Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Georgetown University: The Virtual Medical Library

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Georgetown University: The Virtual Medical Library

Article excerpt

The impact of developing a virtual library has already been recognized in several arenas. University libraries know that a virtual library provides access to multiple resources and allows users to manipulate information and data to meet their individual needs. The university library perspective of this topic was covered in the March 1992 Computers In Libraries Conference in Washington, DC. Recently, Raymond Kurzweil, in describing the future of libraries, raised the concept of borrowing virtual books from the virtual library by selecting icons from a circa 2,000 notebook computer.

At the Georgetown University Medical Center, we maintain that a "virtual medical library system" (VMLS), while similar to a university library, is a system that will have direct access to many different medical print and non-print formats, bibliographic indexes and abstracts, CD-ROM systems, document delivery, full text, electronic journals, medical images, plus e-mail for direct communication with expert librarians. Even beyond basically making these resources available, the VMLS must help guide users to biomedical information and offer integration or, at minimum, interface with medical systems such as drug information, cancer treatment, diagnostic, and a variety of patient care laboratory and x-ray reports. The "library of tomorrow" must have a means of integrating or interfacing effectively with patient data and research systems.

It is not a stand-alone medical library; it is an essential part of the campus-wide or medical center-wide approach network, and it extends beyond the institution. The Internet will play a major role for medical libraries of all kinds in assuring this vision. …

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