3.16 Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

Medical Education

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3.16 Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine provides students with a health sciences library, the resources of an advanced biomedical informatics center, and extensive contemporary collections. An extraordinary rare books and special materials collection is housed in the Center for the History of Medicine. The Library’s website (www.countway.harvard.edu) provides a gateway to Countway’s rich array of programs, services, and resources.

Special features of the Countway include:

  • An extensive collection of online resources;
  • A large, comfortable, quiet reading room -- the reading room will be undergoing renovation in the Fall 2015 term, but will be better than ever in the Spring!
  • Individual study carrels;
  • Group study rooms;
  • Public computers and internet connections, including wireless networking and circulating laptops, e-readers and iPads
  • Scanning of paper to digital formats with delivery via USB drive or e-mail;
  • Electronic and videoconference classrooms for hands-on training;
  • Rare books, special collections and exhibits on the history of medicine; and
  • The Warren Anatomical Museum and a large portrait gallery.

Electronic Access to the Countway and Other Harvard Libraries

The Countway Library website (www.countway.harvard.edu) provides access to biomedical journals, textbooks, databases, and websites that have been selected by expert librarians. Remote access to these resources is available with a Harvard University ID-PIN or HMS eCommons login.

Electronic resources available include:

  • PubMed (MEDLINE) with links to full text articles
  • PsycINFO
  • Science Citation Index
  • AccessMedicine, AccessSurgery, Clinical Key, Stat-Ref and other large ebook collections
  • Dynamed, DxPlain, VisualDx – evidence-based medicine tools
  • Micromedex and Clinical Pharmacology, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, Springer Protocols, and Current Protocols
  • Subject Guides on numerous topics including Clinical Genomics, Dentistry, Surgery, Pediatrics, and Women’s Health (These are listed under Research Guides on the home page.)
  • Mobile resources (Research Guides > All Research Guides > Mobile Resources for Medicine )

HOLLIS Online Catalogue

Books, journals, and other materials owned by the Harvard Libraries, including 45,000 electronic journals, over 200,000 electronic books, and hundreds of databases, can be located in HOLLIS, http://hollis.harvard.edu/, the Harvard online library catalog.

Interlibrary Loan

If Countway does not have an article or book, students may submit a request to our interlibrary loan service at nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.eresource:illiamed. Students using the service for the first time will need to set up an account. To learn more about this service visit www.countway.harvard.edu/library-services/resource-sharing.

Physical Access to the Library

Access to the Countway Library, located at 10 Shattuck Street, requires a Harvard or affiliated hospital ID. Visitors are asked to register at the guard’s desk.

Library hours
Monday – Thursday                              8:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.
Friday                                                     8:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Saturday                                                12:00 noon–8:00 p.m.
Sunday                                                 12:00 noon–11:00 p.m.

For holiday hours, check the Countway website (https://www.countway.harvard.edu) or call 617-432-2636. Reference hours are from Noon - 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Studying at the Countway

Countway offers study space on floors from L2 to 2 The computer classroom on L2 has 18 MACs and PCs loaded with many software applications and is open for study whenever a class is not in session. The large meeting rooms on the fifth floor are available to student groups and can be scheduled through the HMS room scheduling office at 617-432-2020. Group study rooms on floors 2 and L1 are available on a first-come basis.

Classes and Training

Countway librarians teach hands-on workshops, lectures and demonstrations in information management, bioinformatics, database searching, and records management. Online tutorials and customized, on-demand workshops are also available. See the Countway website (https://www.countway.harvard.edu under Classes and Events <more>) for a current schedule and registration. Special tours, focused orientations, and off site training sessions may also be arranged by calling 617-432-2134. Private consultations concerning search strategies and information management can also be scheduled at the number above.

Print Collections

  • Current print journals are shelved in the Russell Reading Room on floor 1.
  • Bound journals are housed on L2. Scanners to convert print to pdf are available on 1, L2 and L1.
  • Current books are shelved on L1.
  • Materials in The Center for the History of Medicine, on L2, can be accessed in the Center’s reading room, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Circulation and Privileges

  • Books circulate for 4 weeks with up to 5 renewals.
  • Renew via the HOLLIS catalogue with a Harvard PIN, by e-mail (circinfo@hms.harvard.edu), or by calling 617 432-2136.
  • Recalls by other library patrons may change the due date of your book, though a minimum borrowing period of 2 weeks remains effective. Notices are sent via e-mail.
  • The course and permanent reserve collection contains core medical textbooks, items selected by faculty, and Board Exam review materials. These may be picked up at the Circulation Desk for in-house use or overnight checkout (available from two hours before closing and due one hour after opening the next day).
  • Library materials awaiting pickup are on the Hold Shelf at the Circulation Desk.
  • Overdue fines are 50 cents per day up to a maximum $28 per item. Failure to respond to a recall request will result in fines of $2 per day. A replacement fee of $120 and a $35 processing fee will be added to the overdue fine if a book is lost. Replacement copies of lost books may be accepted at the discretion of Library staff. A $35 fee will be charged for processing of the replacement copy.

Computer Access

Windows and Mac workstations are located throughout the library and provide access to all of Countway’s web-based resources as well as Microsoft Office software. EndNote, MatLab, SciFinder Scholar, ArcGIS and Photoshop are available on selected computers. Laptops are available from the Circulation Desk for loan while in the library. Several laptops contain special software applications such as STATA, SAS, SPSS, and Area Resource File for statistical analysis and public health research. (See https://www.countway.harvard.edu/menuNavigation/aboutCountway/publicWorkstations.html for details.) The Library is wired for both wireless and Ethernet connectivity throughout the building. A dedicated printer is available for HMS students at computers on the north side of L1; color printing is available on the 2nd floor for 25 cents per page.

Copy/Scan Services

Self-service copy machines are located on floors L1 and 1. Scanners are available on the 1st floor and L2. Crimson Cash (See Section 8.07) from the user’s Harvard ID may be used to pay for the copies or a card can be borrowed from the front desk and you will be charged for the number of copies made.

Countway Center for the History of Medicine and Warren Anatomical Museum

The Countway Center for the History of Medicine contains one of the most renowned historical collections in the health sciences in the world. Virtually all of the great works in the history of medicine can be found here. Particular strengths are in medical incunabula – books printed before 1501, with over 800 volumes. The Center for the History of Medicine's collection of archives and manuscripts is the largest collection of its kind in the United States. The collection includes the personal and professional records of physicians from the medieval and Renaissance periods through the twentieth century.

The Center’s Warren Anatomical Museum began as the 19th-century teaching collection of Dr. John Collins Warren (1778-1856), a founder of Harvard Medical School. The Museum's present collection contains approximately 13,000 items. Selections from the collection, including the well-known skull of Phineas Gage and the tamping iron that shot through it, are on display throughout the library. The Museum is open to the public and welcomes opportunities for educational use of the collection. Student groups are encouraged to schedule tours or consultations by calling 617.432.6196. To learn more about the Warren Anatomical Museum, its policies and holdings see (https://www.countway.harvard.edu/chom).


Last updated on 7/30/15