Our journey to digital curation of the Jeghers Medical Index
Keywords:Libraries, Digital, Archives, Search Engine, Hospital Library, Databases, Library Science, Historical Medical Archive
Background: Harold Jeghers, a well-known medical educator of the twentieth century, maintained a print collection of about one million medical articles from the late 1800s to the 1990s. This case study discusses how a print collection of these articles was transformed to a digital database.
Case Presentation: Staff in the Jeghers Medical Index, St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, converted paper articles to Adobe portable document format (PDF)/A-1a files. Optical character recognition was used to obtain searchable text. The data were then incorporated into a specialized database. Lastly, articles were matched to PubMed bibliographic metadata through automation and human review. An online database of the collection was ultimately created. The collection was made part of a discovery search service, and semantic technologies have been explored as a method of creating access points.Conclusions: This case study shows how a small medical library made medical writings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries available in electronic format for historic or semantic research, highlighting the efficiencies of contemporary information technology.