Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Printed or Digital Form: How Much of a Distinction is that Today?

This online bibliography evolved from a treatment of printed documents exclusively, but how much of distinction is there always between printed and digital documents today? Considering that many historical monographs are now offered for sale by their publishers both in print and digital form, it would appear that the distinction between print and digital in scholarship is blurring. That being the case I will, for the time being at least, continue to cite the printed form of publications unless they exist only in digital form.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Many Historical Monographs in the History of Medicine and Biology Reflect Interdisciplinary Research

One conclusion that I am drawing as I attempt to document in this bibliography some of the more significant monographs published on the history of medicine and biology during the past few decades is that much of the research is interdisciplinary. For that reason historians who research topics in these fields often come from backgrounds such as social history or political history rather than specifically medicine or biology, or the history of medicine, or the history of biology. The topics these historians write about typically combine social, political and other elements along with the history of medicine and biology. Projects of this type may require research in general research libraries as well as strictly history of medicine and history of biology libraries. With this in mind, I have included links to some of the major digital libraries in general, rather than limiting coverage of digital libraries to more specialized history of medicine and history of biology libraries.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Standardizing Place Names Means That They Often Do Not Correspond Exactly to the Imprint of Publications

Inexplicably, in February 2018 I first reviewed the Place of Publication database and standardized place names. Up to this time the place names were a combination of foreign language or Latin names and their English language equivalent, such as Milan and Milano. To make searching by place name consistent I standardized the names to their English language version, when appropriate, and because some of the city names may be repeated in various U.S. states or countries (Birmingham, AL or Birmingham, England), I added U.S. state abbreviations to all U.S. places, except the most obvious, such as New York, and country names to cities in any countries where I thought it would be helpful to users searching the database by this method. Because these versions of place names are included in the bibliographical entries as they appear in this online database they often do not correspond precisely to the place names on the imprints of publications.

Dealing with Digital Resources in an Expanding Online Version of a Bibliography of Printed Sources

One of the primary challenges facing the conversion of a printed book about other printed documents into an online database was how to deal with other digital libraries, databases, etc. When I began this online database in 2014-2015 I attempted, when possible, and within my time limitations, to link to digital editions, especially of new entries, when they existed. Only by the end of 2016, however, did I see fit to include other online research sources. Initially I called these "Electronic Resources," and placed them in the subject index under Bibliography. As is my process, learning more about references as I collect them, or by rethinking their organization as a subject category grows, I expand the subject index by dividing subjects into sub-categories. "Electronic Resources", as it evolved, contained entries for Digital Libraries, Online Bibliographic Databases, and works about their history and development. Eventually, in February 2018 I created a set of Digital categories in the subject index and reorganized those growing categories of material, hopefully making access to them more meaningful. Here is the link to Digital Libraries.