Category: Center for the History of Medicine

L. Vernon Briggs Papers Now Open

Picture of a model hospital ward from the L. Vernon Briggs Papers.

Photograph of a model hospital ward from the L. Vernon Briggs Papers.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the L. Vernon Briggs papers, 1774-1940 (inclusive), 1911-1938 (bulk) to research.

L. (Lloyd) Vernon Briggs (1863-1941), M.D., 1889, Medical College of Virginia at Richmond was a psychiatrist and medical reformer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was active in seeking changes to the laws regarding the evaluation and incarceration of the mentally ill and in suggesting reforms to the asylum, prison, hospital systems in the Commonwealth. He married Mary Tilotson Cabot in 1905; the couple had one child, Lloyd Cabot Briggs (1909-1975).

The collection reflects the work of L. Vernon Briggs  in psychiatry and medical reform, particularly in the fields of asylum conditions and the care of the mentally ill. Briggs was an active member of the medical community in Boston from the late 1880s to the late 1930s. Topics in the collection include the oversight of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts state hospital system, the administration and reform of the State Board of Insanity, Briggs’ ocean trip to Hawaii, and the care and treatment of the mentally ill including such issues as asylum inmate restraint and drug prescription.

The papers include correspondence, photographs, magazine and newspaper clippings, publications, manuscripts, blueprints, and legislation. Also included is a small number of artifacts, including quills used by the Governor’s Office for the formal signing of legislation, and botanical specimens gathered by Briggs on the West Coast.

The finding aid for the L. Vernon Briggs papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact Public Services.

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Processing Staff Finds: Paul Charles Zamecnik and transfer RNA

By , June 6, 2017

In 1956, Dr. Paul Charles Zamecnik (1912-2009) and colleagues Dr. Mahlon Hoagland (1921-2009) and Dr. Mary Louise Stephenson (1921-2009) discovered a critical element  of the protein synthesis pathway, the molecule that carries amino acids to the ribosome, where they are linked to create a chain that folds to form a protein. That molecular was initially called sRNA, standing for “soluble RNA,” and later became known as tRNA, or “transfer RNA.”

 

Data from Zamecnik's research into ribosomal structures, which led to the discovery of transfer RNA (front of page)

Data from Zamecnik’s research into ribosomal structures, which led to the discovery of transfer RNA (front of page)

 

During the processing of the Paul Charles Zamecnik papers, processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine recently found research data related to the discovery of transfer RNA. The files include materials dated as early as April 1953 and into July 1956, around the time of the discovery. The papers included notes that describe them as the “original experimental data on t-RNA” and “first 1955 experiments on sRNA.” The notes themselves include experiment procedures, hypotheses, and results, as well as related charts and graphs.

 

Data from Zamecnik's research into ribosomal structures, which led to the discovery of transfer RNA (back of page)

Data from Zamecnik’s research into ribosomal structures, which led to the discovery of transfer RNA (back of page)

The data, accompanied by notes, are now included in the Paul C. Zamecnik papers that are being processed right now, and will be part of the series focused on research notes relating to RNA more generally.  This is but one of the topics of Zamecnik’s research during his time leading the Huntington Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital and as the Collis P. Huntington Professor of Oncologic Medicine at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, Massachusetts.

Data from Zamecnik's research that led to the discovery of transfer RNA

Data from Zamecnik’s research that led to the discovery of transfer RNA

After retiring from Harvard Medical School, Zamecnik joined Dr. Mahlon Hoagland and continued his research at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Worcester, Massachusetts. Records relating to the scientific research completed at the Worcester Foundation as well as documentation of the formation and running of that organization with Dr. Hoagland are also included in the collection.

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Event Recap: From Farmer’s Daughter to Physician

By , May 23, 2017
Dr. Gesa Kirsch at Countway Library, 25 April 2017

Dr. Gesa Kirsch at Countway Library, 25 April 2017

On April 25th, Dr. Gesa E. Kirsch, Professor of English at Bentley University, presented on her research about Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter, an early 20th century California physician, civic leader, and women’s rights’ activist, and read from her recently published edition of Dr. Ritter’s memoir More than Gold in California: The Life and Work of Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter.

