Would your research benefit from access to historical medical records?

By , January 17, 2014

As part of a joint effort to develop best practices for enabling access to special collections containing protected health information (PHI) and other types of access-protected (“restricted”) records, the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, and the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions are conducting a survey to determine what information researchers need in order to decide whether or not to pursue access to restricted health records, such as medical records, psychiatric/mental health records, and photographs taken as part of medical treatments.surveyclip

Whether you are new to research or an experienced historian, we’d like to know how you’ve located health related records relevant to your research, if you’ve been through the IRB (Internal Review Board) process, and, most importantly, what information you think should be included in library catalog records and manuscript and archival collection guides (“finding aids”). To participate, go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M25BFXF

The survey is being administered as part of grant work funded by a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through a program administered by the Council on Library Resources (CLIR) to increase access to critical resources currently unavailable to historical research. The grant, Private Practices, Public Health: Privacy-Aware Processing to Maximize Access to Health Collections, was proposed on behalf of the Medical Heritage Library (MHL), and will allow the Center and its partner, the Chesney Medical Archives, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, both MHL principal contributors, to open currently inaccessible public health collections to researchers while developing best practices for enabling access to special collections containing protected health information and other types of restricted records.

The findings of this survey will be reported at a 2014 American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM) annual meeting lunch session and as part of a session at the 2014 annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). By responding, you are helping libraries and archives improve how they describe records and make hidden collections available to researchers in more useful ways.

For more information about the survey, contact Emily R. Novak Gustainis.

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