by Katina Strauch, Editor
There is a new blog featuring the historical collections of the National Library of Medicine, and we have added it to the Against the Grain Blog Network! NLM’s History of Medicine Division has launched Circulating Now, to encourage greater exploration and discovery of one of the world’s largest and most treasured history of medicine collections. Encompassing millions of items that span ten centuries, these collections include items in just about every form one can imagine—from books, journals, and photographs, to lantern slides, motion picture films, film strips, video tapes, audio recordings, pamphlets, ephemera, portraits, woodcuts, engravings, etchings, and lithographs. The NLM’s historical collections also include items from the present day: born-digital materials and rich data sets—like the millions of records in its IndexCat database—that are ripe for exploration through traditional research methods and new ones that are emerging in the current climate of “big data” and the digital humanities. For over 175 years the NLM’s historical collections have circulated to generations within the reading rooms of its various locations in and around Washington, DC. Now, these collections circulate daily to millions of people around the world. Circulating Now sustains the tradition and commitment of the NLM, and libraries everywhere, to provide knowledge and expertise freely and to inspire people and enrich lives. Circulating Now also conveys the vitality of medical history in our 21st-century world: its relevance and importance for research, teaching, and learning about the human condition. And Circulating Now evokes the living quality of the NLM’s historical collections and the stories they offer about the experience of health and disease here in the United States and around the world. Kicking off Circulating Now will be a series of posts that draws on the NLM’s historical collections and associated others to reenact in a unique way a tumultuous event in medical and American history which occurred 132 years ago this summer: the assassination of, and attempts to save, our nation’s 20th President, James A. Garfield. Way cool!
I was sad to learn that Douglas Engelbart, whose invention of the mouse transformed the way people interact with computers, has just died. Engelbart died Tuesday night at his home in Atherton, California. He was 88. “Doug’s legacy is immense — anyone in the world who uses a mouse or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to him,” Curtis R. Carlson, Stanford Research Institute’s president and CEO, said in a written statement. Decades ago, Engelbart came up with the idea we now know as a mouse. His first prototype, which featured a carved out wooden block, wheels and a tiny red button, looks quite different from the sleek plastic designs now seen in homes and offices around the world. A radar technician during World War II,Engelbart worked at the Stanford Research Institute during the 1960s. It was there that a vision of people sitting in front of a video screen, interacting with a computer, came to him. This “mother of all demos” was December 9, 1968! How far we have come!
Less than a week ago, it was announced that Ingram Content Group and Hachette Livre are offering titles from theBibliothèque nationale de France in print in the US and abroad. As we all know, the BnF (National Library of France) has one of the most unique and substantial collections of content in the world. This year, Hachette Livre and Ingram will make more than 65,000 long forgotten, out of copyright titles available for purchase worldwide. Categories in the collection include art, literature, history, philosophy, religion, medicine, genealogy, spiritualism, and content on Paris, published between the 15th century and the beginning of the 20th century. “Combining a cutting-edge technology like print-on-demand and the best of perennial collections is an exciting venture we are proud to participate in,” said Philippe Lamotte, Head of Publisher Relations and Development of Hachette Livre’s industrial and sales branch. Titles in the collection are available to order from Ingram and the retail and online outlets that Ingram serves. Long time ago, my husband and I were doing research in the BN as we used to call it! I remember that they were seriously strict about using their books! My husband and I were sitting across from each other at a long table and we tried to exchange books that we were looking it. We were reprimanded and told that was “absolument defendu!” They also didn’t like it when we knelt down to look at some of the books on the lower reference shelves! So, I was excited to hear about this! And I had some questions to ask. Here are some answers from David Taylor, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisition International, Ingram Content Group. A sort of mini-interview:
Is there a list of the items available and where is it?
Hachette Livre has worked with the French National Library to develop a website, http://www.hachettebnf.fr/, which has a lot of information about the titles available. Currently we have over 41,000 of these titles available in a print-on-demand (POD) format with over 1,000 being added weekly.
Can items be bought from other vendors or only Ingram?
Currently about 16,000 out of the 41,000 total are available for ordering in the US; we plan to make all of them available in the next couple of months. Customers in France have access to the full 41,000.
The 16,000 titles that are currently available in the US (and eventually all of the rest) are in Ingram’s OASIS database, where academic library customers in the US and around the world can easily find them and place orders as they would for any other book. No new workflow is needed at a library; Ingram Coutts will bill and ship these orders normally.
In addition to ordering from Ingram, titles may be ordered from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in the US, and in the French market, they may be ordered directly from Hachette’s distribution arm.
What is the average price of the items? The average retail price in the US is $25.
Are there plans to expand availability of number of items?
Yes. We plan to make all these titles available in our US, UK and Australian POD operations so that they can be ordered by local retail customers. In addition, our colleagues in France estimate that the total National French Library titles available in a POD format will reach 65,000 by the end of November.
What is the delivery time of items? And are you only offering items out of copyright?
If a title is ordered via Ingram, the book will ship within 24 hours. These items are currently out of copyright, although Hachette Livre is in effect the publisher of the POD versions of these titles and has entered into an agreement with the French National Library.
Whew! Now I can maybe own some of the books that I wanted to see way back then!
Leah was appointed Executive Director of the Charleston Conference in 2017, and has served in various roles with the Charleston Information Group, LLC, since 2004. Prior to working for the conference, she was Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions for the College of Charleston for four years. She lives in a small town near Columbia, SC, with her husband and two kids where they raise a menagerie of farm animals.