The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Library provides and supports student and faculty access and user privileges to high quality library collections and services as well as to other learning/information resources consistent with the degrees offered. These collections, resources, and services support all its educational, research, and public service programs.
Collections and Services
The UTMB Library provides knowledge-based information resources and services for the university community (1). The mission of the library is to advance the education, research, patient care, and public service programs of the university by obtaining and disseminating biomedical information and the tools for its management and use. The context for achieving this mission is the vision of an environment in which individuals, using personal computers in classrooms, offices, laboratories, clinics, hospitals, libraries, and homes can access and obtain biomedical information when and where they need it, and in the format most appropriate to their need, regardless of where that information originates. Library collections support The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston mission to provide scholarly teaching, innovative scientific investigation, and state-of-the-art patient care in a learning environment to better the health of society.
Housed in its own five-story, 50,520 square foot building centrally located on campus, the library is open 97 hours per week. A combination of study tables, study carrels, and lounge furniture provides seating space for more than 579 clients. Faculty and students have access to 44 computer workstations for word processing, spreadsheet, and database management applications, as well as a personal computer classroom equipped with 12 workstations for instruction and for training in information literacy. An additional 24 workstations are available for accessing local and remote electronic information resources, including electronic mail for students. The library also provides access to the institution’s wireless computing network and an online testing facility housing 60 workstations is available to faculty and students from all four schools.
A staff of 53 employees provides a wide range of library information services and educational programs, including use of the library, local electronic information systems, and external information resources such as those found on the Internet. Educational programs, especially those relating to the use of the library and its resources, can be scheduled in the library or elsewhere for students either onsite or via interactive videoconferencing for those participating in distance education programs. Librarians provide tailored and sophisticated information services to all members of the university community through telephone, telefacsimile, and other electronic access to ensure the timely delivery of needed information. This includes an electronic reference service; "Ask a Librarian (2)."
The UTMB library catalog, in combination with those of the five health science libraries of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, is available online for searching 23 hours per day via the Internet (3). MEDLINE, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and a full complement of other scholarly electronic resources also are available for remote end-user searching. These resources include databases and electronic full-text of journals produced by major health sciences publishers (4). Access to electronic resources from a non-UTMB connection is facilitated by a proxy server using UTMB-Users-M accounts. Instructions for remote access are provided on the Library’s web site (5).
During the 2005-2006 academic year, the library spent $1,895,944 acquiring access to scholarly materials. The library provides access to extensive collections including subscriptions to 24,117 journals, 172 databases, 1,287 A-V materials, 550 linear feet of manuscript and archival material and acquires approximately 2,000 monographs each year. Of the total number of journal subscriptions, approximately 23,538 journals are available in online format (6). Additional resources include 44,040 electronic books (7). During the 2005-2006 academic year, the UTMB Library housed 261,585 print volumes.
Primary information resources, in the form of books and journals, and secondary information resources, in the form of indexes and abstracts, are available for client consultation. The library's print and electronic collections are developed to meet institutional needs as outlined in the Library's Collection Development Policy (8). Collections are authoritative and kept up-to-date by review on a regular basis to eliminate outdated materials. In general, the UTMB Library collects at a research level in the clinical sciences and in the basic sciences relating to biomedicine. Materials at the research level form the central, working part of the collection. Research-level subjects include the preclinical subjects and the clinical practice of medicine as well as its specialties. This level supports doctoral and other original research and includes most major reference works, conference proceedings, government documents, technical reports, professional society publications, and serials.
Sharing Agreements. The library has multiple resource sharing agreements with other libraries and commercial vendors to supply information that is not available within the library's own collections. The library serves as a resource library in the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) (9), and is a member of the Texas Health Science Libraries Consortium (THSLC) (10), the Houston Area Research Libraries Consortium (HARLiC) (11), and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) (12). The library also maintains accounts with, and obtains documents from, major national and international document suppliers (13). To facilitate interlibrary lending operations, the library employs the web-based ILLiad (14), an acronym for InterLibrary Loan internet accessible database, a document request and delivery system. The library also participates in DOCLINE, the National Library of Medicine's automated document request and referral system, and uses the OCLC automated interlibrary lending request system. Using these systems, the library has access to the collections of several thousand libraries. Requests for documents not available within the library are transmitted electronically to other libraries using the Internet. Most items are delivered to requesters electronically via the ILLiad system. The library offers same-day turnaround time in cases of clinical emergency.