During her talk, Dr. Kirsch detailed Dr. Ritter’s life as a physician. Born in 1860, Dr. Ritter earned her MD at Cooper Medical College in San Francisco in 1886, now the Stanford University School of Medicine. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Ritter taught at UC Berkeley and worked as an advocate for women students. In particular, Dr. Kirsch highlighted the story of how Dr. Ritter worked with women students to get around inequalities in facilities on campus:

For example, the men had had a gymnasium and instruction in gymnastics for years. It was assumed to be beneficial to their health and therefore a necessity. But this argument did not apply to the girls. The idea seemed rather to be that regular gymnastic exercise would be detrimental to their well-being. I sometimes felt as if the masculine powers-that-be thought that women were made of glass and might break to pieces if they fell down. But the girls did not think that way.

In the passing years old Harmon Gymnasium had been enlarged to nearly treble the original size, with offices appended in the rear. This made the girls ambitious, until finally a group visited the instructor of gymnastics beseeching the privilege of using the “gym” part of the time. Reluctantly the instructor said, “Of course you have a right to part time in the gymnasium and I would be willing to give you instruction, but the boys use the gym for dressing for track practice – and – and – the only time possible for your use would be after they go home at five o’clock. I would be willing to give you one hour a week at that time.” After the girls had expressed their gratitude for that crumb, he added, “But I could not possibly admit anyone to the class without a medical examination and there is no money for that.”

Alas for his foxy loop-hole! He had not counted on feminine determination. When a woman wants a thing, she wants it. The girls talked matters over and a day or two later the same group called on me and told me their story, asking if I would be willing to make the medical examinations without pay. I readily consented. This was in 1891. The instructor gallantly allowed me to use the gymnasium examining room with its apparatus for the medical tests. Thus the entering wedge was made for the vast amount of fine training of many sorts which the women students have enjoyed these later years in the beautiful Hearst Gymnasium. Until this present year I have never passed the palatial women’s building and then old Harmon Gymnasium without a broad and somewhat sardonic grin.

Mary Bennett Ritter, More Than Gold in California, 201-203.

Dr. Ritter is known as the first unofficial dean for women at UC Berkeley, and was awarded an honorary PhD by UC Berkeley for her work. She published her autobiography More than Gold in California in 1933 and died in 1949. Dr. Kirsch’s current research explores the rhetorical strategies, professional networks, and social activism of a group of late nineteenth-century women physicians through the Women’s Medical Journal. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend to continue this research.

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Staff Finds: “Keeping Osteoporosis off Your Back!” and “Fruit and Vegetable Blackjack”: Planet Health Workshops and Their Materials

By , May 16, 2017
The correct answer and decoy pieces for Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor.” According to these materials, the average sixth or seventh grader daily spends 8.9 hours sleeping, 6.5 hours sitting outside of class, 5 hours sitting in class, 2.3 hours standing, and 1.4 hours being active.

The correct answer and decoy pieces for Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor.” According to these materials, the average sixth or seventh grader daily spends 8.9 hours sleeping, 6.5 hours sitting outside of class, 5 hours sitting in class, 2.3 hours standing, and 1.4 hours being active.

In the mid-1990s, the Harvard Prevention Research Center (HPRC) conducted workshops at schools in the Boston metropolitan area as part of its implementation of a randomized control trial of Planet Health, a middle-school-based interdisciplinary wellness curriculum. One series of workshops provided training to introduce teachers to Planet Health, but another series was specifically aimed at promoting wellness for teachers and staff, and included a workshop entitled “Keeping Osteoporosis off Your Back!” Center staff found records of these workshops, as well as game pieces used in workshop activities, while processing the records of the HPRC.

