The Medical Library Through the Years
by: Adawey Racal
Reference: "Siyento : the U.P. College of Medicine centennial commemorative book / UPCM Centennial Executive Committee, 2005."
The Philippine Medical School, the first academic unit of the University of the Philippines was established on December 1, 1905. For twenty-six years since founding, the School did not have any organized library although there were small collection of books and journals in the different departments of the school and hospital. Students, faculty and other staff relied almost entirely on the excellent facilities of the next door Bureau of Science Library for their needs. Its collection was particularly rich in the literature of medicine and allied health sciences.
It was only in 1931, when the unorganized medical literature from the different departments and units were gathered together and became the collection of the College of Medicine Library. The collection was housed in the new building of the Institute of Hygiene. Since then the ensuing library collections of both the Institute and the College was called the Medical Library. At this time the collection of the Philippine Islands Medical Association was transferred to the Medical Library. The collection was formally merged with the Medical Library collection in 1937.
Mr. Aquilino Y. Agrosino was appointed as the first Medical Librarian in 1937. He held a Ph. D degree in Library Science. He saw the transfer of the Medical Library collection from the Dispensary building and PGH and on to the newly built Medical Library and and Science Hall in 1953; but most of all he is remembered for having started the indexing of Philippine Medical Literature which he himself entitled the Philippine Index Medicus, the first and the only one of its kind in the country. In recognition for his outstanding contribution to Philippine Medical Bibliography, Mr. Agrosino received an award for distinguished Men of Philippine Medicine from the Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity, U.P. College of Medicine on December 4, 1960. He retired on January 4, 1961.
In 1945 during the Battle for the Liberation of Manila, the buildings were destroyed and burned. With them went most of the library's collection, except for some 1,195 volumes kept in some rooms of the Institute of Hygiene. The salvaged collection, augmented with donations from foreign and local donors formed the nucleus of the postwar Medical Library collection. With 3,100 volumes of books and 212 medical journals, the collection was transferred to rooms in the PGH dispensary building, and later housed in three rooms between wards 13-14 and 18.
In 1953, through a grant of $200,000 from the China Medical Board (CMB) of New York, a new building called the Medical Library and Science Hall was constructed. It was a three-storey building with an auditorium on the ground floor fully equipped for audiovisual instruction. It was fully air-conditioned with a seating capacity of 120 and had a shelving capacity for 150,000 volumes. Counterpart funds from the Mutual Security Agency were used to purchase medical books and periodical subscription; and from PHILCUSA for library equipment and furniture. For the first time the Medical Library had its own facility. This marked the beginning of the Medical Library's steady development, not only in terms of physical facility and services, but also the collection grew immensely both in quality and quantity. It was formally inaugurated on June 4, 1953, with Dr. Harold H. Locks representing China Medical Board who turned over the building officially to the College, represented by Dean Agerico B.M. Sison. Ms. Clarisa G. Dimalanta was appointed Medical Librarian on January 5, 1961. She was awarded a China Medical Board Fellowship for Medical Librarianship at the Columbia University in 1958, with the help of then Dean Agerico B.M. Sison. Upon her return in 1959, she was appointed as Associate Medical Librarian. This gave her the opportunity to prepare a workable development plan for the Medical Library with full support from the Administration and China Medical Board. She conscientiously continued the compilation of the Philippine Index Medicus. SEAMIC (Southeast Asian Medical Information Center) acknowledged her contribution to various SEAMIC publications, as editor of Philippine Index Medicus, (1975-1979); as contributor, Directory of Medical Periodicals in Southeast Asia, (1980). She retired on January 1984.
The period from 1953 to 1976 was considered the flourishing years of the development of the Medical Library with the China Medical Board as its leading benefactor. Its assistance between this period included several grants. In addition to its earlier grant of $200,000 used for the construction of the Medical Library and Science Hall, it also included a three-year book donation program worth $15,000; a training fellowship for medical librarianship in the amount of $6,000; and $32,000 for the renovation of the library, a provision for two library assistants for two years and a ten-year subscription to 500 titles of medical journals. A UP counterpart was incorporated in the College of Medicine periodical subscription with an initial fund of P40,000 increased to P110,000 over the years 1962-1980. The CMB grant stopped in 1976.
