Category: Archives and Records Management

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 archivist inspires “featured scientist” in STEM publication for children

By , November 15, 2016

 

https://custemized.org/MyScientificName/L

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Archivist (and Library Scientist) Heather Mumford

The Center for the History of Medicine is delighted to announce that its Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Archivist, Heather Mumford, is one of the 26 inspiring women in STEM occupations who participated in the creation of Jean Fan’s most recent CuSTEMized’s book, My Scientific Name. CuSTEMized is a not-for-profit initiative that provides personalized STEM-related motivational storybooks, posters, and other media products to encourage kids, in particular girls, in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). For “My Scientific Name,” Jean identified a STEM career for every letter in the alphabet, hence “L is for Library Scientist”!

Jean and Heather spent time discussing what a “library scientist” does, and came up with a second-grader-approved poem that succinctly sums up that work. To read the poem, visit Mumford’s featured page on the website: https://custemized.org/MyScientificName/L.

You can try out (and then download) a personalized book for free. Enjoy!

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Records Management Workshops

By , March 16, 2016

This spring, the Archives and Records Management program will be hosting a series of workshops to help you manage the records of your office. All workshops are free and open to members of the HMS/HSDM community.

For more information or to arrange for in-department seminars, visit our website, call the Archives and Records Management program at 617-432-6193, or email arm@hms.harvard.edu.

 

Introduction to the General Records Schedule

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
11:00am

Center for the History of Medicine Conference Room
Countway Library, Floor L2

Do you know how long you need to keep your office records, and what you should do when you no longer need them? In this workshop, we’ll help de-mystify records retention by showing you how to use and understand the Harvard University General Records Schedule (GRS). We’ll give you all the information you need to:

  • Identify your records using the GRS
  • Determine how long to keep your records
  • Decide if records should be destroyed or archived
  • Know who to contact if the GRS doesn’t describe your records

Workshops are about an hour long. Attendance is free and open to all members of the HMS/HSDM community. Registration is encouraged to insure sufficient space for all participants. To register, email us at arm@hms.harvard.edu.

 

Managing Your Paper Records: Off-Site Records Storage

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
11:00am

Center for the History of Medicine Conference Room
Countway Library, Floor L2

Run out of room for files in your office that you need to keep? The Harvard Depository records center is the perfect place for your office, department, or lab to store records that you need to keep but don’t use every day. In this workshop, we’ll review step-by-step instructions for:

  • How to set up an account
  • How to pack and label boxes correctly
  • How to complete transfer paperwork
  • How to recall records back to your office

Workshops are about an hour long. Attendance is free and open to all members of the HMS/HSDM community. Familiarity with the General Records Schedule (GRS) is helpful but not required. Registration is encouraged to insure sufficient space for all participants. To register, email us at arm@hms.harvard.edu.

 

Managing Your Electronic Records: Shared Drives & Email

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
11:00am

Center for the History of Medicine Conference Room
Countway Library, Floor L2

Does it take ages to find a file in your shared drive? Are you running out of room in your email box? Save yourself and your office time and money by learning to manage your electronic records. In this workshop, we’ll help you manage your email and electronic records efficiently and effectively by giving you guidelines for:

  • Naming and organizing your files for fast and easy access
  • Developing a file plan for your office shared drive
  • Determining which emails you should keep, and how to store them
  • Learning how to keep your digital records in compliance with Harvard’s records management policies

Workshops are about an hour long. Attendance is free and open to all members of the HMS/HSDM community. Familiarity with the General Records Schedule (GRS) is helpful but not required. Registration is encouraged to insure sufficient space for all participants. To register, email us at arm@hms.harvard.edu.

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Project Archivist Presents at New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance

By , October 8, 2015
3rd Annual New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, held at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, 25 September 2015.

3rd Annual New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance.

On Friday, September 25, Project Archivist Amber LaFountain attended the 3rd Annual New England Regional Meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, held at the Dartmouth campus of the University of Massachusetts.  The meeting allowed attendees to highlight their institutions’ current digital stewardship work, and provided opportunities for collaborative learning and brainstorming.

The first half of the program was dedicated to short presentations, during which archivists, librarians, and information professionals representing a number of New England institutions shared their current digital initiatives.  Amber presented to the group on the Center’s Bridging the Research Data Divide project, a CLIR-funded collaboration with the University of Alberta Libraries that began in June 2015.  She discussed the CLIR partners’ plans for exposing descriptive metadata about the project’s research data collections through the Dataverse, and for developing best practices for describing research data collections to enable long-term access, use, and repurposing of the data.

Later in the program, attendees broke into informal unconference groups to discuss various digital stewardship topics and concerns.  Amber was able to collaborate with other local archivists and librarians to brainstorm ideas for data wrangling (preparing digital assets for long-term preservation and use) and for creating preservation metadata for digital collections.  Other unconference topics included: issues with saving digital assets in proprietary software and databases; implementing practical preservation practices; file integrity verification; and repositories for access versus preservation.

The meeting was a fantastic learning opportunity, and we’re excited to follow the progress of our local colleagues’ projects over the coming year.

The Bridging the Research Data Divide project is funded by a Hidden Collections Grant administered by the Council on Library Resources (CLIR). For more information on the project, please contact the project’s principal investigator, Emily R. Novak Gustainis, Head, Collections Services.

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“Big Data” Stewardship

By , September 29, 2015

BigData_2267x1146_whiteOn Tuesday, September 8th, 2015, Heather Mumford, Archivist for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, attended the webinar, The Data Flood: Implications for data stewardship and the culture of discovery. The discussion was led by Dr. Margaret Leinen, Director, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, and Dean, School of Marine Sciences, University of California San Diego. Although Dr. Leinen’s background is in geoscience, the merit of her key talking points– using data with intelligence and interoperability—crosses disciplines.