The wellness workshops for teachers and staff were offered as part of the Planet Health curriculum in 1997. “Fitness After 25” discussed the physiological and psychological changes that take place in the body after a person turns 25. A four-week-long course on stress management investigated ways stress can be used advantageously and also taught stress-reduction techniques and exercises. “Keeping Osteoporosis off Your Back” offered instruction on how to build and maintain stronger bones for the participants as well as their families and students. Participants received professional development points for attending each workshop. In addition to these workshops, the program organized a walking group that met once a week for seven weeks at each of the participating schools.

The workshops that teachers attended to learn about that year’s Planet Health curriculum and its thematic units included many different activities, which may also have been used in the classroom with students. Staff found pieces for a game called “Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor,” cards for a concentration game called “Concentrate on Fat Facts,“ cards for a game called “Fruit and Vegetable Blackjack,” as well as a variety of food models used for games about nutrition.

In “Inactivity: Beat Your Neighbor,” teams received a set of puzzle pieces that listed different amounts of time the average sixth or seventh grader spent sleeping, sitting in class, sitting outside of class, standing, and being active daily. Teams were instructed to choose the pieces that added up to a pie chart with the correct amounts of time. In “Concentrate on Fat Facts,” teams played concentration with a twist: matching a question card with the correct answer card.  In “Fruit and Vegetable Blackjack,” teams answered questions about fruits, vegetables, and general nutrition for points, trying to get as close to 21 points as possible.

Apple pie and applesauce food models. According to the models, apple pie has 327mg of sodium; applesauce has 4mg.

Apple pie and applesauce food models. According to the models, apple pie has 327mg of sodium; applesauce has 4mg.

The food models were used for several different games about nutrition. In one game, players chose the food with the higher sodium content from a series of pairs: ground beef and a hot dog; apple pie and applesauce; a tortilla and tortilla chips. In another game using the hot dog, peanut butter, ground beef, fish sticks, roast beef, halibut, and navy beans food models, players arranged the models in order of highest to lowest fat content. In a third game, players matched a variety of food models (with their nutrition information covered) to their corresponding nutritional value cards (with the food names covered).

The Planet Health curriculum was first developed in 1995 and continues today to give middle school students the knowledge and tools to make good decisions about their nutrition and physical fitness. The HPRC, now called The Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard School of Public Health, was founded in 1998 in Boston, Massachusetts to work with local, community, and governmental organizations to research, develop, implement, and refine school- and community-based youth intervention programs to encourage better health habits among youth. Its programs particularly focus on improving nutrition and exercise habits in order to lower the risk of obesity and chronic disease in children and youth.

The HPRC collection is expected to be open to research in the spring of 2017. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact Public Services staff. Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

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June 15: Gender and Risk Perception in the Development of Oral Contraceptives, 1940-1968

By , May 12, 2017

The Archives for Women in Medicine and the The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation present:

Gender and Risk Perception in the Development of Oral Contraceptives, 1940-1968

2016-2017 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellowship Lecture

Kate Grauvogel:  2016-2017 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellow, Doctoral student in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Department at Indiana University-Bloomington

Kate Grauvogel is an advanced doctoral student in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Department at Indiana University-Bloomington. Broadly, her research interests include the history of women’s health, especially pathology and psychiatry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her current research focuses on women and experimentation in medicine, particularly the history of blood clotting disorders in reproductive-age women, and how physicians perceived the whole constellation of gender, reproduction, secretions, clots, and associated diseases.

0002376_drefGrauvogel’s dissertation is entitled “A gendered history of pathology: blood clots, women, and hormones in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” It argues that the bodies of women—whether as obstetric patients, cadavers, or sufferers of side-effects from birth-control pills—shaped pathological theory as well as understandings of the role of secretions (later identifiable as estrogens) in health and disease. It also explores the medical and cultural functions of the Pill in the twentieth century and its impact on women and their lives. In it, she hopes to show how nineteenth-century pathologists and twentieth-century physicians observed pregnant women and women on the birth control pill and gleaned important information from them, such as the idea that fluctuations in estrogens could lead to the formation of dangerous blood clots.