UTMB students also have access to the UT System Digital Library (UTSDL) (15). The UTSDL complements the strengths of the System’s traditional collections, expands existing services and programs, and creates additional options for access to scholarly information for the UT System community, including distance learners. The UTSDL works collaboratively with all UT System component libraries, the UT System Office of Telecommunications Services, the UT TeleCampus, the UTSDL Council of Directors, and related organizations to carry out these activities.
The library maintains reciprocal borrowing agreements with a number of other libraries throughout Texas. Faculty and students may travel to these libraries and borrow circulating materials directly. Reciprocating libraries include all those in the University of Texas System, the major research libraries in the Houston area and the health-related libraries on the Texas Medical Center campus in Houston. Additionally, the UTMB Library participates in the TexShare card program (16). The TexShare card program is a reciprocal borrowing program. It is designed to allow the registered users of participating institutions to directly borrow materials from the libraries of other participating institutions. Those libraries that choose to participate sign a form stating they agree to honor the Card Program Agreement, which specifies the roles and responsibilities of the home and lending libraries, and library patrons. Registered users must obtain a TexShare Card from their home institution before they are able to check out materials from other participating institutions.
Anyone possessing a university employee or student identification badge is eligible to request and obtain library information services. Most services, including the electronic reserve collection and interlibrary lending services are free of charge to requesters. Modest fees are charged for use of library printers and photocopy machines. Faculty and most students are eligible to obtain special library cards that enable them to access directly the major research libraries in Houston, including the libraries of the Texas Medical Center, as well as academic libraries throughout Texas.
Authority and responsibility for overall and specific selection decisions rest with the Head of Technical Services, whose job is to incorporate individual decisions into the long-range plans and policies for development of Library resources. Input from UTMB faculty, staff, and students is encouraged, as is input from other members of the Library staff. The UTMB Library welcomes suggestions for book and journal purchases (17). Library purchases are dependent on appropriateness for the collection(s) and funds available. This service is restricted to UTMB faculty, staff, and students.
Since 2002, the UTMB Library has participated annually in LibQUAL+, a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users’ opinions of service quality. These services are offered to the library community by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The program’s centerpiece is a rigorously tested Web-based survey bundled with training that helps libraries assess and improve library services, change organizational culture, and market the library. LibQUAL+ survey highlights are available in the Library’s administrative office and online (18).
Learning Resource Center (LRC). Operating as a branch of the Library, the Learning Resources Center (LRC) (19) enhances the instructional, research, and community service missions of the School of Allied Health Sciences and the School of Nursing through the use of independent learning resources. The LRC occupies 3,293.50 square feet in the School of Allied Health/School of Nursing building. The LRC maintains a select collection of audiovisual materials and a reserve circulating collection of materials identified by faculty for students. Audio tape and video tape duplication services are available on site, as are photocopiers and printers. The LRC provides 60 workstations in three computer laboratories available for classes, individual use, or in conjunction with the student testing center in the library to test as many as 120 students simultaneously. A group study room also is available with audiovisual viewing equipment.
Distance Learners. Both the Library and the LRC operate with the philosophy that all traditional services should be equally convenient and available to distance learners. Consequently, the Library and the LRC provide a strong information technology infrastructure for students, faculty and staff. Both facilities are connected to the campus broadband network and both are included in the campus wireless network coverage area. Information on how to access learning resources, including professional assistance, from a distance is given to students during orientation. The library’s staff works with faculty to develop tailored programs for students both in class and at a distance in order to meet specific information educational objectives such as literature searching and information selection and evaluation.
Distance learners have access to the same Library resources as on-site learners. Most access is available through the library’s portal web page. Electronic information resources are accessible remotely to anyone with a valid UTMB student identification card and institutional electronic mail address. Print resources are provided to distance learners via electronic mail or web-based retrieval of scanned pages, surface mail or through reciprocal borrowing/lending agreements with other libraries. Special borrowing/lending agreements are negotiated with specific libraries when learners are based at another campus. The Library also maintains an electronic interlibrary borrowing system, an electronic course reserves system, and an electronic reference question service.
The Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collection is the largest in the southern United States. It is best known for its gathering of rare books which date from the late 14th to the 20th century. These texts chronicle the development of medicine and the health sciences (20).
