News from the Libraries

News from the Libraries

Finding aids: Tools for locating historical materials in the University Archives

Finding aids are indexes to archival and manuscript collections. A finding aid can be as simple as a list of folders. More complex finding aids place materials in context by consolidating information about the collection, for example a historical or biographical note or a description of how the collection has been arranged.

The staff of the University Archives have been creating finding aids for several years to describe the many collections of historic manuscripts and papers available at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The finding aids are very detailed, listing items at the box and folder level, and often individual items within folders. Viewing the finding aids allows researchers to locate primary source materials such as historical documents, personal papers, business records, case histories, photographs, etc., related to their research interest. The archive’s finding aids have been xml encoded using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format to allow searching and display via the Internet.

The finding aids may be viewed online and searched  through two different sources:

• The Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) website at is produced by the University of Texas Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. It is a repository for finding aids from archival, manuscript, and museum collections in repositories across Texas available to the public. It is updated weekly and currently lists all 23 finding aids developed for the University Archives. Researchers may browse finding aids from specific repositories or search across all repository finding aids by title, subject, name, place or format or media.

• The History of Medicine Finding Aids Consortium website developed by the National Library of Medicine at indexes over 3,600 finding aids from 35 institutions throughout the United States that collect broadly in the area of the history of medicine and its allied sciences as well as more general special collections and archives. It is keyword searchable and is updated periodically, usually quarterly, so it may not have the most recent finding aids listed.

A list of finding aids completed for the University Archives and available online can be found here: UT Health Science Center- University Archives- Finding Aids

These finding aids represent only a portion of the many materials available in the University Archives, and work continues to make the other collections more accessible to researchers.

For more information about the Archives or to make an appointment to view archival materials, contact Jaclyn Georges, Records Manager & Archivist, at 210-567-2428 or

About library classes


Scan this code with your smartphone camera QR reader app to find library classes online.

The Libraries offer classes, consultations and other training to assist with the effective use of databases and research tools.  All library classes are free and open to all.  Register today to reserve your spot!

Schedule a Special Class
To schedule a special class or orientation for your department or group at other days/times, please contact the library at (210) 567-2450 or email

Integrating Library Research Skills into Blackboard and/or Academic Course Content
Faculty are encouraged to integrate library research skills into course content.  Librarians are available to develop and teach classes that meet specific needs or are about a specific resource.  To learn more or to schedule a class, contact Katie Prentice at or call 210-567-6606.

To see the upcoming classes, visit the Attend a Library Class! page.

Turning the Pages Online: Beautiful images from rare medical books



The image featured on the cover of the July newsletter, a tomato or “love apple,” is from Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal, an 18th century book composed almost entirely of  illustrations of medicinal plants. Blackwell, who was trained in drawing, produced A Curious Herbal in an effort to obtain her husband’s release from a London debtor’s prison.  She engraved and colored the illustrations, drawn from plants growing in the Chelsea Physic Garden, and released them in weekly editions between 1737 and 1739. Each weekly release contained four plates and a page of text. The book became quite popular among the physicians and apothecaries of London, and she was able to raise enough money to secure her husband’s release.

The images shown here are from Turning the Pages Online, a project of the National Library of Medicine that makes digitized images of rare and remarkable texts in the history of the biomedical sciences accessible from desktop computers and digital devices.  Click on the images at right to access a larger view.

St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort

Viewers of the Turning the Pages Online website are able to ‘touch and turn’ the pages, zoom in for greater detail, and read or listen to explanations of the text, sometimes in the form of curators’ notes.

Other book that are available for viewing at the Turning the Pages website include:

Robert Hooke’s Micrographia

Conrad Gesner’s Historiae Animalium

Andreas Vesalius’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica

Johannes de Ketham’s Fasiculo de Medicina

Physical copies of several of these books, including Hooke, and Vesalius, are held in the collection of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian

News from The Libraries – June 2013

A History of the Present Illness

A History of the Present Illness by Louise Aronson is the One Community/One Book selection for Fall 2013.

Announcing the One Community/One Book selection for Fall 2013

Save the date:  Annual Dinner of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Libraries host Community Advisors in May

CLHIN fulfills JCAHO requirements for library services

Seeking cost efficiencies: Joint Library Facility opens at Texas A&M Riverside campus

Altmetrics: New measures for scholarly output

Librarians present at Medical Library Association conference

Briscoe Library hosts summer interns

New to the shelves of the Briscoe Library in June

About library classes

See all past issues of News from the Libraries

Announcing the One Community/One Book selection for Fall 2013

Louise Aronson

Louise Aronson

The Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics and The Libraries are pleased to announce that Louise Aronson, physician-writer, geriatrician and author of A History of the Present Illness, a collection of stories, has accepted an invitation to speak at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio on Thursday November 14, 2013, as part of a One Community/One Book project.

