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Biomedicine & Health

Latin Herbal, 1485

Shirley poppies drawn by Eva Biggs c.1900

Welcome to the Biomedicine and Health Libraries at UCL

UCL biomedical and health libraries jointly support UCL’s research, teaching and learning activities as well as the clinical practice in UCL’s associated NHS Trusts. The biomedical and health libraries collections comprise over 90,000 books and monographs and they subscribe to at least 4,000 medical and health-care related journals and texts electronically as well as holding over 2,000 journal subscriptions in print. The libraries provide study space and a full range of enquiry, training and document delivery services as well as access to online resources 24 hours a day.

There are substantial teaching hospital libraries at the Royal Free, UCLH and Whittington campuses of the UCL Medical School as well as specialist libraries covering child health, dentistry, laryngology, neurology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics and pharmacy. These eleven libraries and the Medical Sciences materials in the UCL Science Library collectively form a major resource in current biomedicine and health. There are additional and significant historical medical materials held by these libraries and by Library Services' Special Collections.

UCL Library Services also has close links with other library services for the NHS including the Bloomsbury Healthcare Library. There is close collaboration with libraries at District General Hospitals to facilitate continuous access to resources for undergraduate medical students on placement. Information resources for the public include the RNID library and web-based guides in specific clinical areas including paediatric and neurological disorders.

Biomedicine and Health Libraries

Click on the corresponding link in the table below to view the address, contact details and other specific information about a particular library. The coverage statements which accompany each entry are brief holdings summaries only. For more detailed information please contact the appropriate site.

Cruciform building UCL Cruciform Library
The Library primarily serves staff and students of the UCL School of Life & Medical Sciences (including the UCL Medical School) at the Bloomsbury Campus as well as NHS staff employed by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Cruciform Library includes the collections of the Boldero Library, formerly at the Middlesex Hospital, following their merger in August 2005.
Ear Institute and Royal National Throat Nose & Ear Hospital UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries
The UCL Ear Institute and RNID Libraries are a collaborative venture between UCL, the Action on Hearing Loss Library and the NHS. The libraries are based at the Royal National Throat Nose & Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) and together constitute the largest specialist collection for audiology, deaf studies, and ear, nose and throat (ENT) or otorhinolaryngolgic (ORL) medicine in Europe.
Eastman buildingUCL Eastman Dental Library
The aim of the Library is to support and develop all information resources within the Eastman Dental Institute, and the Eastman Dental Hospital, for teaching and research in the fields of dentistry, oral health care and related disciplines.
Institute of Child Health Library UCL Institute of Child Health Library
The Library aims to provide information and support for the staff and students at the Institute of Child Health, and the staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital. These pages provide information on all aspects of Library services.
Institute of Neurology buildingUCL Institute of Neurology Library (Queen Square Library)
The Queen Square Library is the recognised Library for Neurology in the University of London and is a shared resource between the Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. The Library contains a wide range of neurological books and journals, together with some general medical and biomedical literature.
Institute of Orthopaedics  UCL Institute of Orthopaedics Library
The Institute of Orthopaedics deals with musculoskeletal sciences and orthopaedics.
Institute of Ophtalmology Library
Joint Library, Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital
The Joint Library, Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital is the foremost ophthalmic library in Europe.The library has a wide range of books on ophthalmology and visual science, with some texts on biomedicine, medicine and nursing. It subscribes to over 120 current journal titles in ophthalmology and visual science, as well as general titles in medicine and nursing.
Language & Speech Science Library

UCL Language & Speech Science Library (formerly Human Communication Science)
The LaSS Library is the specialist library supporting UCL Language Sciences research, teaching and clinical work, as well as being the UK's National Information Centre for Speech-language Therapy (NICeST). The library holds a unique collection of materials in the field of human communication and its disorders. Subjects covered include: language and languages (written, spoken and signed); language disorders; linguistics; phonetics; psychology; special education; speech science; and voice.

