January 20, 2009
Issue No. 79

Table of Contents

Bassett Collection now on LaneConnex

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by Heidi Heilemann

The entire Bassett collection of anatomical images (1561) is now available via LaneConnex. Type your favorite anatomical term into the LaneConnex search box and Bassett images will populate your results screen. To go directly to the Bassett Collection, point your browser to:

Screenshot of Bassett Collection home page

What You Will See

Each image is part of a quartet which includes the image, a black and white drawing, the original Latin description of the content, and its English translation. The metadata includes transcriptions of the image summaries as well as modernized terminology based on the original terms from Nomina Anatomica (retained in image form). Lane staff enhanced access by assigning Medical Subject Headings and by reviewing MeSH terms semi-automatically generated from the body regions and subregions occurring in the original data.

Dr. Bassett's Collection Began in 1948

These images are not new, but rather the well-known work of Stanford's David Lee Bassett (1913-1966) who earned his MD at Stanford in 1939 and taught anatomy at Stanford and the University of Washington. Early in his career, Dr. Bassett teamed up with William B. Gruber, inventor of the View-Master system of stereoscopic imagery, to collaborate on a seventeen-year project of creating three-dimensional photographic images of human anatomy using innovations in dissection pioneered by Dr. Bassett. Begun in 1948 and not completed until 1962, the original Stereoscopic Atlas of Human Anatomy consisted of 221 View-Master Reels with 1,554 color stereo views of dissections of all body regions. Each stereo view was accompanied by a black and white labeled drawing and explanatory text, and the entire work was assembled into 23 printed volumes grouped into eight sections by body region. Lane Medical Library Special Collections and Archives acquired the original Bassett collection of images from long-time curator, Dr. Robert Chase, earlier this year.

Digital Access to Entire Collection Now Broadly Available

The Bassett collection of images continues to represent some of the most dramatic and revealing medical imagery ever created. Over the years, Stanford has made these individual images available in anatomical textbooks and a myriad of other educational materials. The digital images now on LaneConnex are derived from the Atlas project and were originally scanned by the School of Medicine's SUMMIT group within IRT for the Stanford Media Server. Libraries around the world, including Lane, have copies of the original printed 23-volume anatomical set; but digital access to the entire collection of images, diagrams, descriptions, and annotations has not been broadly available until now. Leveraging the LaneConnex metasearch, students of anatomy can now call up these digital images by keyword in addition to browsing the entire collection by anatomical region.

What's Next

In the coming year, Lane will be doing more promotion of this important new digital version of the Bassett Collection and an exhibit highlighting the original collection of images, including View-Master reels from Lane's collection is planned for 2009.