Did someone already write a history of this topic? Starting your research in PubMed can help identify some landmark articles and historical review articles, and point you to some key citations to seek out elsewhere.
The results you'll find in PubMed are not quite the same as digitized historical books or archival materials, like what is in Historical Collections & Archives. But they are indeed primary historical sources – the original articles in which the findings were published.
Start with a broad search for a topic. There are several ways you can try; each may offer a slightly different (though overlapping) range of results:
Once you've identified a range of promising articles from your search, it's time to review their citations to find additional, likely older, references to seek out:
Some of these articles may be available in a major database, particularly if they are from the mid-twentieth century or more recent. If you start from PubMed (logged in with your OHSU credentials), you will find full-text articles via the Find @ OHSU button.
For older items, it never hurts to start with Google for a citation. But, with a notoriously unreliable algorithm, if you're not finding results, you may wish to search directly within one of the bigger digital libraries.
Excellent sites for locating digitized versions of full-text historical journals, books and other sources (particularly 1928 and earlier for copyright reasons):
You will, at some point, likely run across citations written in languages other than English without published translations available. If it happens to be a language in which you do not have reading proficiency, there are some possible workarounds.
Find English-language commentaries on the original article:
Find private translations of original works:
Historical Collections & Archives staff are very experienced in tracing historical sources and helping to locate materials. It's our job! Reach out for help anytime you get stuck.
Submit a ticket to reach the first available staff member.
To identify historical collections and books to use in your research, you can search our collections online:
Historical Collections & Archives isn’t just rare books and old paper materials. We also have digital materials at digitalcollections.ohsu.edu. Highlights include:
For more on HC&A's digital collections at OHSU, watch the video below.
Find digitized, full-text historical materials
Medical Heritage Library
View digitized, open access resources in this collaborative library in the history of healthcare and the health sciences
National Library of Medicine Digital Collections
Access online images from the historical collections of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Images include fine art, photographs, engravings, and posters that illustrate the social and historical aspects of medicine dating from the 15th to 21st century.
New York Academy of Medicine Digital Collections
Access NYAM's historical collection on the history of medicine and public health, including rare books, manuscripts, pharmaceutical trade cards, and more.
Find thousands of freely licensed digital books, artworks, photos and images of historical library materials and museum objects from the Wellcome Collection.
Duke History of Medicine Artifacts Digital Repository
View images of medical artifacts such as replicas of Roman surgical tools, manikins used to teach anatomy, and obstetrical tools. Images are in the public domain.
Learn background and context for selected historical topics in health sciences
Search across thousands of collection guides (also known as finding aids) from many institutions at once
Get an engaging, broad overview of selected topics in the history of health sciences