The Medical Library operated effectively for twenty years until two earthquakes damaged the structure in 1968 and 1970, the damaged building was declared unsafe for occupancy. On March 1974, the Medical Library transferred to three small rooms in the West Laboratory of the Department of Anatomy and stayed there for two years.
In 1975, the Medical Library was designated as the SEAMIC Coordinating Library (SCL) in the country. Southeast Asian Medical Information Center (SEAMIC) is a medical information network based in Tokyo. The aim of SEAMIC was to promote and improve research, technological development and personnel training through the generation and exchange of medical information among member countries. The Medical Library is not only a recipient of its annual Book Donation Program, but also received other donations like equipment, travel research fellowships for the staff and collaborative undertakings in the publication of the Philippine Index Medicus. As part of the Book Donation Program, the Medical Library received books and subscription to medical journals, the annual grant of $2,500 was increased to $7,000 through the years. The program also included free photocopy service which recently became SEAMIC EDDS, electronic document delivery system. SEAMIC assistance covered the period from 1975 to 2003.
In 1976, the University Administration provided appropriation for the construction of a two-storey building in the Bowling site which was completed in the middle of 1977. The Medical Library moved to its new home on June of the same year. The new facility has a seating capacity of 150 seats and shelving capacity to accommodate 60,000 volumes.
In 1984, Mrs. Rosvida R. Rosal was appointed as the third Medical Librarian and concurrent University Librarian of UP Manila. During Mrs. Rosal's term, the Medical Library made tremendous progress particularly in the area of computerization, networking, research publication, collection development and physical facility improvements. Mrs. Rosal was PIM project coordinator and editor of PIM 1980-1986, PIM 1987-1990. Continued in 1990 as the Philippine as the Philippine Index Medicus Abstracts, 1987-1990 published in 1992, PIM Abstracts 1991-1995 (1998), and a Senior editor, PIM Abstracts 1996-2000 (2005). She received various awards as Most Outstanding Alumni by the UP Institute of Library Science in 1990; Most Outstanding REPS (Research Extension and Professional Staff) on June 22, 1995. She received travel grants as WHO and British Council Fellow, four month visit and observation to libraries and documentation centers in US and UK in 1988; as a Ford/Mellon Fellow a two week training on Medicine searching at the National Library of Australia in 1989, and attended other SEAMIC Seminars and Workshops during the years from 1984 to 2000. She was the founding President of the Medical and Health Librarians Association of the Philippines (MAHLAP).
The Dr. Florentino B. Herrera Jr. Medical Library Endowment Fund was approved on June 26, 1986 under the aegis of Dean Alberto G. Romualdez, purposely for the development of the College of Medicine Library. The FBH fund consists of donations from the F.B. Herrera Trust Fund for Medical Education and Research amounting to P1M with equal matching grant from UP for a total of P2M. This amount was used as counterpart fund for the China Medical Board Grant of $100,000; donation from the Development Alternatives Foundation, Inc. in the amount of P1M with equal matching grant from UP or a total of P2M. The fund is being managed by the UP Manila Library Development Board.
The College of Medicine Library was named Dr. Florentino B. Herrera Jr. Medical Library on October 9, 1986, in honor of the former Dean of the College of Medicine and the first Chancellor of UP Manila. The F.B. Herrera Jr. Memorabilia was also turned over to be housed at the Medical Library.
Information technology (IT), and computerization in the Medical Library had its head start when in 1986 Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN) was established. The aim of the network was to provide researchers, policy makers and students with quick access to information past and on-going researches in health and allied health fields. The Medical Library of UP Manila as a primary node representing the academic sector , the Philippine Council for Health and Research and Development (PCHRD) as focal point, representing the research sector and the Department of Health (DOH) representing the service sector as another node.
Computerization made the greatest impact in the Medical Library in the 1990's and has improved library procedures and services. The micro CDS/ISIS software by UNESCO was introduced to developed and repackage other research results to local databases. Furthermore at this time, Chancellor Ernesto O. Domingo approved the acquisition of the first CD-ROM player and subscription to MEDLINE in CD-ROM.
