History of the Bioethics Research Library

The Ethics Library was established at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics in 1973 with funding from the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation to support research projects at the Institute, such as the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics and the NLM-sponsored compilation of the annual Bibliography of Bioethics and its counterpart database, BIOETHICSLINE.

In 1985 this growing information resource was awarded a competitive five year grant by the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health to become the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature (NRCBL), dedicated to collecting and organizing the burgeoning bioethics literature, and providing reference services. The original grant was extended for three years, and eventually converted to an NLM contract that continued through 2009.

A grant from the predecessor of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH) provided for the establishment of the National Information Resource on Ethics and Human Genetics on September 1, 1994. The NHGRI supported this resource until July 31, 2011.

The library continues as the Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University. Its holdings represent the world’s largest collection related to ethical issues in medicine and biomedical research. This collection functions both as a reference library for the public and as an in depth research resource for scholars from the U.S. and abroad.

Timeline of Important Events (1971 – 2010)

 

2010

  • Ninth annual Library Proseminar offered in conjunction with the Kennedy Institute’s 36th Intensive Bioethics Course; 41 participants
  • Presentations done by Doris Goldstein, MLS, MA, Library Director, at the Ethicsweb Documentation Meeting, (European Commission, Rome, April 12); the 3rd International Islamic Bioethics Conference, (Antalya, Turkey, April 13); and the Founders of Bioethics Conference (Edinboro, Pennsylvania, June 3)
  • Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics Database launched
  • Websites for the Bioethics Research Library  and the National Information Resource on Ethics and Human Genetics redesigned
  • Library renamed the Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University

2009

  • Eighth annual Library Proseminar offered in conjunction with the Kennedy Institute’s 35th Intensive Bioethics Course; 49 participants
  • Volume 35 of Bibliography of Bioethics published
  • Qatar National Research Fund awards three-year, $1,050,000 grant to the Bioethics Research Library in partnership with the School of Foreign Service Library in Doha, Qatar to develop information resources on Islamic medical and scientific ethics
  • EthxWeb database surpasses 300,000 records
  • National Network of Libraries of Medicine awards to Martina Darragh, M.L.S., a technology grant for the creation of Web-based tutorials supporting remote users who search the Bioethics Research Library databases: EthxWeb, GenETHX, Bioethics Syllabi, International Bioethics Organizations, and the Bioethics Thesaurus database
  • With the support of UNESCO’s Bioethics Program, libraries in Kenya, Mauritius and Togo become members of the International Bioethics Exchange Project

2008

  • Inauguration of outreach program for Howard University Medical Center’s Course on Professional Ethics; presentation to class of 150 students
  • With UNESCO support, eight more libraries (in four countries) added to the International Bioethics Exchange Project: Gabon, Jamaica, Kenya, and Madagascar
  • With the support of the Book Project at the World Bank Family Network, two libraries in the Sudan added to the International Bioethics Exchange Project
  • Seventh annual Library Proseminar offered in conjunction with the Kennedy Institute’s 34th Intensive Bioethics Course; 61 participants
  • New domain name: http://genethx.georgetown.edu established for the National Information Resource on Ethics and Human Genetics
  • Volume 34 of Bibliography of Bioethics published
  • Bioethics Policy Research Center, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea awards grant to Susan Cartier Poland, J.D. to prepare paper to explain and analyze laws, regulations, and policies relevant to embryonic research and genetic research in the United States

2007

  • Volume 33 of Bibliography of Bioethics published
  • EthxWeb database surpasses 250,000 bibliographic records
  • Pre-Conference Workshop on Bioethics Resources Offered at American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Annual Meeting
  • Sixth annual Library Proseminar offered in conjunction with the Kennedy Institute’s 33rd Intensive Bioethics Course; 84 participants

2006

  • Volume 32 of Bibliography of Bioethics published
  • Syllabus Exchange Database established as a Web database
  • Bioethics Organizations Database established as a Web database

2005

  • Consolidation of NRCBL and Bioethics Information Retrieval Project with awarding of $8.1 million five-year contract with NLM
  • Doris Mueller Goldstein, MLS, MA, Director of Library and Information Services, awarded Georgetown University President’s Medal
  • Five-Year Continuation Award of $2.2 million for National Information Resource on Ethics and Human Genetics by NHGRI
  • Volume 31 of Bibliography of Bioethics published
  • Implementation of Livelink Discovery Server for database applications
  • Contract awarded by the Office for Human Research Protections, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to digitize historic materials related to the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research Library