The project as a whole uses primary sources from France, England, and Germany. At the Countway, Grauvogel will add an American perspective from the Boston Hospital for Women Records, 1926–1983, The Free Hospital for Women Records, 1875–1975, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, The Leona Baumgartner Papers, 1830-1979, the Janet Ward McArthur Papers, 1939-2005, and other collections. She will be looking for cases of lying-in illnesses, including blood clotting, which will shed light on how pathologists thought about dangerous blood clots in women as the result of either pregnancy or the Pill. She hopes to emerge with a better grasp of the ailments doctors observed in women, as well as and how they described and thought about such ailments.

 

Thursday, June 15, 2017
5:30pm
Reception at 5:00pm

Waterhouse Room
Gordon Hall
Harvard Medical School
25 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. Register online now through Eventbrite or email us at ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

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Records of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development Now Open to Research

By , May 12, 2017
Faculty members of the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Maternal and Child Health, reading a Growth Study Case History. Seated: Bertha S. Burke, Harold C. Stuart, and Elizabeth P. Rice. Standing: Samuel W. Dooley and Samuel B. Kirkwood, circa 1949.

Faculty members of the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Maternal and Child Health, reading a Growth Study Case History. Seated: Bertha S. Burke, Harold C. Stuart, and Elizabeth P. Rice. Standing: Samuel W. Dooley and Samuel B. Kirkwood, circa 1949, H MS c450. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the records of the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development, 1918-2015 (inclusive), 1930-1989 (bulk), are now open to research. The longitudinal studies, otherwise known as the Harvard Growth Study, were founded in 1930 by Harold Coe Stuart (1891-1976) in the school’s Department of Maternal and Child Health. It was one of several United States growth studies that were initiated in response to a recognized lack of knowledge about child health and development. The original study enrolled 309 prenatal subjects between 1930 and 1939, 134 of whom were followed through to maturity (18 years). Researchers tracked subjects’ health, physical development, diet, and social and psychological functioning. The data from this and other growth studies were used to create pediatric growth curves and percentile charts that became the standard used by pediatricians across the country.

Infant boys anthropometric growth chart, created with data from the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development.

Infant boys anthropometric growth chart, created with data from the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Recognizing the reuse potential of the rich data collected during the original study, investigators periodically called subjects back for more targeted follow-up studies over the following decades.  A 30-year follow-up study on adult health related to child health was conducted between 1960 and 1969; a 40-year follow-up on blood pressure and cardiac health was held between 1970 and 1979; and two 50-year follow-up studies on gynecology and memory of diet in the distant past took place between 1980 and 1989.

The records comprise research data from the original and all four follow-up studies. There is a variety of data types and formats, including: physical examinations and medical records; anthropometric measurements and growth curves; progressive somatotype photographs; somatotype family trees; nutrition and diet surveys; social work interviews and reports; and various medical test results. The data is accompanied by methodologies, protocols, codebooks, reports, grant files, subject participation records, personnel records, and related administrative records.  The collection also includes manuscript drafts and publications composed by Growth Study staff members, and collected publications, brochures, and pamphlets related to maternal and child health.

Family Physical Characteristics Key, created during the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development.

Family Physical Characteristics Key, created during the Harvard School of Public Health Longitudinal Studies of Child Health and Development. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

This is the first of four collections to be processed under the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library Resources.  For more information on the project, please contact the project’s principal investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

For more information on the Growth Study and the collection, please view the online finding aid:

http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/primo?id=med00211&q=undefined

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Staff Finds: Netter’s Clinical Symposia Illustrations and Other Publications and Pamphlets

By , May 10, 2017
Clinical Symposia 21, no. 1 (January-March 1969). Topics: “The Surgical Treatment of Myocardial Ischemia” and “Surgical Treatment of Cardiac Valvular Disease.” H MS c477

Clinical Symposia 21, no. 1 (January-March 1969). Topics: “The Surgical Treatment of Myocardial Ischemia” and “Surgical Treatment of Cardiac Valvular Disease.” H MS c477. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