In 1995 the College of Medicine, UP Manila became a member of the Department of Science Technology - Engineering and Science Education Project (DOST-ESEP), a library network system funded by the World Bank. An integrated system TINLIB was installed at the Medical Library to include the University Library. Computerized cataloging was introduced with the conversion of the book catalog into an electronic format, the collection was made available through the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC).
The Electronic Medical Research and Library Database System (EMERALDS '71) is the first electronic facility in the country's medical education system. Initially the project was to house and network the Medline database linking with OVID'S 60 Core Biomedical collection to be accessed online in full text. UPCM Class '71 and Senator Franklin Drillon funded the project with a budget of about P6M. The EMERALDS '71 Computer Room of the Medical Library was inaugurated on October 8, 1997. On October 10, 2000 Mrs. Adawey F. Racal was appointed as Medical Librarian, concurrent as Head, Technical Services, University Library. She was assigned at the Medical Library in 1975 as Assistant Medical Librarian. She was a recipient of travel grants, as a Ford/Mellon Fellow for a Training on Computerized Cataloging at the Universiti Sains, Penang, Malaysia in 1988 and from the Southeast Asian Medical Information Center SEAMIC as Travel Research Fellow in 1991. She is an active member and officer (Treasurer) of Research, Extension, Professional Staff Association (REPSA) UP Manila and was President of Medical amd Health Librarians' Association of the Philippines (MAHLAP) in 1993. Currently, Mrs. Racal is the Project Coordinator and Editor of Philippine Index Medicus 2001-2003 in CD-ROM and on-line.
The PAASCU Accreditation Team during its final visit on September 16-17, 2003 commented the best features of the Medical Library, foremost is the publication of the Philippine Index Medicus and for having automated library services, like cataloging, card production and automated library resources like on-line public access (OPAC), on-line access to e-journals fulltext, electronic document delivery, internet access, e-mail and 24 hour availability of a webcat; Medical Library resources exceeded CHED requirements for the MD Program, continuing support and assistance of the UPCM Alumni for the Medical Library, UP Medical Alumni Society in America (UPMASA) and UPCM Class donors, UPCM Class '71, UPCM Class '61, UPCM Class '60, UPCM Class '52, UPCM Class '43 and the establishment of the F.B. Herrera Jr. Endowment Fund (FBH Trust Fund) Philippine Development Alternative Foundation (PDAF), Eusebio S. Garcia UPCM Class '36 Foundation and the Perpetual Trust Fund UPCM Class '39 and other alumni for their individual donations.
Today, F.B. Herrera Jr. Medical Library is the largest College Library of UP Manila. It has a total collection of 65,304 volumes of books, bound periodicals, special materials collection, archival materials and e-journals and e-books. The Library has strived to develop into a modern library in the process, access/delivery of information and other services i.e. converted the printed catalog into electronic format known as online public access catalog (OPAC); subscribed to electronic biomedical journals in full-text which could be accessed at the EMERALDS; provided internet and email access. The UP Library Modernization Plan of President Francisco Nemenzo involved the conversion of bibliographic records into the new electronic format (from TINLIB to TLS) and the implementation of an automated circulation system, the Library Solution. Henceforth, the Philippine Index Medicus is published in CD-ROM and online.
The existing support for funding is still insufficient to meet the current demands of not only maintaining, and sustaining what the Medical Library has acquired , but also the demands of the ever changing technology and techniques of its application, coupled with the evolving expectations of users. This is one big challenge that the library is facing the book and periodical prices (print and electronic) are on upward spiral while the institutional funding is at a standstill if not diminishing. Development of libraries in the 21st century requires a great deal of time and effort by a dedicated leadership. Moreover, there is an even greater need for people who are willing to share in the making of a great library.
Great things start from small beginnings. The Dr. Florentino B. Herrera Jr. Medical Library perfectly illustrates the modest beginnings of the College of Medicine Library and to what it is now. It is probably the country's finest repository of medical information and is perceived to be the best and most prestigious Medical Library in the country today.
Now rising... University Library and Learning Commons Building
University of the Philippines Manila Libraries
- Main Library (University Library)
- Allied Medical Professions Library
- Arts and Sciences Library
- Dentistry Library
- Florentino B. Herrera Jr., Medical Library
- Nursing Library
- Pharmacy Library
- Public Health Library
- NTTC-HP Library
- School of Health Sciences Library (Palo, Leyte)