Cultures of visualization - COMS 410/ Art History 420

Liaison librarian

  • mary.yearl [at] (Email) 514-398-4475 x09847
  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library-use only
  • Catalogue record

Reference Sources (Encyclopedias/Dictionaries/Exhibitions)


  • Grove Art Online Primarily an art reference work, but with articles and information relevant to medical visualization.
  • History of the Body An online illustrated introduction to historical conceptions of various parts of the body from the Classical to early modern period created at Stanford University.
  • Oxford Reference Online This source searches multiple reference books, providing definitions and brief information for terms and people in medicine, history, art and science, amongst other subject areas. This resource can be searched in total or by specific subject areas.
  • Credo Reference Medicine This is also a multisource database that one can search in total or by specific subsets, such as medicine, history or art.


  • Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine. Osler Ref WZ 13 C737 1993.
  • A Dictionary of the History of Medicine. Osler Ref folio WZ 13 S443d 1999
  • The Fabric of the Body: European Traditions of Anatomical Illustrations. Osler folio WZ 348 R645t 1992
  • Medical Book Illustration: a Short History. Osler folio N 8223 T513m 1983

Article Indexes and Databases

History of Medicine

  • History of Science, Technology and Medicine (HSTM) The HSTM database, from the Research Libraries Group, provides access to journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of medicine and allied fields, science and technology.
  • MEDLINE Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) MEDLINE is a major bibliographic index of journal articles covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the pre-clinical sciences going back to 1966, including some historical articles.

General History

  • America: History and Life This contains references to journal articles, book reviews and some dissertations about Canadian and United States history from the earliest times. Its subject coverage is broad and includes medical topics. To search this you need to select "United States and Canadian History" in the drop down search options.
  • Historical Abstracts This contains references to journal articles, book reviews and some dissertations about the history of all parts of the world from 1450, EXCLUDING Canada and the United States. Its subject coverage is broad and includes medical topics. To search this you need to select "World History excluding US and Canada" in the drop down search options.
  • JSTOR JSTOR is a restrospective database containing the full text of over 500 scholarly journals going back to the first volume in a variety of fields, (although the most recent 3 to 5 years are usually not included). One can search the full range of journals, or a specific thematic subset, such as Art and Art History, History, History of Science and Technology, Language and Literature and various sciences. Click here to see a list of journals by subject category. Given the age of JSTOR's content, it is a useful resource for finding both primary and secondary material. Searches can be done on the full text of articles, thus uncovering otherwise elusive material.


  • Art Index and Art Retrospective Art Index contains bibliographic references to a wide variety of material in all aspects of art from 1985 to the present. Art Retrospective indexes material published between 1924 and 1984. One can search multiple databases at the same time. Click on choose databases and select all databases you'd like to search.
  • ARTbibliographies Modern This index has records to journal articles, books, essays, exhibitions and dissertations in numerous branches of modern art. References date back to the late 1960s. Keyword searching is aided by the presence of abstracts for each item.


  • McGill University's WorldCat Library Catalogue contains information on almost all of the printed holdings in the various branches of the McGill Library, as well as electronic, microform and audio-visual material.

    Suggestions for browsing at the Osler Library: look in N to NC: Art section; there are some works here on medical book illustration (N 8223) and artistic anatomy (NC 760); QS: Anatomy; some works analyze representation; TR 600 to 780: Photography, including medical illustration; WZ 17: History of Medicine: Atlases, Historical Works and WZ 348: History of Medicine: Medical Illustration (general). Check both the regular shelves and Folio ones. Works on representation are also classified within other specific subject categories, such as Biography (WZ 100) or Pathology (QZ).
  • Anatomy books A large selection of anatomy books from the 16th to the 19th centuries have been digitized by the Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de Médecine and are freely available, including works by Vesalius, Bourgery, Hunter and Ruysch.

Medical Image Collections

  • Chinese Public Health Posters An exhibition of 20th century posters in the collection of the National Library of Medicine.
  • From Monsters to Modern Medical Miracles An exhibition on the evolution in the conception and illustration of "monsters" in medical literature, created by the National Library of Medicine.
  • Historical Atlases on the Web A searchable and browsable website of illustrations from medical atlases, created by the National Library of Medicine.
  • Image Collections - History of Medicine This is a selective, annotated list of websites of images created by the Osler Library.
  • Images from the History of Medicine There are nearly 60 000 scans of images in this database from the collection of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.
  • Visible Human Project This is the National Library of Medicine's project in which three dimensional images of male and female bodies have been created.
  • Wellcome Images The Wellcome Trust has scans of over 160 000 historical and contemporary images. Search for historical images in advanced mode.


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