Selection criteria: Support the curriculum 

In today’s sophisticated information technology age, there are countless educational resources in the fields of health and medicine. So how does the OUM Library choose what to include in its collection?

“The number one focus is to support our curriculum. This is why we invest in ClinicalKey and ClinicalKey Student,” says Katie Sullivan, OUM Associate Librarian. ClinicalKey Student is where the bulk of OUM textbooks are accessed and ClinicalKey provides supplemental research support and point-of-care information.

So, when students or faculty request a textbook or resource that is not currently available at OUM, what criteria is used to decide if it is a worthy addition? The library staff looks at 1) whether it is a standard medical education text/resource, 2) its cost, 3) accessibility, 4) how many users may access it at the same time, and 5) if there are other resources that could serve this same informational need.

Seeking the “green light”

For example, the library added Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking because it is a standard medical school text, has many useful video clips not available from other resources, it can support multiple concurrent users, and its student benefits warranted the cost.

In comparison, a common student request is to add a subscription to UpToDate*. But, unlike Bates, it is not in line with the library’s primary focus to support the University’s curriculum.  According to both library staff and faculty leaders, UpToDate is typically under the assumption that the audience already has a good understanding of the basics, so its time is spent discussing new information – not a sound choice for students who still need to learn comprehensive material.

The library staff regularly researches and reevaluates its resources, including those recommended by students and faculty. Items which get the “green light” are added to the University collection.

*UpToDate is an evidence-based point-of-care medical resource accessed by physicians and other healthcare providers.

(November 2021)