Dr. Aronson will be in town to give the keynote presentation and lead a workshop at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians.

Consider adding A History of the Present Illness to your summer reading list.

“This collection of short stories… take place in and around a San Francisco hospital. But the stories are less concerned with medical details than with the inner lives of the characters and the psychological toll that health issues take on caregivers, patients and their families.”

Kirkus Review

Copies of A History of the Present Illness are available in the Briscoe Library, at the Ramirez Library in Harlingen, and in the Laredo Campus Regional Library.  Click here to link to the full catalog record.

Copies will also be available in San Antonio at the UT Health Science Center Bookstore for $18, 25% off the retail price.

One Community/One Book is made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian


Save the date: Former Director of the U.S. Army Burn Center to speak at the Annual Dinner of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D.

Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D., Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, will be the speaker at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Friends of The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, Thursday, November 7, 2013.  He will speak on the topic, San Antonio’s National and International Center of Excellence for Burn Care and Research.

Dr. Pruitt, a graduate of Harvard College and the Tufts University School of Medicine, began his affiliation with the burn center when he was assigned to Fort Sam Houston as a draftee in 1959.  He completed his residency there in 1964, and was named Chief of the Burn Study Branch and Chief of the Clinical Division that same year.

In his early days at Fort Sam Houston, Dr. Pruitt traveled regularly to Viet Nam, where he provided medical care for wounded soldiers during air transport to an Army hospital in Yokahama, Japan.  After they were stabilized he would accompany the soldiers back to Texas for treatment.  In 1967, Dr. Pruitt volunteered for a tour of duty at the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Viet Nam, where he served as Chief of Professional Services.   When he returned to San Antonio he was named Commander and Director of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, a post he held for 27 years.

The Annual Dinner and Presentation of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of November 7 at the Old San Francisco Steakhouse, 10223 Sahara Street in San Antonio.  Everyone is welcome, and paid sponsorships are available for students in any of the UT Health Science Center’s academic programs.  Sponsorships include a one year membership in the Friends group.  For more information, or to inquire about student sponsorships,  contact Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian,, or call 210-567-2406.


Libraries host Community Advisors in May

Community Advisors MeetingThe Libraries hosted a semi-annual Community Advisors meeting in the Briscoe Library on May 10, 2013.  Chris Frei, Pharm.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin, and Grace Lee, Pharm.D., Translational Science Ph.D. student under the mentorship of Dr. Frei, provided a presentation on community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA).  Since 2011, Dr. Lee has worked closely with Dr. Frei in researching CA-MRSA infections using a Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN). CA-MRSA skin and soft tissue infections are showing up increasingly in children and young adults. Untreated infections can require painful and costly surgical intervention and can even be fatal.

Community Advisors Meeting is held twice-yearly for the purpose of gathering representatives of organizations with whom the UT Health Science Center Libraries partner on community health initiatives. One benefit of the meetings is that they can lay the groundwork for community education initiatives.  Campus libraries in San Antonio, Laredo and Harlingen meet by video teleconference with local advisors. The meetings allow participants to stay informed on community outreach activities throughout the South Texas region, and to identify new opportunities for collaboration.

Those attending in San Antonio (pictured) included: Melanie Stone, Educational Development Specialist in the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics; Dr. Chris Frei; Jonquil Feldman, Director of Briscoe Library and Outreach Services; Dr. Fernando Martinez, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Community Health Worker Program at Northwest Vista College; Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries; Patrick Lemelle, Briscoe Library Outreach Assistant; Peg Seger, Head of Outreach Services; Dr. Grace Lee; Claudia Herrera, CareLink Clinic Outreach and Education Coordinator; and Rafael Maldonado, CareLink Clinic Education Director.

Attending remotely at the Ramirez Library in Harlingen were: Rachel Gomez, LVN, Infection Control and Employee Health, Su Clinica; Genoveva Martinez, Program Coordinator, Migrant Health Promotion; Rachel Udow, Program Specialist, Migrant Health Promotion; Norma Cavazos, Regional Coordinator, Texas Health and Human Services Commission; Belinda Senteno, Program Specialist, Texas Health and Human Services Commission; Armando Lopez, Director, Lower Rio Grande AHEC; and Kathy Carter, Ramirez Librarian.

