Creating an online resource for medical archives at the Wellcome Library


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This presentation covers digitisation and sensitivity assessment of archives for online access.

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Creating an online resource for medical archives at the Wellcome Library

  1. 1. Creating an Online Resource for Medical Archives at the Wellcome Library Christy Henshaw Programme Manager - Wellcome Digital Library Libraries@cambridge Conference 2012
  2. 2. The Wellcome Trust • A global charitable foundation • Achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health • Supporting the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities • Exploring medicine in historical and cultural contexts
  3. 3. The Wellcome Library The Wellcome Library • Major resource for the study of medical history • Collections of books, manuscripts, archives, films and pictures on the history of medicine from the earliest times to the present day. • Provide insight and information to anyone seeking to understand medicine and its role in society, past and present. • Provide access to a growing collection of contemporary biomedical information resources relating to consumer health, popular science, biomedical ethics and the public understanding of science.
  4. 4. The Wellcome Library
  5. 5. The Library Transformation Strategy 2009 - 2014 To provide global access to, and expert interpretation of, a world class collection that explores medicine in its cultural contexts • Targeted collecting – putting challenges in context • Expert interpretation – engaging (new) audiences • Strategic digitisation – online access to our collections
  6. 6. The Wellcome Digital Library Pilot Genetics and its Modern Foundations 2010-2013 A new online resource for everyone interested in the history of human and animal health. Aims • build sustainable/expandable mechanism – foundation stone for WDL • digitise key library holdings - relating to a major Trust challenge area • digitise important third party content – linked to theme • use innovative content and tools – to encourage discovery and use • explore commercial partnerships – enhance access to nontheme material
  7. 7. Archival material – 1.1m images Wellcome Library - 600,000 images External – 500,000 images
  8. 8. Books related to genetic research - 600,000 images
  9. 9. ProQuest, Early European Books – 5.5m images
  10. 10. Medical Officer of Health reports – 400,000 images
  11. 11. Born digital material – initially small but growing
  12. 12. Digitising archives – key tasks 2 years – 10 collections – 600k pages Physical preparation • Flattening • Check sequence of items • Protect fragile items with sleeves • Remove staples • 0.6 FTE Digitisation • Complete “cover to cover” digitisation • Canon digital cameras (medium format) • 2 FTE
  13. 13. Digitising archives – managing users Managing information • Make clear which items are not available in the catalogue(s) • Maintain up-to-date list online • Keep up-to-date schedule on staff wiki Reducing impact • Good understanding of timing built over time • Remove items for shortest possible time • Include a good buffer in advertised “unavailability” time • Set targets/batches based on complete series (if possible)
  14. 14. External partners 1.5 years – 9 collections – 500k pages • Churchill Archives Centre • Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory • KCL • University of Glasgow • UCL Wellcome Trust provides the funding, digitisation managed by and carried out at the host institutions.
  15. 15. Sensitivity and archives – access policy
  16. 16. Sensitivity and archives – overview Archives commonly contain the following types of content that may be sensitive: • Personal information • Private information • Medical information • Personal opinions • Formal assessments of others • Clinical images or other visual content
  17. 17. Assessing sensitivity - overview 10,000 files with ca. 1.1m pages of content – impossible to read everything Analyse series level metadata for sensitivities Determine level of checking required for risky series (usually a percentage, or number of files) Check items Determine whether further checking is required Carry out further checking Record items to be suppressed (may be entire file)
  18. 18. Sensitivity and archives – online access Access category Sensitivity Online availability Open (>100 years old) Non-sensitive Open access Open (<100 years old) Non-sensitive Registration only access Closed Highly sensitive No access Restricted Some sensitivity Access with special permission in the Library only
  19. 19. Sensitive items Examples of content we would restrict from online access: • Reference letters about a 3rd party less than 60 years old • Job and grant applications submitted by a 3rd party less than 30 years old • Letters or notes discussing someone’s • Mental health • Debilitating diseas • Sexual orientation • Race/ethnicity Information may not be sensitive if it is in the public domain.
  20. 20. Registration Registration requires a user to provide an email address and agree to a set of Terms of Conditions of Use (still in draft) that will include something along these lines: I will not make any use of personal data on living persons that contravenes s.33 of the Data Protection Act 1998. In particular, I will not use the information obtained from archival material: (a) to support measures or decisions with respect to particular individuals; (b) in such a way that substantial damage or distress is, or is likely to be, caused to any data subject.
  21. 21. Reuse Distribution and reuse is encouraged within the parameters of the Terms and Conditions: • Complies with Copyright Law and Data Protection Act • Acknowledges copyright holder(s) • Non-commercial Viewing, zooming, downloading, sharing, printing: all permissible. Accessing high resolution images (i.e. TIFFs) will incur an administration fee. Use for commercial purposes may incur a fee.
  22. 22. Thank you! Christy Henshaw Useful links Access policy: Archives digitisation: WDL information: