Thank you for this. Dr. Martin Cummings, the retired Director of the
National Library of Medicine, gave a presentation for us which we taped and
produced with his powerpoint. There is much interesting information in his
talk and the slides are wonderful as well from an historical perspective. If
you would like to view this - you will find it on the following link under
History of the National Library of Medicine:

-----Original Message-----
From: Medical Libraries Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Patty Kahn
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 9:08 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: CHAT: J. S. Billings

Today is the anniversary of the death (in 1913) of John Shaw Billings.  He
was a young Civil War surgeon who, after 1865, took charge of the Library of
the Surgeon-General's Office, which he developed into the best medical
library in the world.  He produced the Index-Catalog of the book collection
and began Index Medicus, the first comprehensive index of journal articles.

Billings went on to work in public hygiene and hospital design (Johns
Hopkins University Hospital among others) and planned the New York Public
Library, but is best known for his work in medical bibliography and in
building the great library that became NLM.  I bet he'd love PubMed!

In May, 2004 NLM gave us IndexCat : Index-Catalogue of the Library of the
Surgeon-General's Office, 1880-1961 - .

There's a great quote from Billings - when faced with the daunting task of
cataloging the library, he said "Only begin."   I think of every time I have
to start a huge, horrible project.  Hooray for JSB.


Patricia Kahn, MLS, AHIP
Niles Perkins Health Science Library
Penobscot Bay Medical Center
Six Glen Cove Drive
Rockport ME 04856

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