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Published September 2019 | Version v1.0.0
Conference Poster Open

Medical Archives and History: Local Informal Network Support and Shared Expertise of CAMA


Poster presented at the Health Science Librarians of Illinois (HSLI) annual conference in Champaign, IL on September 12-13, 2019.


Institutional records, photographs, archives, and artifacts, especially at smaller health institutions, do not always receive formal or sustained attention and staffing. Yet the demand for expertise and services in this area often arises. An informal network of colleagues can provide support for both novice and experienced information professionals, who are charged with organizing their institutions archives or answering internal and external medical history questions, often in addition to other duties. One Illinois group that has been trying to serve in this capacity since 2002 has been the Chicago Area Medical Archivists. As an informal, open membership group of archivists, librarians, healthcare professionals, and others interested in Chicago area medical history, CAMA complements HSLI and other organizations. Members work at various professional and clinical specialty associations, academic medical centers, universities, hospitals, and are local historians as well as independent researchers. The group serves as a network to share information, expertise, and resources- through meetings and a mailing list that includes questions, responses, as well as announcements. In recognition of October being American Archives Month, CAMA sponsors an (almost) annual free Fall medical history symposium. At symposia, CAMA members and researchers share findings and interesting facts about individuals, as well as moments in Chicago area medical history, discovered in Chicago area archives and libraries. Symposium host institutions often hold open houses of their archives and special collections.The aims of this poster were to spotlight CAMA as a resource and support network in Illinois, and to share highlights of its activities: shared best practices and information, as well as sample local medical history symposia topics. Summary results of an informal survey of current CAMA list subscribers highlighted responses regarding: priorities in preserving medical institutional memory, misconceptions about medical archives, and issues worthy of attention in evolving Chicago area medical institutions.


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March 31, 2023
March 31, 2023