Bibliography of Canadian health sciences periodicals 1826 - 1980
The bibliographic study of medical (or health) periodicals in Canada can be traced back to the Bibliography of Canadian Medical Periodicals with Annotations, which was compiled in 1933 by Hugh Ernest MacDermot and published for McGill University by Renouf Publishing in 1934. This useful listing provided a starting point for Charles Roland and Paul Potter who, in the mid-1970s, produced an expanded and updated version; An Annotated bibliography of Canadian medical periodicals 1826-1975. The Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine - Associated Medical Services published this bibliography in 1979. In 2002, with the encouragement of both Dr. Roland and Dr. Potter and the permission of Associated Medical Services, the present compiler began to prepare a revised and updated online edition.
While the initial intention was simply to digitise Roland and Potter's 1979 publication, on closer examination it was clear that revisions and additions were required. Dr. Roland had collected a few corrections and events such as the closure and merger of libraries had rendered the location lists for the titles quite inaccurate. After considerable thought it was decided to eliminate the location feature from the online edition because the free availability of online library catalogues (particularly the Canadian union catalogue, AMICUS), makes finding Canadian locations very much easier and more accurate. The printed edition’s separate index of places of publication has not been reproduced, as most web-browsers allow one to search for words such as “Montreal” or “Vancouver” and find these directly. Some additional names have been added to the index of editors and this has been converted to a dynamic index. In addition to the corrections gathered by Dr. Roland, it soon became apparent, largely thanks to place-of-publication searching in many online library catalogues, that a number of additions could be made to Roland and Potter's original 204 listings for ‘medical’ titles: the initial 2003 online version included over 300 Canadian medical titles.
As established by Roland and Potter, the intention is not to include ephemeral ‘newsletters’ in the listing but, as demonstrated in their work, some of these publications evolve into more substantive journals, so the inclusion (or exclusion) of titles remains rather arbitrary. It should also be noted that although many Provincial and Association nursing publications have "Newsletter" in their titles, they often contain primary material, so a higher percentage of these are listed. The annotations for the medical titles are virtually unchanged from those written by Roland and Potter and the style of all the entries generally follows the style set by them. Titles are in capital letters—a publication with a bilingual title has its first title on line one and its second on line two, also in capitals. This is followed by any sub-title and then the title's publishing history in a standard bibliographic format. When found, ISSNs have been added.
Though librarians, a profession of which I am proud to be a member, pride themselves on clearly describing publications, there is sometimes disagreement in catalogues about exact starting and ending dates, about the links between titles and about places of publication or publisher—in short, the ‘pedigree’ of a title. All the entries have been checked against several sources, and differences of opinion have been carefully examined, often by consulting the actual publication or a digitised version of it. In general, the online catalogues of Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the US National Library of Medicine, and McGill University have been accepted as authoritative, but the following catalogues were also consulted: the Canadian Dental Association, most Canadian medical / dental universities, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, and the OCLC union catalogue, WorldCat. Searching on WorldCat led in turn to additional library catalogues such as those of Harvard University and several non-medical institutions. Some of the online library catalogues consulted made it comparatively easy to search for journals published in Canada (those of McGill University and the US National Library of Medicine being particularly well suited to this task) and it is thanks to this feature that so many 'new' titles have been uncovered.
To give users of the online version a flavour of the original Roland and Potter book, their title pages and preface are reproduced, as are the very useful (but unrevised) chronological tables of Ontario and Quebec medical titles and the list of references.
The original title pages from the Roland and Potter 1979 edition
The original preface from the Roland and Potter 1979 edition
The original chronological table of Ontario medical periodicals
The original chronological table of Quebec medical periodicals
The list of references to works quoted in the annotations
Though MacDermot had included some dental and nursing titles, Roland and Potter had restricted their listing to medical titles and during the initial revision of the medical titles it became clear that, as well as additional medical titles, it would be useful to include titles in nursing and dentistry. Therefore, shortly after the updated medical listing was published online, it was joined by approximately sixty dental titles, and over eighty nursing ones. These were kept as separate A-Z sequences. The compilation of the dental bibliography was assisted by the short list in MacDermot and a listing of Canadian dentistry periodicals that was prepared by D.W. Gullett and appears as Appendix G in his “History of dentistry in Canada” (University of Toronto Press, 1971). Some of the annotations for dental titles and most of the information on dental editors rely heavily on this latter work.
In 2008 it was decided to ‘revise the revision’ and take the opportunity to combine the three former sequences (medical, dental and nursing) into one. Furthermore, following some useful comments from users and colleagues, it was decided to expand the listing to include other areas of ‘health sciences ’. This revised edition includes additional titles from - among other fields - chiropractic, medical librarianship, pharmacy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. At the same time, the decision was made to conclude the bibliography at 1980, though if a title has ceased since then, this fact is included. It is worth noting that the bibliographic control of titles in these other areas of health sciences is often less than perfect; chiropractic titles were particularly hard to trace and authenticate, and several title entries include only minimal additional information.
As Canadiana.org is digitising all Canadian periodicals published up to 1920 (a project due to be completed in 2012), the US National Library of Medicine’s PubMedCentral is digitising several Canadian titles, and several organizations are digitising individual titles, freely available digitised content is now noted in the bibliography. (Other publishers, including the National Research Council Press, are digitising their back-runs, but these are only available to subscribers and are not noted here.)
It is not the compiler’s intention to bring the listing further forward than 1980, though corrections will continue to be made, omissions will be rectified, and the availability of digitised content will be updated annually. As noted above, some of the information in this bibliography may be incorrect, as the source catalogues and bibliographies sometimes differed as to dates and frequency and a choice had to be made between two ‘normally reliable sources’. It is also almost certain that other Canadian health sciences periodicals existed prior to 1981. While every effort has been taken to verify and double-check the information, it is undoubtedly true that the list, which now includes information on over 700 titles, contains both errors of commission and of omission. I take full responsibility for both but will be happy to correct those brought to my attention. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The initial updating of the medical part of the bibliography and putting it onto the web could not have been accomplished without the support of both Dr. Roland and Dr. Potter and the permission of Dr. William E. Seidelman, then President of Associated Medical Services. Assistance with preparing and revising the bibliography was received from many librarians who looked at unique titles and many former and present cataloguers who created the records that form the basis of this work, it could also not have been completed without the technical assistance of my partner Donald Wong - my thanks to all!
David S. Crawford