UMMS Affiliation

Lamar Soutter Library

Publication Date


Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Libraries, Digital; Libraries, Medical; University of Massachusetts Medical School; Lamar Soutter Library


Library and Information Science


Objective: Describe the library's leadership on a team with representatives from academic computing and the faculty to develop a database of medical images. The library will (1) add value to the project by offering expertise in methods of organization, indexing, cataloging and project management; (2) develop policies and procedures for participation; and (3) maintain visibility by promoting both the library and its staff.

Method:Case study: The library has marketed the idea of an image database for the past four years. In early 2003, the project was funded and a campuswide task force was formed. The library took the lead in project management by holding weekly and monthly meetings, establishing milestones, setting deadlines, and drafting usage policies. The library played an important role by interviewing potential contributors and developing a database and record structure that meets the needs of users. The library also participates in the cataloging of images by designing workflow procedures that allow library staff to check all images for quality control and to assign MeSH terms. Task force members developed a training session on how to search the database and how to contribute images.

Results: A campuswide database of over 150 digital assets (and growing) has been created. The weekly and monthly meetings helped to keep project assignments clear and document changes to roles and responsibilities. Setting deadlines and establishing milestones helped to keep the project on schedule and progressing forward. The database structure and record format first developed by the team is meeting the needs of participants, but the library anticipates making adjustments as the database becomes more popular. Having MeSH terms assigned to each digital asset has improved searching for database users. To date, seven faculty members have been trained and are contributing to the database.

Conclusions: The library has a valuable role to play in campuswide digital initiatives. Collaborating with information services has allowed both departments to gain a greater appreciation of the skills and resources that each department has to offer and provided the library with greater visibility and new opportunities for outreach and education.

Presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, May 23, 2004.


digitization, image database, academic health sciences libraries, collaboration, project management

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Medical Library Association Annual Meeting

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