Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library History: Part Three
On October 4, 1971 the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library was dedicated, bringing health sciences library services to a permanent home at the University of Utah. From the beginning, we have been known for pioneering new ideas, new technologies, and innovative partnerships. This exhibition series will showcase our history, from the first health sciences library collection in 1908 to the present-day.
Part Three: 1980’s
In 1970, the Eccles Health Sciences Library was awarded
select depository status under Title 44 of the United States
Code, allowing the creation of a printed catalog of
government documents for the use of reference staff and
patrons. Two grants later, including one from the National
Library of Medicine, and that local catalog turned into
MEDOC: A Computerized Index to U.S. Government
Documents in the Medical and Health Sciences. MEDOC
was published by the library from 1975 to 1993.
MEDOC represented the first use of computing at the Health
Sciences Library and was sustained by means of subscription
to medical libraries and research institutions worldwide. This
emergence of local and regional microcomputer networks, of
shared library databases and resources, became first steps
toward a lasting penetration of government information into
the medical setting.
[Image of EHSL U.S. Government Documents collection stacks.
Reference: Florance, V. (1985). Government documents in
medical libraries. Government Publications Review., 12(5),
Hope Fox Eccles Clinical Library
The Hope Fox Eccles Clinical Library opened April 4th,
1983 as a 24-hour branch library of the Eccles Library
under the leadership of Priscilla M. Mayden, Library
Director. Initially located on the fourth floor of the
University Hospital, the Hope Fox Eccles Clinical Library
is now adjacent to the University Hospital main lobby.
The Clinical Library was established as a gift of the
Spencer S. Eccles Family.
Today the Clinical Library continues to offer patients
and visitors a place to find health information and
research assistance in a welcoming and comfortable
environment. The library offers online resources, and a
medical librarian to help patients and visitors better
understand health issues.
[Image above: Deseret News Article. July 17, 1983]
The empowerment of self-education, and knowing that you have access to reliable health information, is a huge asset.”
— Hope Fox Eccles Health Library, George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation Report.
In May of 1983, ten Apple IIe microcomputers,
the predecessor of the Apple Macintosh,
were installed in the Medical Services Department
for classroom support and public use. These were
situated in the first computer lab on campus that
was open for students and faculty.
[Image used with permission, © Giacomo Vernoni]
InfoFair was an annual computer and information event
held at the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library
starting in 1983. InfoFair featured exhibits, seminars and
demonstrations on computer services and resources
available in the library and on the network.
The event was held in response to inquiries about using
a home or office microcomputer to access the MEDLINE
database, the National Library of Medicine’s premier
bibliographic database since 1964.
For more information about InfoFair, visit the digital
In 1984 the Integrated Academic Information Management
System (IAIMS) was initiated by the U.S. National Library of
Medicine and adopted by EHSL in order to prepare a long range
strategic plan for the development and management of
information resources throughout the health sciences campus.
“IAIMS was a vision that totally transformed this library […] it
saw that you could apply the technology to major challenges
like library systems, clinical information systems, and research;
and that the model should be an integrated model, where you
could move information across boundaries.”
–Wayne J. Peay, Librarian Emeritus at EHSL and Library
Director from 1984-2007.
In 1985, a project launched called the Utah Integrated Academic
Information Management Systems Program. This program
tested the concept of IAIMS management at the University of
Utah Health Sciences, and involved the publication of a monthly
newsletter updating the health sciences campus on the latest
news and events.
Wayne J. Peay, MLS, FMLA, FACMI, is known throughout the
health sciences information profession as an innovator and
change agent, particularly in the early adoption and use of
technology. He served as head of several departments at the
Eccles Health Sciences Library, including Computer and Media
Services as well as Technical Services.
In 1984, the first library director, Priscilla M. Mayden, retired.
Wayne J. Peay was named the new director of the Eccles Health
Sciences Library. For the next twenty three years he successfully
implemented technology in higher education and libraries, winning
the contract for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine for
Utah in 2001 and successfully building and administrating the
Health Sciences Education Building in 2005.
I think librarianship has a bright future if it remembers what it is. We are in a position where we facilitate new knowledge. The acquisition of new knowledge, the discovery of new knowledge. We are part of that. As long as we continue to develop the skills that make that happen, libraries will be in the midst, we will succeed. We will continue to make a great contribution.”
—Wayne J. Peay
- InfoNet began as a computer based
networking project in 1985. This was a
cooperative endeavor between the
Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences
Library and the Utah Health Sciences
Funded by both the Regional Medical
Library Program and the National Library
of Medicine, InfoNet was an interlibrary loan
program designed to link electronically the
9 participating members located throughout
the state. There were four components:
electronic mail, electronic bulletin board, ILL
and reference and online services.
The interlibrary loan portion was based on
PHILSOM and the regional version of
OCTANET. Both the Eccles Library journal
list and UHSLC union list were merged.
Modems were distributed to those who had
microcomputers. The program was a valuable
first step in bringing equal access to health
information for library users throughout
Slice of Life
Slice of Life was created by Suzanne S. Stensaas, PhD, in
1986 as a non-profit project with the primary purpose of
encouraging the development and sharing of educational
multimedia applications within health sciences and medical
The project began when a laser-produced videodisc was
created containing 12,839 images from combined visual
resources of University of Utah Health Sciences Departments.
Then, in 1988 the first edition of HyperBrain, an Apple Mac
computer application used in conjunction with the Slice of
Life videodisc, was produced.
Designed to be used by medical students at multiple stages
in their neurosciences training, Hyperbrain and Slice of Life
became “one-stop resources” for educators and students
alike to access and review high quality images related to the
health sciences. The videodiscs were made available for
purchase, and numerous copies of the first edition were
accessible at the Eccles Health Sciences Library.
Utah Preceptorship Program
In 1986 the Utah Preceptorship Program provided portable
microcomputers to medical students during their preceptorships
throughout the state. They were used for communication,
management of patients, library services and preparation of
OCLC LS/2000 integrated library system was profiled and installed
at Eccles Health Sciences Library in 1986.
All journals were input by hand over the summer of 1986. All users
were input individually by hand as were Open and Closed Reserve
collections. “Shelf” statistics could also be collected showing
material used in house.
The card catalog was removed from the library in December 1986.
The Priscilla M. Mayden Award was established and presented to Randolph A. Miller as part of InfoFair 1987 by Dr. Donald A. B. Lindberg, Director of the National Library of Medicine. Priscilla M. Mayden came to the University as the Medical Sciences Librarian and Director of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, 1966-1984.