Royal Free Hospital 
Royal Free Hospital Medical Library
The Royal Free Hospital Medical Library is a joint Library of the UCL Medical School and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. The Medical Library offers services to all staff and students of the UCL Medical School and all staff of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
School of Pharmacy LibraryUCL School of Pharmacy Library
The Library supports the learning, teaching and research undertaken by staff and students in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.
Science Library (DMS Watson) building UCL Science Library
The Science Library is located in the DMS Watson Building, and holds collections relating to all science based subjects. The Medical Sciences book and journal collections are held on the second floor and cover anatomy, cell biology, embryology, physiology, biochemistry, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, virology, immunology and the history of medicine. A collection of Psychology books and journals can also be found on the first floor. Other collections in the sciences may also be useful including biology, zoology, physics, computer science and engineering.
Whittington Health LibraryWhittington Health Library
The Whittington Health Library provides a multiprofessional information service for the Whittington Hospital and other NHS partners, and for staff and students of UCL Medical School.

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The History of Medicine

Historical Collections at UCL Biomedical Libraries

The biomedical collections at UCL Library Services include a wealth of fascinating historical material. Numbering around 10,000 volumes, and ranging in time from the sixteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, the collection includes volumes by some of the key authors in medical history. This befits the role of the biomedical collections of supporting biomedical research at UCL, an institution which has seen the first operation in Europe performed under anaesthetic in 1846 and the taking of the first clinical x-ray in 1896. The collections are either located at the site libraries, or held by Special Collections, and as such access arrangements to different parts of the collections may vary. For more detailed information please contact the relevant site.

Of particular interest are the collections of a number of specialist postgraduate medical institutes within UCL. These collections allow the history of clinical medical specialities including Dentistry, Paediatrics, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics and Otorhinolaryngology to be traced in detail using the libraries instituted to support the development of teaching and research in these now well-established clinical disciplines. Each of the Institute collections contains seminal texts by authors such as Sir Morell MacKenzie on laryngology, Sir Robert Hutchison on paediatrics, and Sir Stewart Duke Elder on ophthalmology, as well as other personal papers, photographs and ephemera.

In addition UCL Library Services also has special collections in related subject areas such as human communication sciences, life sciences and history of science, and the RNID Library archive for deaf studies available to the researcher. These collections provide a wider scientific context for the development of clinical sciences, as well as providing a significant insight into the development of rehabilitative and therapeutic care for those with communication disorders or hearing impairments.

The UCL Ear Institute Library Historical Collection

The Ear Institute Library (formerly the Institute of Laryngology & Otology) was established at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in 1946. The collection became part of UCL Library Services when the Institute merged with UCL in 1982, becoming part of the UCL Ear Institute in 2005.

The Library's historical collection contains around 500 volumes dating back to the middle of the seventeeth century. The bulk of the collection was published between 1870 and 1940, as the study of otology, rhinology, and later laryngology developed includes extensive holdings of works by key figures in the history of otorhinolaryngology in the UK and internationally such as Sir Morrell MacKenzie, Adam Politzer and Joseph Toynbee.

The collection also includes a significant number of potrait photographs of key figures in the development of otorhinolaryngologic medicine from the end of the nineteenth century, and the middle of the twentieth century, as well as selected personal papers of Sir Morrel MacKenzie. Also available is the RNID Library historical archive for deaf studies, which contains many key historical works on the development of audiology and hearing science.

The collection is shelved at the Ear Institute Library, and following conservation work on the collection in 2003, following a grant from the Research Resources in Medical History project from the British Library, the entire collection is available for viewing on request. It is advised that you contact the library in advance if you wish to consult the historical collection. A catalogue of the collection is available at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/iol9.shtml

UCL Cruciform Library history

An historical account of the Boldero and Clinical Sciences libraries, now forming the UCL Cruciform Library, is described in Reading Medicine. The libraries formerly served the Middlesex Hospital and University College Hospital Medical Schools.

UCL Special Collections

Special Collection holds various handwritten lectures notes by both UCL and non-UCL medical staff and students dating from the 18th century.

Special Collections also has the papers and drawings of former eminent UCL medical professors:

The UCL Archives also contains archival and printed material relating to the University College Hospital and Medical School:

The Strong Room Collection contains early printed material of medical historical interest:

An Archive of Images is available from the Special Collection Digital Gallery:


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Last modified 27 September 2013

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