UW Radiology

NLM Classification & the reorganization

I’ve gotten some questions about how and why we reorganized things in Templeton, so I made a quick video explaining what’s going on. If you’re not a video person, there’s a text-based explanation after the break.

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If you still have questions, drop by on Tuesday or Thursday mornings or email me at barrets at uw.edu.

  • We’ve reorganized Templeton using a system called “NLM Classification.”
  • The NLM is the National Library of Medicine, the most important institution in American medical information, and a classification system is a method for arranging things in a logical sequence.
  • Even though it might seem inconvenient, we’ve decided to reorganize for two main reasons:
    • NLM classification is industry standard for medical libraries, and all the libraries you’ll use in your career will use it. It’s good to learn now.
    • This system isn’t terribly radiologist friendly. While I could design a system that would make perfect sense for you guys, it wouldn’t help you after you left, because it wouldn’t exist anywhere else. It’s better to learn how to use this now, on a small collection, so you’ll be comfortable with it later.
  • A call number looks something like this: “WJ 141 Z18 2004.”
  • Each call number (the combination of letters and numbers you use to determine where a book goes) has two letters that say what its broad subject is, like QS for anatomy or WJ for the genitourinary system, and then some numbers to say what part of that subject it’s concerned with. The NLM has a complete list of the broad subjects, but here are the ones we tend to have books in:
  • This can get confusing, I realize, but the real strength of this type of system is so you can see what we have on any given subject easily.
  • And, to make it easier, you can always look a book up at http://lib.rad.washington.edu