2004

  • Formal internal and external reviews of the library completed
  • Agreement established with the President’s Council on Bioethics to cooperate to deliver the full text of prior bioethics commission reports via the Internet
  • New Titles in Bioethics (Volume 30) continues as an electronic publication
  • Volume 30 of Bibliography of Bioethics published
  • Subcontract awarded to Library and Information Services to support Center for Genetics Research, Ethics and Law Project, Case Western Reserve University, sponsored by NHGRI

2003

  • Cooperative agreement signed with The Hastings Center (Garrison, New York) authorizing Web display of the full text of its three journals
  • New features added to “ETHX on the Web” and “Genetics and Ethics” databases: (1) citations for book and audiovisual records and (2) abstracts for articles from priority journals. Other new features at the Website: QuickBibs, home pages for four special collections
  • Volume 29 of Bibliography of Bioethics published

2002

  • Web delivery of “ETHX on the Web” and “Genetics and Ethics” databases begins based on OpenText software
  • First Library Proseminar offered at the Intensive Bioethics Course
  • Volume 28 of the redesigned Bibliography of Bioethics published listing 9,553 citations

2001

  • NLM closes Internet Grateful Med service; transition of bioethics data to PubMed and LOCATORplus begins
  • National Bioethics Advisory Commission selects NRCBL to preserve the electronic archive and copies of printed documentation of NBAC’s work

2000

  • International Bioethics Exchange Project initiated

1999

  • Doris Goldstein, MLS, MA, appointed to the Advisory Board of the newly-established German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE), modeled after the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature

1998

  • BIOETHICSLINE added to NLM’s Internet Grateful Med group of databases

1997

  • Prototype “Ethics and Genetics” database developed for the Web with support from University Information Services

1996

  • “Bibliography” series in Ethics and Intellectual Disability Newsletter begins
  • New domain name: http://bioethics.georgetown.edu established, featuring three major projects of Library and Information Services

1994

  • National Information Resource on Ethics & Human Genetics established by a grant from the National Center for Human Genome Research (now the National Human Genome Research Institute)

1993

  • International Directory of Bioethics Organizations published
  • Inauguration of Web page for the NRCBL

1992

  • Shannon Award, National Institutes of Health, received to support library work in genetics and ethics

1991

  • Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal inaugurated; includes Scope Notes as a regular feature

1989

  • Renovation of Healy 101-102 completed; additional $105,000 cost borne by the Kennedy Institute; space dedicated on June 22 by Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., Director, National Library of Medicine

1988

  • Implementation of BRS Software to develop in-house, multi-user databases: ETHX, BOOK, FILM, SYLB, and ORGS

1986

  • Renovation of Healy 201B and 102 begun; $100,000 cost borne by the Kennedy Institute

1985

  • National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature established by NLM grant
  • Toll-free telephone number established for nation-wide reference support: 1-800-MED-ETHX

1984

  • Kennedy Institute assumes publication of Bibliography of Bioethics

1983

  • Max M. and Marjorie B. Kampelman Collection of Jewish Ethics established with a gift from the Kampelmans

1982

  • Bioethics: A Guide to Information Sources published
  • Scope Note Series begins

1979

  • BIOETHICSLINE offered to international subscribers of NLM databases

1978

  • Library joined the CAPCON Network (Washington, DC) and the National Cataloging Cooperative, OCLC (Dublin, OH); book records begin to be added to GEORGE, the University’s online public access catalog

1977

  • BIOETHICSLINE database established by NLM for U.S. distribution

1975

  • First volume of the Bibliography of Bioethics published by Gale Research listing 800 citations
  • First volume of New Titles in Bioethics published by the Ethics Library

1974

  • National Library of Medicine (NLM) grant awarded for the Bioethics Information Retrieval Project

1973

  • Establishment of the Ethics Library with funding from the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation

1971

  • Core Ethics Library: Books and Articles Presently Available at the Kennedy Center for Bioethics compiled by LeRoy Walters

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