The oldest book in the collection, Rosa medicinae, dates to the late 14th century and is credited to John of Gaddesden, a British physician, said to have been the model for the doctor in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The most modern works can be found in the recently developed History of Space Medicine Collection.
Combining primary and secondary sources, the Blocker Collections rare book holdings consist of approximately 17,000 titles in the following distribution: incunabula: 35 titles; 16th century: 600 titles; 17th century: 1,000; 18th century: 2,100 titles; 19th century: 9,200; 20th century: 3,900. The secondary sources include modern monographs, reprints, translations, and late 19th and early 20th century textbooks, some from the earliest years of the university.
Subject strengths include anatomy and surgery, occupational health, anesthesiology, immunology, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences. In anatomy and surgery, many first editions and anatomical atlases, famous for their striking illustrations, may be found. The works of Galen, Harvey and Vesalius are well represented. A major part of this segment comes from the private libraries of Drs. William Crawford, Robert Moes and Truman Blocker.
A group of approximately 1,000 books and pamphlets, once the library of Dr. Alfred Whittaker (co-author of Occupational Health in America, 1962), forms the occupational health collection. It is strong in the areas of miners’ diseases, military and naval medicine, industrial hygiene and legislation to improve working conditions. The anesthesiology category contains over 900 books and pamphlets from the 18th century focusing on the chemistry of respiration and works from the 19th century pioneers in the field including John Snow, W.T.G. Morton and James Y. Simpson.
The immunology grouping of about 800 items includes the largest collection of the works of Louis Pasteur outside the Institut Pasteur in France and traces the development of the germ theory. It also includes publications of Pasteur’s collaborators as well as those of Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich. This collection also contains 400 titles relating to the history of smallpox, works by and about Edward Jenner, and anti-vaccination pamphlets. The private library of Dr. Haskell Norman, forms the core of the psychiatry and behavioral sciences collection and contains approximately 4,600 items. Works by Philippe Pinel, Jean-Martin Charcot and Sigmund Freud are well represented. The holdings in witchcraft, mesmerism and phrenology are also noteworthy.
Other subject areas of interest include Osleriana and forensic medicine. The Samuel X. Radbill collection contains 400 books and offprints by and about William Osler. The forensic medicine grouping consists of more than 500 titles in the history of toxicology, criminology and legal medicine.
In addition to the rare and important medical texts, the Blocker Collections also houses a number of significant journals. While the journal holdings contain representatives of over 300 American and European titles from the 18th and 19th centuries, the jewel of this grouping is the Texas Medical Journal collection. In this sub collection can be found some of the earliest medical writings published in Texas and consists of 21 titles, including the Galveston Medical Journal. Also of note are the 270 bound volumes of German dissertations in various medical and surgical subjects.
All of the books and journals have been kept in optimal conditions of temperature and humidity. Usage by patrons is closely supervised and only department staff is allowed to handle the materials outside of the area. With the growth in popularity of email, the Internet and bibliographic databases, staff now serve patrons all over the world.
Other Learning/Information Resources
Academic Technology Center (ATC)
The ATC, housed in the UTMB library, supports the design and development of curriculum and multimedia instructional materials for a web-based environment. There is a workstation available for faculty to prepare digital imagery for the web, download images from a digital camera, digitize and edit videos, and build and manage websites (21).
Academic Computing Department
UTMB employs an organizational alignment in which the administrative, educational, research and patient care functions operate under a common information technology infrastructure. Information Services provides institutional information technology infrastructure support, including access management and security, data network, desktop support, help desk support, mainframes and distributed systems, video technical services, and voice communications. Information Services also provides support for most institutional applications.
All classrooms, residence hall rooms, laboratories and offices on campus have connections to the campus network. Authorized users have access through these connections to institutional administrative systems, web systems, email, Internet 1 and 2, Texas supercomputing resources, the State of Texas-sponsored Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), and -- through LEARN – to medical and research resources nationwide, including the National Lambda Rail initiative, a high-speed national computer network shared by university research institutions. Wireless computing access points are located throughout campus, primarily in areas having high concentrations of students.
Major personal computer facilities are available to students in the Moody Medical Library, the Jamail Student Center and the Learning Resources Center in the School of Allied Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Other smaller facilities are available in teaching, research and clinical areas throughout the institution (22).
