Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Take a look at this!

The National Library of Scotland’s web feature The Medical History of British India has been updated with a further 130 medical reports from the India Papers collection. These rare and exciting documents cover c.1850-1950 and are available online free of charge. They include reports on epidemics, public and army health, drugs and medicines, plus the workings of medical colleges, laboratories and lock hospitals.

Users can search and browse by keyword or by facets such as people, places, year and subject. Users can also choose to confine searches to individual chapters or expand to volume or collection level. The option of searching book content can find names of people or more obscure diseases. Transcriptions of pages are available, together with jpegs and pdfs which can be downloaded. Users can share and bookmark pages via Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Delicious.

Detailed maps, charts and extensive tables show regional histories of disease and the role of government as well as providing an insight into the development of western medicine in a colonial context. During the last decade there has been a lively interest in colonial medicine; this online resource is aimed at medical, social, military and colonial historians, historians of South Asia and also genealogists.

I’m thrilled to say that this is not the end, as in the coming years we’ll be adding British Raj reports concerning Veterinary medicine, Vaccination and Lunatic Asylums.

I’d like to thank many of my National Library of Scotland colleagues, particularly the Digital Library staff, for making this possible. We are also most grateful to the Wellcome Trust for their generous funding.

You can also find the digitised India Papers in the National Library of Scotland's Digital Archive.

(photo credit: Wellcome Images)