Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas from us all at the Medical Library We would like to wish all the Medical Library’s patrons and readers a very happy and relaxing festive period and new year.

The library closes at 12.00 on Wednesday, 24th December and re-opens after the Christmas break at 9.00 on Monday, 5th January. Our festive opening hours can be found here.

We look forward to seeing you all back here to make the most of 2015!

Medical Library Team


BMJ Christmas issue 2014

Every year the British Medical Journal publishes a special Christmas issue with spoof and humorous articles, although the mainstream media sometimes fall for the joke.

The Christmas Issue for 2014 includes:

More light hearted articles from the Christmas edition are available on the BMJ web site (available through Primo). The print copy of the Christmas issue is expected to arrive on 19th December.

The Medical Library Team

Register for free access to the BNF


The online home of the British NationalDSC05704-B Formulary (BNF) has recently moved – you must now re-register at MedicinesComplete to continue using BNF content.

Published jointly by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the BNF provides detailed guidance on the actions and usage of drugs prescribed in the UK; designed for rapid reference, it provides authoritative, impartial, and where available, evidence-based advice on prescribing, dispensing, and administering medicines. All information is validated by a network of clinical experts and reflects current best practice as well as legal and professional guidelines relating to the uses of medicines. The resource includes:

  • Guidance on the drug management of common conditions
  • Details of medicines with special reference to their uses, cautions, contra-indications, side-effects, doses, and relative costs
  • Guidance on prescribing, monitoring, dispensing, and administering medicines

It’s an incredibly useful resource and students are eligible for free access – simply register at, choosing the NHS or Non-Commercial option, then select the top two options (BNF and BNF for Children) and tick both boxes at the bottom of the page.

The Medical Library Team

The NHS Grampian Archives

Nurse holding a child with rickets at the Sick Childrens Hospital, AberdeenThe NHS Grampian Archives comprise the records of hospitals and other health related institutions in the Grampian area from 1739, when the Infirmary at Aberdeen was founded, to the late 20th century.

Most of the records from the 18th and 19th centuries are of hospitals: general and specialist hospitals, cottage hospitals and asylums. These records contain information on the administration of the hospitals and about the people who were patients, staff and contributors to hospital funds. In addition there are records from the three local poorhouses which in 1948 became hospitals in the newly formed NHS.

Material from the 20th century includes both hospital collections and the records of a range of local health organisations such as the National Insurance Committees set up under the 1911 National Health Insurance Act. Also contained in the archives are records of local authority health departments which, prior to 1974, had responsibility for a range of healthcare services including prevention of epidemics, mother and child welfare, and school medical services.

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, WoolmanhillThe archive is housed in the Special Collections Centre, part of the Sir Duncan Rice Library in Old Aberdeen.  If you have any enquiries or wish to consult the records please contact the archivist Miss Fiona R Watson (email, telephone 01224 274912).

The photographs show a nurse holding a child with rickets at the Sick Childrens Hospital, Aberdeen and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary when it was at Woolmanhill. Both are part of the George Washington Wilson Archive.

The Medical Library Team

The Sir Duncan Rice Library goes 24/7

Exciting news for students who like to work through the night! Unfortunately due to the nature of the Medical Library and the Polwarth Building it’s logistically impossible for us to open 24/7 but the Sir Duncan Rice Library will be trialling all-night opening from late November for the duration of the exam period. Hopefully some of our students will find this useful!


Library, Special Collections and Museums are pleased to announce that we will pilot 24 hour opening of The Sir Duncan Rice Library this fall.

The 24 hour opening pilot will extend access to the Library in the period before and during examinations. The Sir Duncan Rice Library will open on Sunday 23rd November and remain open through Thursday evening, 18th December. We are working with colleagues in Estates, Campus Services and other parts of the University to ensure that 24 hour opening is implemented in a safe and secure way, and which takes account of student welfare. During this period access to the Library after 10pm will be by University ID card only.  From 24th November the Hardback Cafe will remain open until 10pm.

The Library will be looking closely at the data gathered during the pilot in order to inform our ongoing review of library opening hours at all library sites.

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Happy Halloween!


Yes, it’s the 31st of October again, the one night of the year when skeletons and cadavers rise from the grave and go for drinks on Belmont Street. Our very own Medical Library skull Horace (pictured above, and borrowable on 3-hour loan by request at the Library’s issue desk) just wanted to wish everyone a happy Halloween. Perhaps you’ll see him out later on.

Of course, in the Medical Library basement we have journals dating all the way back to the 1830s. Many of the discoveries detailed in the pages of those early journals came from dubious sources; in those days if you wanted a skeleton you couldn’t just go to the library and borrow one. In fact, before the Anatomy Act of 1832 the only corpses permitted for medical research were those of prisoners condemned to death. This meant that there weren’t even nearly enough to go around, and so began the grisly but lucrative industry of body snatching, the practice of stealing the dead from graveyards. This culminated in the notorious case of Burke and Hare, who murdered 16 citizens of Edinburgh and sold the corpses of their victims to a local anatomy lecturer! But don’t worry; we can assure you that this is certainly not a policy currently employed by the University of Aberdeen Medical School. We have Horace, and that’s just fine.

Advisory: Phishing attack aimed at Library users


A phishing attack has been identified this morning specifically aimed at library users. This email asks you to log in to a website and “reactivate” your library account. You should ignore this email and delete it immediately. As always – you should never divulge your login details to anyone.

Elaine Shallcross

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