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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Health Humanities

This guide is designed to support the growing interdisciplinary field of health humanities and related topics. It includes links to relevant books, scholarly journals, library databases, and other resources.

Primary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary sources are produced by participants or direct observers of an issue, event or time period. These sources may be recorded during the event or later on, by a participant reflecting upon the event. In some cases, it will be difficult to obtain the original source, so you may have to rely on copies (photocopies, microfilm, digital copies). Copies or transcriptions of a primary source still count as a primary source.  

Some examples of primary sources include:

  • Newspapers
  • Speeches
  • Government documents
  • Legal documents
  • Public opinion polls
  • Personal materials, including letters, diaries, interviews, memoirs, autobiographies, and oral histories
  • Images
  • Works of art (novels, plays, paintings, etc.)

To find primary sources in the following databases, you may have to refine your search by date (e.g., by limiting search results to a date range of interest, such as 1800-1850), or limit your results to formats of particular interest (such as newspapers). For further guidance, please consider the points in this LibGuide from Princeton.

Print indexes can help you find older medical articles:

Before online PubMed came into existence, there were print medical journal article indexes. Here is a brief history:

  • In 1879, the Surgeon-General's Office began publishing Index Medicus (1879-1927), and the Index-Catalog of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office (1880-1961) in 1880.
  • In 1916, the American Medical Association began publication of the Quarterly Cumulative Index to Current Literature (1916-1926)
  • In 1927, these two indexes were combined to form the Quarterly Cumulative Index Medicus (1927-1956)
  • In 1941, the National Library of Medicine began publication of the Current List of Medical Literature (1941-1959).

These indexes may be found in print and digital format in the following collections:

  • National Library of Medicine. IndexCat - a database containing citations for all 5 series of the Index-Catalog of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office.
  • Hathi Trust Digital Library - find searchable digital scans of the following indexes:
    • Current List of Medical Literature
    • Index Medicus
    • Quarterly Cumulative Index to Current Medical Literature
  • Print collections at UT Libraries. Search for the following in the library catalog.
    • Quarterly Cumulative Index Medicus
    • Index-Catalog of Library of Surgeon-General's Office

The UT Libraries has historical back issues of several medical journals, including:

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