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Milestones in Media - Some Personal Thoughts

by Linda Watson, currently Director, UVA Health Sciences Library

I began my career as an audiovisual librarian at the National Library of Medicine in 1976 and in my 10 years there, I was fortunate to be involved in many trends that affected educational technologies in the late 70s and early 80s, both at NLM and within the profession (MLA and HeSCA). Following are some of the milestones in AV history that I remember.


NMAC (National Medical Audiovisual Center) in Atlanta: media production, film distribution, workshops in educational technology


Stead, EA. Educational technology for medicine: roles for the Lister Hill Center. J Med Ed 1971 46(7) Part 2. This committee made recommendations to NLM in many areas regarding NLM's responsiblity to collect, catalog, evaluate and share nonprint media resources in a manor comparable to print resources, including using the RML network. It also described NLM's role in biomedical instructional technology, and the role of faculty in using such technology. This report was the "Matheson Report" of its day, and did for NMAC and AVLINE what the Matheson Report did for IAIMS in the early 1980s.


RML Directors AV Committee formed; saw the sharing and distribution of av materials as a major problem. RML AV consultants were early leaders in the field.


AVLINE is conceived (see article by William Cooper - who I met on the AVLINE project in 1978. Little did I know that he would become my husband in 1983!!!)


AVLINE Panel Reviews in Atlanta - 5,500 titles reviewed!

May 1975

AVLINE goes live to select libraries with 300 titles, by January 1976 with 1,000 titles


AVLINE operation (including review) moves to NLM in Bethesda. Linda Watson (then Kudrick) is AVLINE Coordinator. AVs are sent directly to individual reviewers who write critical abstracts. Review process overseen by Association of American Medical Colleges. Linda taught AVLINE/CATLINE searching (with Alice Jacobs) at HeSCA and MLA meetings.


CIP (Cataloging in Production) for AVs devloped and piloted at NLM (Alice Jacobs and Linda Watson) in cooperation with HeSCA.


Member of MLA Audiovisual Standards and Practices Committee; and then active in HeSCA


After consulting with RMLs, NLM (Linda Watson's unit) begins direct interlibrary loan of 1,100 3/4 inch videocassettes, and then decentralizes program by placing satellite collections of about 250 titles in each of the 11 RMLs. In two years, 4,700 loans were provided, 1,300 at NLM and 3,400 in the regions for an estimated total number of 61,000 viewers. RML sites included: Tufts, College of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ, Penn State, Univ of North Carolina, Wright State, Univ of Miami, Univ of Ilinois, Creighton, Oregon, and UCLA. Regional charges ranged from $0 to $11.50/loan. Other impact: "The formal network of health sciences av librarians which existed through HeSCA and MLA was enhanced by the informal network which developed among the Satellite Site Coordinators and NLM AV staff. Relationships also developed between av librarians and ILL librarians in those institutions where print and non-print media were separately managed." (from program report, Watson, 1983)


MLA/HeSCA Joint Committee to Develop Guidelines for Audiovisual Facilities in Health Sciences Libraries at work. Publish Checklist in BMLA 1984 72(4):362-369.


Linda gives a talk at MLA meeting on "Evaluating Media - Rationale and Guidelines". From my conclusions: "You are a critical point in the continuum from av production to a program's ultimate use. You have the purchasing power. I'm suggesting that you use it! Get involved in the av production process at your institution; make yourself a part of the production team. Provide specific detailed feedback to producers whose materials you preview, both positive and negative. Let them know you are aware of what constitutes quality. Don't give up - have confidence that collectively we will be able to affect improvement in the quality of av materials. Media librarians are the point of contact with the ultimate users. We should take full advantage of that position and our expertise to play an important role in improving health sciences education."


LRC opened at NLM; open shelves for current AVLINE collection, 7 av learning carrels, and a single Apple II computer for word-processing by staff!


Editor of MLA News Media News Column


NLM opens av loan program to all AVLINE avs, not just videos

The AV librarians around the country with whom I began my career were a skilled and intrepid group, as we battled indifference to and misunderstanding about our media at our respective institutions. We were not afraid to explore new technologies, and we were the leaders in our institutions as our av services evolved into microcomputer labs. I am fortunate to have had this grounding in our profession.

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