 

Storage and Management

Managing big data is important because observation is the first step towards understanding. We need to address how we are managing big data because, well, it’s big–and only getting bigger! According to the ACI Information Group, five exabytes of content were created between the birth of the world and 2003, and since then five exabytes have been created on a daily basis. Data growth is poised to exceed Moore’s Law growth (average growth = 64%). This means our ability to store and explore data is challenged; automatically “archiving” data on external storage should no longer been seen as an adequate solution to such rapid exponential growth. One way to control growth is through appraisal. Researchers need assistance with understanding what should be kept and for how long.

 

It was particularly interesting to hear Dr. Leinin’s perspective on who should be responsible for stewarding big data. Many universities are struggling or unable to manage large data collections. Archives, which typically fall into a data stewardship role, are often under-funded and under-staffed–and at a time when data is growing in size and researchers’ expectation of services provided is expanding. Government data archives are already having difficulties in accommodating innovation in systems and structures, morphing to new technology, etc. In her presentation, Dr. Leinin made a call for a change in culture.

 

Publishing Data

Brooks Hanson, American Geophysical Union Director of Publications, was paraphrased as stating that publications are going to become more interactive for readers, and data will become an interoperable and seamless part of the publication. If a researcher publishes, he or she must be able to offer that data to the community. The data should also be open so that it can be replicated, and future progress can be made from this same set of data. Social media (bookmarking, tagging, etc.) is not a complete solution for sharing data, as not all social media is interoperable or open source. How do we have discussions about data in a way that makes it interoperable and accessible to others?

 

Data Management Education

It is generally understood that the “next generation” is poised to be more fluent with social media tools, but are we also simultaneously educating them in data? Big data management is still in its earliest stages, so it will be interesting to see how data management education will be tackled by the scholarly community. There is certainly an opportunity for data science to emerge as an exciting new undergraduate major, master’s degree, and certificate program (for professionals already in the field).  State and federal agencies are already pursuing certificate programs for current employees who have found themselves working with large data sets.

 

This webinar was presented by DataOne. In addition to archived webinars, additional lessons and tutorials are available online for use/distribution. Please visit http://www.dataone.org for more information.

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Archivists attend launch of “Women and Health: the key to sustainable development”

By , June 23, 2015

Heather Mumford, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Archivist, and Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, recently attended the launch of The Lancet’s report “Women and Health: the key for sustainable development,” at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The report was created by the 15-member Commission on Women and Health, a partnership between The Lancet, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Women and Health Initiative, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Archivists Joan Ilacqua and Heather Mumford with a copy of The Lancet's report "Women and Health: the key for sustainable development.”

Archivists Joan Ilacqua and Heather Mumford with a copy of The Lancet’s report “Women and Health: the key for sustainable development.”

The launch featured comments by several Harvard experts including: Julio Frenk, Dean of the School of Public Health, Ana Langer, Professor of Public Health and Coordinator of the Dean’s Special Initiative on Women and Health, Paula A. Johnson, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Women’s Health and Gender at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Felicia Knaul, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, and Jeni Klugman, lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Other speakers included Afaf Meleis of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Ruth Bonita of the University of Auckland, Justine Davies of The Lancet, and Mariam Claeson of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Speakers emphasized that gender inequality continues to be a global problem; this inequality inhibits progress and potential for a variety of stakeholders on a global scale. Health inequities manifest in many ways. For example, addressing women’s health has historically been reduced to reproductive health, while poverty, urbanization, non-communicable diseases and chronic disease disproportionately affect women. Furthermore, women are not solely consumers of health, but are also health providers, often with little to no training, compensation, or recognition. Although women are represented in the workforce, medical professions, and academia, the demand for women to provide domestic work and care outside of their employment to family members has not changed and effectively convolutes a work-life balance.

Gender inequality disenfranchises women, even in wealthy countries. Marginalization and inequity is present in politics, higher education, and other fields. The report concludes that all sustainability goals should be gender-specific and measurable, and that gender equity committees (such as Harvard Medical School’s own Joint Committee on the Status of Women) continue to be necessary to prevent and combat marginalization. Addressing women and health, acknowledging and compensating women as consumers and deliverers of healthcare, and investing in all stages of women’s health throughout life will benefit global economies at large.

The conclusions of the report were underscored by the speakers’ dedication to interdisciplinary work to solve medical, scientific, public health, and economic problems, a mission integral to the Center’s own acquisitions guidelines. We are committed to acquiring, preserving, and making available historic materials to provide context and perspective to the history of medicine, including documenting the developments, experiences, and contributions of public health pioneers and women leaders in medicine. As archivists, we aspire to be responsible and informed stewards of our historic collections, so attending events like this launch are necessary to understanding the contemporary contexts of our collections.

Women and Health: the key for sustainable development” is available to read online at The Lancet’s website.

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Welcome to our new Records Management Assistant!

By , January 9, 2015

Andra Langoussis, Records Management AssistantMy name is Andra Langoussis, and I am happy to be starting a new role as the Records Management Assistant here at the Center for the History of Medicine. As a recent graduate of Simmons School of Library and Information Science and as a part-time employee here at the Center for the last two years, I am very excited about this new opportunity!

I have worn several hats over the last two years here at the Center. I began as an intern during my second semester of graduate school, and since then I have been busy working on processing projects (including the Bigelow-Wallis and Warren-Kaula Teaching Watercolors), migrating the Center’s past exhibits and other digitized collections into OnView, helping patrons with reference requests, and coordinating events.

I look forward to meeting and working more closely with the faculty and staff here at Harvard University. Thank you for your welcome and support as I learn the ropes of my new position!

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