Archived Health Sciences Library Announcements

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In this issue:

  • New rare manuscript acquisition
  • 2014 journal collection changes
  • Tips for wireless troubleshooting
  • Apps that will help you stay focused

... and more

The Health Sciences Library's winter holiday schedule will start December 20th and normal hours will resume January 2nd.

Open 8am - 6pm, December 20th
Closed December 21st - 22nd
Open 8am - 6pm, December 23rd
Closed December 24th -  25th
Open 8am - 6pm, December 26th - 27th
Closed December 28th - 29th
Open 8am - 6pm, December 30th
Closed December 31st - January 1st

View in calendar format

December 23rd - Jan 2nd patrons interested in visiting the Archives & Special Collections should call in advance. (212) 305-7931

The Health Sciences Library has recently acquired a manuscript by Samuel Bard (1742-1821), a founder of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a prominent early American physician.The 17-page handwritten document is the original text of his Discourse on the Importance of Medical Education, an address delivered by Bard at the College of Physicians and Surgeons on November 4, 1811, and published the next year.

Bard’s speech to the P&S students just over 200 years ago urged them to study with “persevering industry and well directed labour” and pointed out that while a medical student must “receive the instructions of his teachers” he also “must see, and handle, and examine for himself.”

Although Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library owns several Bard letters, this is the first manuscript by Samuel Bard to enter the holdings of the Health Sciences Library’s Archives & Special Collections. The manuscript, which is in excellent condition, was recently purchased from an antiquarian book dealer.

Samuel Bard studied first at King’s (now Columbia) College before receiving his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1765.  He was one of six physicians of New York City who in 1767 persuaded King’s College to establish a medical school, now the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the second oldest in the United States. Bard served as its dean and professor of medicine until its closure in 1776 due to the War for Independence and, after the newly renamed Columbia College revived the school in 1791, he served first as dean and later as president of the college until his death.  Bard Hall, the college’s main residence hall, is named for him.

Besides his involvement with the medical school, Bard was one of the founders in 1771 of New York Hospital, now part of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the primary teaching hospital of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

When New York City served as capital of the U.S., Bard served as physician to President George Washington and successfully performed a dangerous operation to remove a carbuncle that threatened the Washington’s life.  Bard later retired to his country estate on the Hudson, “Hyde Park,” which would later give its name to the town made famous as the home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Contact the Archives & Special Collections for more information.

(Click for larger image)

Samuel Bard    Bard manuscript  

Samuel Bard (1742-1821)

As a matter of practice and service to the CUMC community, the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library systematically and deliberately evaluates its scholarly journal collection, using an ever expanding set of data points. In the past few years, we developed a sound methodology to safeguard and monitor access to peer-reviewed scholarly journals at CUMC during fiscal constrictions and unpredictable exorbitant subscription price increases.

Indicators and Data Points

For each journal we collect the following metrics, evaluated on an annual basis:

  • The number of article downloads by CU researchers
  • The number of articles CU researchers published in each journal, broken down by type (i.e. article, letter to the editor, meeting abstract, etc.)
  • The number of times CU researchers cite articles from each journal
  • The journal impact factor and category ranking from the Journal Citation Reports

To ensure that the library does not miss critical titles and continues to meet emergent needs, the following data is monitored and evaluated on an annual basis:

  • The number of interlibrary loan requests
  • New subscription requests

2014 Journal Cancelations

The 2013 journal evaluation started with those titles that had fewer than 600 downloads in 2012 (the most recent full year of data available). To put this in context, the most heavily used titles (eg NEJM, JAMA, Lancet) are downloaded tens of thousands of times per year and medium level titles are downloaded thousands of times.

Due to lower use

This review led the library to discontinue one entire package by the publisher Karger and purchase only the 7 titles, in which CU researchers demonstrated sufficient interest. The canceled Karger titles had low download rates, minimal publishing and minimal citing by CU researchers. 

Another group of journals identified for cancelation are Masson and Doyma, the French and Spanish language Elsevier packages. These titles had low download rates, low citation and low CU researcher publishing rates.

Due to changes in pricing structures

Two additional titles were included in this year's cancelations; Thyroid and the British Journal of Radiology. The price increases for each were 55% and 45% respectively.

CUMC researchers demonstrate a modest interest in Thyroid with download rates just above 600, 2 published articles in the last 4 years, and handful of citations. However, the title is splitting into three bundled titles, a method of increasing revenue that is gaining popularity from publishers. Had we committed to continuing the Thyroid subscription, this split would have resulted in a price increase from $ 1,761 to $2,730.

The British Journal of Radiology is not splitting, but is changing the pricing tier for Columbia University. The download levels have consistently been above 1,500, but there has been minimal publishing or citing of the journal by CUMC researchers in the last 4 years. Combined with an impact factor of 1.314 and radiology category ranking of 78 out of 116, this publishing and use behavior does not warrant committing to the 45% price increase.

All the 2014 canceled titles described above can also be viewed by subject.

Add Your Voice to our Data Stream

Patron feedback and journal requests are an integral part of our journal analysis. Please contact our Knowledge Management Strategist, Susan Klimley at, if you have any concerns about the 2014 journal cancelations or to recommend subscription to a new title.

Communication about new additions to the journal collection is forthcoming in Spring of 2014 and will be posted on the library website.  If you would like to be notified when it is ready, please, send Susan Klimley ( your contact information.

In this issue:

  • History of the Health Sciences Lecture
  • New room reservation system
  • EndNote Clinics coming in December
  • Mac OS 10.9 "Mavericks" being tested 

... and more