While processing the papers of Marie C. McCormick (born 1946), Center staff found a collection of interesting pamphlets and publications on a range of topics. McCormick collected these materials as reference in her professional and research activities. Among those best represented in the collection are issues of the journal Clinical Symposia. The journal was published from 1948 to 1999 by Ciba Pharmaceutical Products, Inc. More than 250 issues of Clinical Symposia were illustrated by Frank Netter, M.D.; many of those illustrations were compiled into the 13 volume The CIBA Collection of Medical Illustrations (1953). Even after he retired in the early 1970s, Netter continued to produce illustrations at the astonishing rate of a new image every several days. In 1989, two years before he passed away at the age of 85, Netter published the Atlas of Human Anatomy, which was widely adopted at American medical schools and across the world. In all, Netter painted more than 4,000 medical illustrations during his lifetime (Hansen, 482-483).

Other publications collected by McCormick demonstrate the types of health and parenting advice that were distributed to parents in the late 20th century. They include a 1984 booklet entitled “Childhood Vaccination: Current Controversies,” a 1979 pamphlet entitled “What Parents Should Know about Shoes, Twisted or Bent Legs, and Flatfeet in Children,” which has easy-to-understand diagrams, and an undated booklet entitled “What Are the Facts about Genetic Disease?” which includes charts explaining how dominant, X-linked, and recessive inheritance works.

Also of interest is the graphic design on the covers of pamphlets. “Regional Emergency Medical Communications Systems” (1978) draws the eye with an interesting stylization of a warning light, “The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” (1976) implies a harrowing situation, and “Cleaning Products and Their Accidental Exposure” (1989) subtly connects women with housework through dress-like bottle designs.

These examples and more can be found in the Marie C. McCormick papers, 1956-2016 (inclusive), 1968-2009 (bulk), which are expected to be open to research in spring of 2017. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact Public Services staff. Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

 

Reference
John T. Hansen. “Frank H. Netter, M.D. (1906-1991): The Artist and His Legacy.” Clinical Anatomy 19 (2006): 481-486.

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Staff Finds: Planet Health Curriculum Materials

By , May 10, 2017
Planet Health Power Down button, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center’s Planet Health Curriculum. P-DT08.01, Series 00598.

Planet Health Power Down button, from the Harvard Prevention Planet Health Power Down button, from the Harvard Prevention Research Center’s Planet Health Curriculum. P-DT08.01, Series 00598. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

While processing the records of The Harvard Prevention Research Center (HPRC), Center staff found a variety of educational materials produced for the Planet Health curriculum in the mid-1990s. The project began in 1995 and today continues to produce curriculum for middle school teachers and physical education teachers to teach healthy decision-making regarding nutrition, exercise, and leisure activities, while also supporting learning in traditional subject areas.

The interactive worksheets and handouts found include a FitCheck score sheet and a Fitness Folder. The FitCheck score sheet first asked students to calculate their “Fit Score” and “Sit Score” by adding up how much time they spent doing physical activities like sports, chores, or walking to school and how much time they spent sitting down watching TV and playing video games.  Then, students set a goal to be more active or to stay active and wrote how they would achieve it. Fitness Folders contained multiple FitCheck sheets, pages to write year-long goals, and examples of goals and activities to help achieve them.

Center staff also found a button and curriculum materials that were produced for the program’s Power Down initiative. Students who participated in the Power Down program pledged to watch less than two hours of TV per day (including watching movies or playing video games) for one week, and then kept track of how well they adhered to their pledge. In addition to worksheets for tracking TV consumption, items found include an Alternative Activities sheet that provided a list of ideas for things to do instead of watching TV. The majority of these ideas were compiled by a group of seventh graders and include activities such as bowling, four-square, listening to music, jujitsu, walking the dog, and yoga. However, the list includes some unexpected ideas, such as having a party, having a pillow fight, playing Mouse Trap, redecorating, shoveling snow, visiting a farm, and yodeling.

The HPRC, now called The Harvard Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard School of Public Health, was founded in 1998 in Boston, Massachusetts to work with local, community, and governmental organizations to research, develop, implement, and refine school- and community-based youth intervention programs to encourage better health habits among youth. Its programs particularly focus on improving nutrition and exercise habits, in order to lower the risk of obesity and chronic disease in children and youth.

