GENERAL INFORMATION FOR STETTEN FELLOWS
1. THE OFFICE OF NIH HISTORY
Stetten Fellowship headquarters is the Office of NIH History, part of the Office of Intramural Research. In addition to administering the Fellowships, the Office houses extensive resources for historical research, maintains a vast collection of historical artifacts and photographs, and presents periodic historical exhibits.
Historical Databases: The documents, photographs, and artifacts collected by the Office are now catalogued in online databases for easy searching. This is an ongoing project and provides an excellent resource for exploring the history of NIH.
- Search form for documents, photographs, and artifacts
- List of trade catalogs
- List of manuals, operating instructions, and technical bulletins
Fellow Tip: “Be sure and ask the Institutes you work with if they have any materials they would like to donate to the Office of History collections. Don't let them throw out their history!”
History Office: The Office of NIH History has a small reference collection of books and print resources including old NIH telephone directories, most issues of the NIH Almanac, the Scientific Directory/Annual Bibliography, and intramural Annual Reports. Contact the Archivist for details.
- Office of NIH History Website. Includes FAQs, bibliographies, compilations of laws, the complete text of some books, and more.
- Office of NIH History Staff Biographies. The people of the Office of History are a great resource. Don't be afraid to ask for anything you need.
Guidelines: The Office of NIH History has prepared detailed guidelines for gathering historical information in the course of your research. Following these guides helps ensure that you make the most complete record possible, and that your materials conform to Office of History policies.
- Guidelines for Capturing Oral Histories (Word document - 28KB)
- Guidelines for Developing Virtual or Physical Exhibits (Word document - 24KB)
You have access to several library collections, each with its own rules and resources.
- NIH Library in Building 10. The most important library for Fellows, the main NIH Library offers many services in addition to collection access. Among other things, you can:
- Order copies of academic papers online and have them delivered via e-mail as PDF attachments.
- Sign up for automatic delivery of journals and research results.
- Order free photocopies of materials for pick-up or delivery.
- Arrange for interlibrary loans through the Loansome Doc program.
- Search catalog, journals, and databases online.
- Request in-depth literature searches.
- Get translation services.
The Building 10 Library also houses some unique resources for NIH history research, such as archived intramural Annual Reports
- Old PHS publications, at classification RA11
- Bulletin of the Hygienic Laboratory (which becomes the Bulletin of the National Institute of Health in 1930), which is actually a journal but serves the same purpose, from 1900-1951, at RA421.U5
- The NIH collected reprints from 1947-1964 at R108.U46
- Collected reprints for the National Cancer Institute (always different from the rest), 1947-1952 at RC261.U515
- The annual Scientific Directories and Annual Bibliographies 1956-1994, at Z6673.U542 (most also on the reference shelves in the Office of NIH History)
- Online searchable database of intramural reports, beginning in 1998
The Public Health Reports before 1952 are also the journal of record for PHS/Hygienic Laboratory publications in infectious diseases and epidemiology.
Fellow Tip: “Direct delivery for journal articles is a great feature. Set it up right away.”
Fellow Tip: “If you use interlibrary loan, get to know the woman who runs the service in the little room near the information desk.”
Fellow Tip: “If you are going to be using your Institute annual reports, start tracking them early. Some may be missing from the library.”
Fellow Tip: “Renewals can be done online. Find out how to do this and many other things at the Library FAQ, or just call them up. They are very helpful.”
- National Library of Medicine. Located in its own building on campus, the NLM has extensive stacks but does not offer direct access or checkout. Materials must be studied on site, or ordered through the Loansome Doc interlibrary loan process via the Building 10 Library. The NLM also contains a History of Medicine Division (HMD) offering online searches of historical collections. You will need to get a separate NLM library card.
Fellow Tip: “Talk to all the people in the History of Medicine Division about your research. They may know of materials you haven't thought of that could be useful, and some recent collections have not yet been fully catalogued or indexed.”
Fellow Tip: “If you're getting materials from the Main Reading Room, get there early and be prepared to wait!”
- Institute Collections. An individual Institute may have historical records containing many useful items, but they are not always simple to locate or organized for ease of research. Check in the IC Director's files and the files of the Office of Communications. Don't forget, the IC can donate collections to the Office of NIH History for more permanent storage!
Fellow Tip: “If you use Institute Collections, be considerate, and use the file markers whenever you remove an item, file, or book from the shelves.”
3. AREA RESOURCES
Being in the Washington, DC area, you have access to some unusual resources for research.
- Library of Congress. The LOC requires its own Reader Identification Card, and materials must be studied on site. You can also search the catalog online. The LOC does not house a specific NIH collection but does have a great deal of information, such as old posters about disease control, area photographs and maps, manuscripts, etc.
- National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Archives house many records from the past.
- General NIH documents are kept in the Archives II facility in College Park, MD. For access, contact the special archivists; see the Office of History FAQ page for details.
- Records still controlled by a particular Institute at NIH are stored in the Suitland National Records Center. For access, contact the records manager for that Institute. See the list of Records Management Officers.
Fellow Tip: “It's best to contact NARA ahead of time, if you can, to get things pulled for you. Talk to an archivist before you go, to get an orientation on their collection.”
Fellow Tip: “The best way to get to the Archives II is by car. They have free parking, but it fills quickly, so get there early. You can also get there with a combination of Metro and bus, or on the free shuttle from the main Archives in Washington, DC.”
Fellow Tip: “NARA lets you copy documents at various public copy machines, but lines can develop. So if you realize that you will have to copy quite a bit of material, go to NARA first thing Monday morning.”
4. OTHER CONTACTS
- There is a community of NIH Fellows.known as FELCOM, the NIH Fellows Committee. Among other things, FELCOM runs a listserv (electronic mailing list) that Fellows can use to contact each other and find common interests.
- Scientific Interest Groups at NIH cover a wide variety of topics, each with its own website, meetings, and listserv activity.
- In addition to the Office of NIH History, there are Historians at other HHS agencies who may prove to be valuable contacts for research and sharing of resources:
- Food & