Duke Medical Center Archives Blog

The DUMC Archives is proud to announce the release of a new version of our digital repository, MEDSpace.

While the content of MEDSpace remains the same, the site has been redesigned with a new user interface and functionality to make it easier and faster to use. In addition to being quicker and more user-friendly, the new version also has improved catalog records, as Archives staff updated and corrected information as needed during the process of transferring images and metadata to the new site.

MEDSpace contains thousands of images and publications related to the history of Duke Medicine. Two highlights are Foundations of Excellence...

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Category: News

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Instrument Shop

Duke's Surgical Instrument Shop
Posted On: August 19, 2013 by Jolie Braun

Chances are that you’ve never heard of the Surgical Instrument Shop, although it played an important part in Duke's research and innovation.

In the early days of Duke Hospital, research equipment was not as readily available on the market as it is today, and individuals involved in special research often had to create their own devices. Recognizing the need for a unit that could fabricate surgical and medical instruments on campus, Dr. J. Deryl Hart, the then Chair of the Department of Surgery, pioneered the Surgical Instrument Shop, which opened in 1949.

The Shop worked closely with doctors to create devices based on their ideas and needs. A 1955 article in the Intercom (shown left) estimated that since opening only a six years before, the Shop...

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Category: DUMC History

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Welcome!
Posted On: August 14, 2013 by Jolie Braun

Welcome to the Duke University Medical Center Archives' new blog! This is where we will share stories about the history of the DUMC community, highlight interesting images, artifacts, and documents from our collections, and provide information about our resources, services, news, and events. We’ll be posting regularly, and hope you will check back frequently.

Category: News

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The Medical Center Archives only accepts records that should be kept permanently. Whereas some accounting records should be sent to the Medical Center Archives, many should not. You can determine how long you should keep accounting records by referring to Duke University’s GAP 200.240, Retention Period Of Accounting Documents. According to this policy, “Minimum retention requirements for accounting documents are established as part of an effective internal control program to ensure the University can provide the documents requested by any federal, state and local agencies within the Statutes of Limitations. Other benefits include ensuring preservation of historical accounting documents, optimizing the use of space,...

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Category: Ask The Archives

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Everyone! Students, faculty and staff members, alumni, and the general public all have access to the photographs, papers, oral histories, and memorabilia documenting the history of Duke Medicine. Materials are accessible in the Medical Center Archives reading room, located at 1408-A Christian Avenue, on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is strongly recommended that you contact the Archives at least 24 hours before your visit so that the staff can have materials ready for you when you arrive. The phone number is 919-383-2653, and the email address is dumc.archives@mc.duke.edu. Don’t let the possibility of access restrictions discourage you from contacting the Archives! It is true that some of our collections do have access...

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Category: Ask The Archives

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The boxes that we use to store departmental records are high-quality, but not easy to put together! Each box should have assembly instructions printed on them. When the box is properly assembled, the instructions will be on the bottom of the box. If you have problems interpreting the instructions, please contact us for assistance. We are more than happy to help you! Here are a couple of box assembly hints: 1) You do not need any additional materials to assemble the boxes. If, after assembling the box, it appears that tape is needed for it to stay together, it is not assembled correctly. 2) There are not any printed assembly instructions for the lids. Fear not; assembling the lids is very easy! Simply fold all of the sides up, and then fold the end pieces over. One side of the lid has "...

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Category: Ask The Archives

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Absolutely! Since you are working directly with the materials that you are packing, it’s easy to forget that not everyone can easily figure out what they are, and therefore think that there’s no need to prepare an inventory. It’s obviously correspondence from 1990 to 1991, right? Who needs a list? Unfortunately, the materials often aren’t as easy to identify as you might think, and a lack of an inventory can lead to archivists and researchers misinterpreting and misidentifying your files. This problem is easily prevented by preparing a list by individual folder title (or notebook title, etc.) or groups for each box. The list will be used for retrieving records in the future. Your office should keep a copy and email a copy to Medical Center Archives at time of transfer. Additional...

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Category: Ask The Archives

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The Medical Center Archives purchases acid-free boxes to store departmental records. Please contact the Medical Center Archives (383-2653 or email us) to request boxes. It usually takes two of these boxes to pack one full file drawer. You should fill the boxes to the point that the folders do not slouch, but can still be removed easily. Hanging folders do not fit well in the boxes and should be avoided. The Archives kindly asks that you return any unused boxes. A few tips for box and lid assembly: Follow the instructions printed on the box. You do not need any additional materials (including tape) to assemble the boxes. When assembling the lids, look for the word "IN" punched into one of the sides. This is the side that is meant to face the inside of the box. The lids tend to tear if...

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Category: Ask The Archives

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What does “Archive” mean?
Posted On: February 14, 2012 by Dawne Lucas

Don’t worry; I won’t start quoting definitions from The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I do want to make you aware, however, of what archivists mean when they say the word “archive.” In today’s world of Gmail and online “Archive” buttons, it’s understandable to think that “archive” means “to save something for later, even if it’s just a short amount of time.” My job is “to identify, preserve and make available noncurrent records and papers of enduring value.”1 Noncurrent refers to records that you do not plan to access on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is that the records should be at least three years old, although there are exceptions to this rule. It’s possible that you will need to refer to some files after you have sent them to the Archives, and that’s fine, but don’t send...

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Category: Ask The Archives

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