collections and Manuscripts
      Rare books, manuscripts, and other historical items are not actively collected by medical funds for the Biomedical Libraries.

      As of the fall of 2006, the most significant and rare materials have been transferred to the Rauner Special Collections Library so that they might receive appropriate care and curation.  The remaining material was assessed for continuing relevance to Dartmouth's research and teaching, and then retained, withdrawn, or transferred as appropriate.

    3. Partnerships
      There are currently no partnerships that are particular to the Biomedical Libraries for Medicine. However, new developments in the Ivies Plus consortium may offer possibilities for collections collaborations. 

  2. Specific Delimitations to collecting in this subject area

    1. Languages
      Material is acquired in English, with rare exception.

    2. Geographical Areas (if applicable)
      Medical publishing generally describes subjects which are largely independent of geography. When there is a focus on medical issues in a particular geographic area, New Hampshire, Vermont, New England, and other areas with particular ties to Geisel, such as Tanzania and Kosovo, are of interest.  Geisel's ties with Kosovo date back to 1999 and are described here.  More information about the DARDAR initiative for infectious disease in Tanzania is found here.

    3. Types of Materials Collected
      The emphasis is on serials, with nearly 95% of the information resources budget going towards subscriptions or licenses. Monographs are nonetheless an important part of the collection.

      Traditional books, journals, and finding aids are supplemented by newer clinical support tools and digital portals that bring together multiple material types.

      There is a small but significant collection of books and videos for patients and their families.

      Dissertations from outside of Dartmouth are rarely collected.

    4. Format of Materials Collected
      The Biomedical Libraries have a widely dispersed clientele and digital full-text books and journals are essential to providing service to users at the two campuses and across the region. Most current journals are now received in digital format only.  Frequently updated reference resources, such as encyclopedias and directories, are preferred in digital format. Print is still the predominant format for monographs in the existing collection; however, the Biomedical Libraries are now purchasing more ebooks than print books on an annual basis.  Digital journals tend to be the sole format.

      Other formats, including DVDs, videotapes, sound recordings, anatomical models, and computer programs, are purchased selectively, primarily for curricular support and continuing medical education.

    5. Collective Collections
      The collection is extended through consortial licenses for journals and through resource sharing such as Borrow Direct, DOCLINE, and OCLC. The Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries are a Resource Library in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine/New England Region.

      The White River Junction Veterans Administration Center has a library to support its staff.

      The Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard, the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale, and the National Library of Medicine have significant History of Medicine collections.

  3. Revision History
    • September 2016, updated by Laura Cousineau, Jeremy Klockars, and Ashley Duguay
    • May 2012, updated by Peggy Sleeth
    • October 2006, updated by Peggy Sleeth
    • May 2000, updated by Peggy Sleeth
    • Current Selector: Ashley Duguay

Last Updated: 9/30/16