Teaching Resources: The Department of Veterinary Biosciences Pathology Library

By Jonathan Berry, Educational Resource Coordinator

The pathology library in Goss Lab has recently been remodeled as part of a larger project. As the library has a new look, it seems appropriate to review the materials and services the library offers. Many of these materials have a central role in teaching and the courses we offer. Below we will review the materials and services the library offers, as well as the procedures to quickly obtain them. I encourage anyone to stop by the library or contact me to discuss the library further. Relevant contact information is at the end of this column.

A variety of materials are available in the pathology library, including slides from cases dating back several decades. Slides can be borrowed for four weeks. Pathology reports for surgical biopsies and necropsies are also available. Since only copies of reports are released from the library, these do not need to be returned.

In addition to slides from past cases, study sets from various VBS courses make excellent reference and teaching material. While these sets are maintained by individual faculty members, they can often be made available for others in the department.

The library also maintains a collection of photographic slides representing normal and abnormal tissue. The collection of digital images is growing and can often provide a quick solution for both PowerPoint presentations and printed material.

In addition to photos taken at OSU, the Noah's Arkive (University of Georgia) collection of photos is available. This searchable archive is available in the library, and for many users, on the college network as well. Please be sure to read the license agreement or stop by the library before using these for more than personal use.

Completing the library's collection are the AFIP (Armed Forces Institute of Pathology) sets and various journals. AFIP sets (slides and printed material) are an excellent resource for reviewing unusual and interesting cases while reading the comments of both the contributing pathologist and the comments of the conference participants. Journals include Veterinary Pathology and Toxicologic Pathology. Both AFIP sets and journals are signed-out using sheets near these materials. All other materials are tracked by a library database.

Several databases extend the library's physical collection by providing more access to information and increased search capability. Cases from mid-2001 and later are available online. These not only include the full-text report, but for some cases digital photos as well. This database is accessible on the college-wide network. A searchable database for cases back to 1988 is also in use. This will soon be available on the network as well. For specific instructions on accessing and using these database, please contact me.

The uses of these materials are limited by your imagination, but one typical search is to locate example cases of normal or non-normal tissue. Searches for unusual cases are also helpful for teaching purposes. Digital images are also useful for teaching or presentation purposes. The library can assist you in finding these images and also offer some assistance and technical recommendations for their use.

The library also provides a few other services:

  • While the library does not store the blocks of tissue from previous cases, we can assist you in ordering these blocks, ordering recuts and requesting special stains.
  • If you have any questions regarding applied pathology procedures, or the biopsy or necropsy process, please contact me.
  • I am also the designated contact person for the VBS Web site. If you would like to make any changes, or a have a question about our content, please let me know.

The pathology library is undergoing the same changes as all other libraries. As database and network technology evolves, the role and structure of the library evolves. All libraries are being redefined as information sources that are increasing electronic and computerized. Our library reflects these changes through our growing databases. Over the next year, continued changes and expansions will be made to these databases. The library is also looking to the future, at new database software and the long-term plans for the systems in use at the VMTH. However, the goal remains the same: to share information quickly, accurately and completely.

As the library's collection and capabilities expand, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Our users represent clients, students, staff and faculty at OSU and beyond. If you have any ideas on how these groups may be better served, I would enjoy discussing them with you.

Pathology library contact information:

Veterinary Pathology Library page