Bibliographical Research

Modern anatomical books are very small in comparison to older and rare anatomical books, because of the need to make space for modern knowledge such as human genetics and biochemistry. This leads to some knowledge to be rediscovered only when reading older non-digitized books. While some rare books are available in a digital format, most are image-based and cannot be searched.


Human anatomy has been considered the basis of medical education, Medicine, and Surgery , and in the early days of the renaissance of Medicine starting with Andreas Vesalius (1543),  the clear depiction of structures as well as a detailed description of them was a must, leading to larger and larger anatomy books with extensive text, examples of which are large texts such as the five-volume French language “Traité d’ Anatomie Humaine”  by Testut & Latarlet, 1928,  or the incredibly large double elephant folio “Anatomia Universalis” by Paolo Mascagni (1833), where each image is over 45 inches tall.

Today, the ever-increasing tendency of medicine studies towards genetics, biochemistry, and specialization has placed an undue burden over the time reserved in medical school for anatomical studies and the so-called “basic medical sciences”, including embryology, histology, physiology, etc. This has reduced the time reserved for anatomical studies from two years in the 1900’s to six months or less, adding in the fact that clinical and pathological vignettes are added to maximize the time of the medical student spent in anatomical lectures and the anatomical dissection laboratories. Actual hands-on dissection has been reduced, or totally eliminated, replaced by prosections, models, and computer-based training

Anatomical texts have followed suit, becoming simpler, less interested in anatomical variations, and easier to be read and memorized. Structures deemed of “lesser importance”, or “that will be studied later” when the graduate specializes, are ignored and almost not mentioned. The reduction in size of the anatomical books for medical students can be clearly seen in the accompanying image. The image shows Testut and Latarjet (1928) and Moore's Anatomy (1992).

In search of the lod and sometimes "lost" knowledge, we offer bibliographical research services, either as a stand-alone service, or part of a feasibility study. Our research team will look for the different bibliographical resources that may be needed, including MEDLINE research, medical library research, and in special cases, the research of books that are old enough to not have been included in the modern digital research services.

This is specially important when reviewing surgical procedures with earliest references only found in medical books rather than medical journals.