As part of the support provided by the health publications, production and dissemination programme to health and medical libraries in the Region, a list of basic sources in English for a medical faculty library was developed to assist libraries to cost effectively identify, select and acquire all types of information product. The selection of up-to-date and relevent information products for health science libraries can be a difficult task and libraries of the Region are facing a number of challenges, including:
understaffing and a lack of human resources to identify, select and acquire library materials
lack of or little access to systems and tools for selection of materials and acquisitions as databases and bibliographic sources are not made readily available or easily accessible
lack of established criteria for selection of materials and collection development
small budgets for the development of collections.
The list has been developed based on searches of publishers' catalogues, publications, databases of specialized materials, book reviews and announcements on information products.
In scope, the list has expanded way beyond the original concept of a medical faculty library. The strategy is now focused on items generally related to health development within the setting of a developing country. Hence, provision has been made for the medical faculty at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The list also provides a sizable number of titles related to faculties of pharmacy, dentistry and nursing. Focus has also been made on the needs of public health administrators, as well as various departments of ministries of health, including central laboratories. Current hot issues, such as the environment and health care strategies, are emphasized. Items highly oriented to clinical and research aspects have generally been excluded. Hence, highly specialized institutions would have to seek other sources for the development of their either printed or online collections.