Attending remotely at the Laredo Regional Campus Library were: Doug Ferrier, Director of Killam Library at Texas A& M International University; Rodney Webb, Government Documents Librarian at Texas A& M International University; Erika Silva, Laredo Library Assistant; Rey Cruz, Mid Rio Grande Border Area Health Education Center; Analiza Perez-Gomez, Laredo Community College Yeary Library; and Jaime Arizpe, Health and Human Services.

Circuit Librarian Health Information Network fulfills JCAHO requirements for library services

Patrick Lemelle

Patrick Lemelle, CLHIN program manager

The Circuit Librarian Health Information Network (CLHIN) of the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries is a service that provides access to medical library services in the absence of a fully staffed and equipped in-house library. Articles are provided from UT Health Science Center Libraries’ collection of over 4,000 journal titles, and searches of MEDLINE and other health sciences databases are conducted by professional librarians.

Currently, CLHIN provides services to seven member organizations in South Texas, including Doctors Hospital in Laredo, Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, McAllen Family Medical Residency Program, Mission Regional Medical Center, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, and Uvalde Memorial Hospital.  In addition to library services, CLHIN also provides continuing education programming for nurses, and workshops on evidence based practice for  physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and administrative staff at participating hospitals.  CLHIN site visits are conducted periodically to register new users from each organization and to update users on training and resources available to them.

Membership in CLHIN fulfills the JCAHO requirements for library service by providing staff with MEDLINE and other database searches, copies of articles through interlibrary loan, books and audiovisual materials from the collection at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Briscoe Library, the Ramirez Medical Library at the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen, and through interlibrary loan from other libraries.

Peg Seger, Head of Outreach Services

Seeking cost efficiencies: Joint Library Facility opens at Texas A&M Riverside campus

Joint Library Facility

An 18,000 square-foot facility opened Friday, May 24th on the Texas A&M Riverside campus in Bryan, Texas that will house approximately one million volumes.  The University of Texas and Texas A&M University Systems developed the Joint Library Facility (JLF) to provide storage of print books and journals. Academic and health institutions from the two systems will be able to store materials, and all libraries will be able to use materials from the facility. The building site has enough land for two additional library storage facilities to be built once the current facility reaches capacity.

Joint Library Facility

The Joint Library Facility will receive and store print materials from libraries of the Texas A&M and University of Texas systems.

The facility will reduce costs associated with storing print books and journals from $4.26 per volume each year to 86 cents per volume each year. The facility will help with cost efficiency and allow universities to free up space for higher circulating materials or to create new study spaces. The facility will also allow UT System and Texas A&M University System libraries to eliminate duplications among libraries by storing one copy of infrequently used books and journals. In addition, one copy of print journal volumes for which the system libraries have digital access will be stored. This will accommodate those instances when a print copy is needed or if digital access is lost.

John Weed, Head of Collection Resources, served on the Policies and Procedures task force for the JLF along with several librarians across the state. This task force created guidelines and criteria for selection of materials, recommendations for processing of materials, interlibrary loan policies, and guidelines for delivery of shipments to the facility.

Altmetrics: New measurements for scholarly output homepage

Traditional scholarly output has been measured over time by counting research publications.  Publications are also tracked by counting citations to them.  Finally, citation relationships are measured through journal impact factor.  While this explanation is simplified, scholarly output measurements are often used in tenure, grant, and employment applications and to indicate how a specific researcher has contributed to scholarship over time.  Traditional metrics are lagging indicators and non-traditional publications are often not represented.

With the explosion of social networks, online communities, and web-native publishing, new methods to measure scholarship are being developed.  The Altmetrics movement is envisioned to monitor and capture how an individual article is disseminated through the worldwide scholarly community.  By capturing links and bookmarks, from tools such as Mendeley or Twitter, and including more than just articles (data-sets, code, designs, etc.), the measurements can be more inclusive.  Altmetrics aims to measure more than just the articles; the measurement would include the conversation around an article, the views, the comments, tweets, and links.

This new movement further demonstrates that an evolvement of the paper-native era into a web-native era is occurring and that current measurement standards need to be examined.

Try it out:

For more information:

Katie Prentice, Head of Education and Information Services
Chris Gaspard, Head of Access Services and Interlibrary Loan