- Education for Medical Librarians
- No.10, p.19-36
From the old days, a librarian has been expected to have some knowledge of the subject his library aimes to cover, and of one or two foreign languages, besides his knowledge of library science.
It is not quite unusual today for someone with some natural science background and library science education to seek a job at a medical library. However, it would be yet an exceptional case, if a medical doctor becomes a professional librarian. Accordingly, a course of elementary knowledge in medical science and its terminology is necessary for education of medical librarians.
About 60 per cent of the books and journals in medical libraries in Japan are in foreign languages. And English is predominant as an international language in the medical science fields.
Besides the knowledge of general library science a medical librarian is expected to have additional knowledge of medical library administration and of medical bibliography.
Because of the development of MEDLARS, medical libraries in the United States became more active in literature search and other information services. And the Knowledge relating to these activities is getting to be another necessary requirement for medical librarians.
In Japan, a nation wide network of interlibrary loan service among medical libraries has been well established by the effort of the Japan Medical Library Association. However, but when it comes to information service, even though the International Medical Information Center, Inc. (IMIC) is handling more than 700 manual search requests a year, and the Japan Information Center for Science and Technology (JICST) began its service as a MEDLARS search center for this country from June 1972, no systematic (nation wide) service exists.
Computer applications in various medical information activities are being developed rapidly, but the Japanese medical librarians are left behind of this development. In the United States, as is it was shown in the effort of the Curriculum Committee of the Special Interest Group/Education for Information Science of the American Society for Information Science in determining the core curriculum of education for librarians and information specialists, the need for more advanced information services which require the knowledge of behavior science, computer science, system theory, mathematics, linguistics and traditional library and information science is fully realized.
The IMIC is providing the scientists and other workers in the field of health science with various information services, such as retrospective and current awareness literature search, translation, indexing, abstracting and other similar activities. The core of the knowledge needed for the staff of the IMIC are elementary knowledge of health science and its terminology, and English, in addition to the basic theory of library and information science. The skill and knowledge of literature search technology is also required for the people who work at the various sections of the Literature Information Service Division of the IMIC.
Among other knowledge and skills considered necessary for the Center’s staff, elementary of system theory and of computer science are regarded as more important ones.
At the moment, in Japan, no library school is teaching any special course for medical librarians, but the course is necessary if medical libraries are expected to serve their clients satisfactorily in the new,field of information service.
In,the United States, in 1968, there were already 17 library schools offering some specialized courses for education of medical librarians. These courses can be classified into three groups; those designed to provide a general introduction to medical librarianship, those devoted primarily to medical bibliography, and those developed to provide instruction in depth in specialized aspects of medical librarianship.
The School of Library and Information Science of Keio University at the moment does not provide any specialized course for education of medical librarians. When we think about the fact that more than one fifth of their graduates work at medical libraries, it would be desirable for the school to establish such courses for medical librarians as those presently given by some of the American library schools.