The NLM's History of Medicine Division has launched a new blog, Circulating Now, to encourage greater exploration and discovery of one of the world's largest and most treasured history of medicine collections. Encompassing millions of items that span ten centuries, these collections include items in just about every form one can imagine—from books, journals, and photographs, to lantern slides, motion picture films, film strips, video tapes, audio recordings, pamphlets, ephemera, portraits, woodcuts, engravings, etchings, and lithographs. The NLM's historical collections also include items from the present day: born-digital materials and rich data sets—like the millions of records in its IndexCat database—that are ripe for exploration through traditional research methods and new ones that are emerging in the current climate of "big data" and the digital humanities.
Why Circulating Now? For over 175 years the NLM's historical collections have circulated to generations within the reading rooms of its various locations in and around Washington, DC. Now, these collections—as part of the trillions of bytes of data produced and delivered by the world's largest biomedical library—circulate daily to millions of people around the world. Circulating Now sustains the tradition and commitment of the NLM, and libraries everywhere, to provide knowledge and expertise freely and to inspire people and enrich lives. Circulating Now also conveys the vitality of medical history in our 21st-century world: its relevance and importance for research, teaching, and learning about the human condition. And Circulating Now evokes the living quality of the NLM's historical collections and the stories they offer about the experience of health and disease here in the United States and around the world.
Circulating Now will bring the NLM's diverse historical collections to life in new and exciting ways for researchers, educators, students, and anyone else who is interested in the history of medicine. Whether you are familiar with NLM's historical collections, or you are discovering them for the first time, Circulating Now will be an exciting and engaging resource to bookmark, share, and discuss with other readers.
Kicking off Circulating Now will be a series of posts that draws on the NLM's historical collections and associated others to reenact in a unique way a tumultuous event in medical and American history which occurred 132 years ago this summer: the assassination of, and attempts to save, our nation's 20th President, James A. Garfield.