Library of Congress Peter West-Oram
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  • My Final Bookshelf


  • 1. Researching Human Rights and Health Care at the Library of Congress AHRC IPS Presentation:Peter West-Oram November 2012
  • 2. My Research: Global Justice, HealthCare and Human Rights Focuses on the human need for basic health care Examines relationship between lack of access to health care and reduced quality of life Attempting to establish an argument for this right, and the requirements of it Some empirical examples, but a philosophical claim
  • 3. My Research: Important points forthe Library of Congress Philosophy PhD Applied Ethics and Moral Philosophy Importantly, not historical or archival research Also, not political science(though I will talk about this in a moment) Not quite ‘armchair philosophy’, but almost
  • 4. Why the Library of Congress? Enormous array of resources Opportunity for uninterrupted research timeOpportunity to visit other research institutes in the city (Think tanks and Universities) Proximity to other archives in Washington D.C. Washington D.C. Seemed like an interesting place to liveOpportunities for networking
  • 5. My Original Goal Original focus was on international health care policy developmentParticular focus at time of application on how policy is made. Intended to focus on very specific sections of the Library collection (the Public Aspects of Medicine Collection) Aimed to visit other research institutes in Washington and the Eastern USA
  • 6. Some facts about the Library and theKluge Center LOC has over one million items All of them are available to Kluge Fellows MOST of them will be delivered to you at your cubicle in the Kluge Center Those you cannot get delivered you can visit or collect yourself
  • 7. What I Actually Did Intention to visit other research institutes in the USA disappeared – too many books, not enough time I did attend several events at the Brookings Institute Did try to meet with academics at Georgetown and the Kennedy Institute for Ethics – unfortunately it never happened Doubled the amount of sources I had in the first three months of my fellowship Did research in a much wider range than originally anticipated (mostly medicine and health care though) Focused more generally on health impacts, though through health policy
  • 8. Research Outcomes Research for three conference papers Worked on two papers whilst at the LOC Research for another two derived from the research I did (a third submitted at the moment) More than doubled the amount of research documents read Research used for two (and probably more) chapters of my thesis Paper given on my research whilst at the LOC (everyone does this)
  • 9. About the Kluge Center The Kluge Center is an interdisciplinary research cluster (almost all social sciences and the Humanities) Scholars from all over the world Post-docs, senior research fellows, staff fellows, government researchers and AHRC fellowsRegular presentations from all scholars Unbelievably helpful and friendly staff You do not have enough time
  • 10. Things to think about Talk to your Librarian Area specialist Try to arrive near the beginning of the academic year Have a specific plan (which will probably change) Take advantage of the expertise of staff Contact people in nearby Universities/relevant institutions before you go The congressional research team is apparently very good at helping you find policy related stuff Time away from University? Don’t worry There is not enough time at the Library
  • 11. Things to think about 2 Some parts of Washington are nicer than others Try and live near a metro station (the metro is often rubbish at weekends) Arrange accommodation before you go Talk to current resident scholars to get recommendations for where to liveLiving in Virginia or Maryland is do-able if you are near the metro (though you will have a longer commute)