Friday, 21 April 2017

Case Note Cataloguing Continues ...

In this week’s blog Project Cataloguing Archivist, Clair, elaborates on LHSA’s newest case note cataloguing project.

As has been mentioned in a recent blog post, I am now working at LHSA through the University Collections Facility (UCF) Rationalisation project. This means I get to take forward the case note cataloguing skills that I have developed from working on our Wellcome Trust funded, Dott and TB projects to help open up other case note collections we hold at LHSA. After a trip to the UCF I was able to see the physical extent of LHSA’s case notes and this gave me a chance to properly scope the potential collections that could really benefit from being catalogued. The choices had already been narrowed down by LHSA Archivist, Louise, according to their size as it is important that within our project timeframe we complete cataloguing of an entire collection, opening it up to item level. This was a difficult choice to make as each potential collection from different time periods and medical specialities were wholly interesting within themselves. However, in the end I chose to work on Sexual Dysfunction case notes from the Gynaecological Out-Patient Department at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (1973-1994) with around 1249 individual patient case notes to catalogue.

Fully re-housed Sexual Dysfunction case notes.

This is the most modern case note collection thus far to undergo cataloguing at LHSA but we are able to adapt our now well established case note cataloguing methodology to this different medical specialism. The methodology provides a template that allows us to capture a high level of detail from each individual patient record but also enables search functionality through the whole collection. It is flexible and therefore can be adapted to suit the specific characteristics of different medical specialisms. For example, I have decided to catalogue the type of medical treatments that were provided at the Sexual Dysfunction clinic in more detail than can be found in other case note catalogues. This is because the types of treatment were extensive and could be quite varied, from a course of sexual therapy to various urogenital surgical procedures. The Sexual Dysfunction case notes are also particularly interesting because the medical conditions of many patients are often linked to other physiological conditions or reflect on their social circumstances.

Of course, as with all other case note cataloguing projects we catalogue with the highest levels of confidentiality and patient records are closed according to appropriate dates under the Data Protection Act and Scottish Government guidelines on health information of deceased patients. However non-confidential information from the case notes will eventually be able to be accessed through an online redacted catalogue and provide a new way into another medical speciality.

Thoracic-Cardiac Surgery case notes before re-housing.
The project started in February and will run until July. Within this timeframe, we will have a lot of work to do but thankfully come next week I will be joined by our latest LHSA Intern for eight weeks, who will also be case note cataloguing. The internship aims to provide a recent archives graduate with experience in developing skills in cataloguing in the digital age and basic archival rehousing. Specifically, they will be cataloguing Thoracic – Cardiac Surgery case notes (1951-1958) that came from Dr Andrew Logan’s Thoracic Unit at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Unusually from our pervious case note cataloguing projects, which have always been beautifully rehoused for us before we begin cataloguing, this collections is in its original state. Therefore our Intern will be getting their hands dirty but will learn some important techniques about collection re-housing. Look forward to hearing more about our Intern and the work they will be doing in future blog posts!

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