The collection is expected to be open to research in the spring of 2017. For information regarding access to this collection, please contact Public Services staff. Processing of the collection is part of the Bridging the Research Data Divide project, funded by a Hidden Collections grant administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Deputy Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

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Center Staff Presents On EAC-CPF Project At Digital Humanities Open Office Hours

By , April 21, 2017

eac-cpftemplate2Center for the History of Medicine processing assistant, Betts Coup, recently completed a project related to the implementation of the archival standard, Encoded Archival Context – Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAD-CPF) as part of her final semester in the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science master’s program. The project centered on the creators of archival collections within the scope of a Boston School desegregation effort at Northeastern University, while Betts simultaneously led the development of an EAC-CPF template for the Center for the History of Medicine, working closely with the Center’s Collections Services Archivist, Jessica Sedgwick. The efforts to work with this standard at both institutions allowed for collaboration and critical considerations about what data elements should be included in a template for the Center’s collections.

As part of the project, Betts presented about the creation of EAC-CPF templates for both institutions at the Northeastern University Digital Humanities Working Group Open Office Hours, a regular meeting where members of the digital humanities community come together to present and discuss current trends and projects. She was joined for this presentation by Katherine Wisser, an Associate Professor at Simmons College, the advisor for the project, and also the co-chair for the Technical subcommittee for EAC-CPF. The discussion at the Open Office Hours included a description of the standard, as most members of the audience were not familiar with it, a walk-through of the ways EAC-CPF records describe entities, and a comparison of EAC-CPF to TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) Personographies.

EAC-CPF is a standard that was developed fairly recently to provide a method for describing the entities that create, or are the subject of, archival or bibliographic resources. Those entities can be individual persons, corporate bodies, or families, and each record describes one entity and its relationships to other entities and resources. In many ways, EAC-CPF looks similar to the finding aids that describe the Center’s collections, and can include portions of descriptive information borrowed directly from those finding aids, including biographical or historical notes that specifically describe the creating entity rather than the resources themselves. However, EAC-CPF records additionally include elements specific to the description of the entities, including occupations or functions terms, rather than subject terms, as well as an entire section regarding relationships.

The relations portion of the record describes the relationships between the entity and other entities, such as family members, coworkers, and institutions where a person was employed or educated, among others. There are a total of nine types of relationships that can be described, including identity, hierarchical, hierarchical-parent, hierarchical-child, temporal, temporal-earlier, temporal-later, family, and associative. Because many of the Center’s collections, and thus the creators or subjects of those collections, relate to professional careers in medicine, science, public health, dentistry, and similar topics, the vast majority of relationships found in EAC-CPF records are best described as associative. They are then defined in a descriptive note so that users may fully understand the relationship between the entities.

EAC-CPF records additionally describe the relationships between entities and resources. These relationships are defined by three attributes: subject of, creator of, or other, for non-specific relationships. For the Center, many of the resource relations described include the entity’s relationship specifically to archival resources in the collection, either as creator or subject. The relations portion of an EAC-CPF record allows connections to be made between the people or organizations which are responsible for or are the subjects of archival resources, and in turn will enable users to make new connections.

Betts’ presentation at Northeastern University’s Digital Humanities Open Office Hours gave attendees the chance to learn about EAC-CPF and how it is being applied both at the Center for the History of Medicine and the Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections. The discussion also related to TEI Personographies, which is a standard that organizes biographical information about writers, authors, and subjects into encoded texts. TEI personographies are being implemented at Northeastern as part of the Women Writers’ Project, and have some similarities to EAC-CPF in terms of content, but are less structured and defined. The conversation demonstrated the challenges of finding ways to encode and share information that might improve access to resources, and the ways both these standards provide connections and additional information that may improve paths to accessing materials.

Currently, working with the processing staff at the Center, Betts Coup and Jessica Sedgwick are in the final stages of implementing the EAC-CPF template developed over the fall of 2016. In time, these records will be made available to the public with the goal of enabling users to discover new connections between entities and archival resources.

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