Through its Classroom and Technical Services unit (CTS), UTMB’s Academic Resources division contributes to the university’s teaching, research, and service missions by providing meeting space and teaching/presentation technology services consistent with the current and evolving needs of the students, faculty and staff. CTS staff assist members of the campus community in scheduling and reserving 44 institutional class and conference rooms and in providing audiovisual and presentation equipment and technical staff assistance. Scheduling services are available via the Academic Resources web site. A list of available rooms, attendance capacities and installed teaching equipment is posted on the Academic Resources web site (23).
Equipment not installed in a given room is available for delivery upon request. Videotaping and editing services also are available. Videoconferencing capabilities for distance education are in place in the four major lecture halls and one classroom in the School of Allied Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Highly skilled technical staff are available upon request to operate equipment or deliver and set up equipment to specific classroom locations. Dedicated help phones located near podiums are provided for faculty to quickly summon technical assistance. Performance of regular equipment maintenance in accord with a ten-year plan ensures customer satisfaction and provides a mechanism for this service to keep pace with advancing educational technologies. An advisory committee, with representatives from each school, develops room use guidelines and assists with resolving scheduling issues.
Classroom teaching equipment and control configurations are standardized to make it easier for faculty to move from one facility to the next. UTMB’s ten major teaching auditoria are equipped with a lectern or podium with a stationary microphone and a wireless lavaliere microphone, light and an AMX push-button control for teaching equipment. Each podium has an IBM-compatible personal computer running the Windows XP Professional operating system and linked to the campus network with 100Mb connections. Computers are equipped with Zip, DVD, CD-ROM, and floppy drives, and USB connectors are located conveniently on the podium surface along with an auxiliary network connection for laptop computers. Other installed equipment includes videotape recorder/player, document camera, digital data projector, projection screen, chalk or white boards. Most auditoria have wireless network access ports and many have audience response system capability.
All but seven of the smaller classrooms have the same computing equipment that is available in major auditoria. CTS staff are increasing the installed base of teaching equipment in smaller classrooms each year and provide an extensive array of equipment that can be delivered upon request. This includes data projectors, laptop computers, overhead projectors, slide projectors, public address systems, audience response systems, and laser pointers.
Office of Educational Development
The Office of Educational Development (OED) provides an entire range of educational support services for faculty in the School of Medicine (SOM), from evaluation design to analysis. OED also conducts research on medical education topics and provides consultation and mentoring to School of Medicine faculty conducting educational research projects. OED faculty and staff support critical analysis of courses, clerkships, the curriculum as a whole, and focused curriculum development projects. Educational offerings for individual SOM faculty members or departmental workshops (e.g., peer counseling; departmental workshops; etc.) help to enhance professional productivity (24).
Standardized Patient Program
Standardized Patients (SPs) are people who have been carefully selected and trained to portray patients with a specific condition in a consistent and realistic way. They offer students in medical education the opportunity to practice communication and examinations skills and they also provide feedback to the students. The Standardized Patient Program staff is responsible for recruiting and training individuals from the community and surrounding area interesting in becoming standardized patients. They provide students in medical education with standardized learning experiences, while minimizing risk and discomfort to real patients (25).
Nursing Simulation Center
The UTMB SON Nursing Simulation Center (NSC) is a state of the art facility that provides an interactive environment that simulates a variety of clinical settings. The inpatient care lab is equipped with eight completely equipped patient care areas. VitalSim® manikins afford the students multiple opportunities for hands on practice sessions that replicate actual patient care procedures. Sim Man® is a high fidelity programmable manikin that replicates human physiologic responses, including speech capabilities. The Primary Care lab houses fifteen patient examination stations that are utilized to facilitate student learning of physical assessment techniques. Interactive computer assisted instructional programs offer a mechanism for students to reinforce and enhance their education. A selection of videotapes and references textbooks is available for use by students. Simulations focused at the provision of safe and effective maternal child care are conducted in the Hillcrest Foundation Birthing Suite where sophisticated manikins allow students to practice both delivery and care of newborns (26).
The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation has developed an interactive system for the independent adjustment and definition of multiple degree-of-freedom linkage systems representative of human leg and arm motion. The system is built so that once the kinematic structure is defined, control points for interactive definition of muscle-tendon and ligament paths may be manually adjusted and refined. This provides a tool for interactive musculoskeletal modeling and simulation (27).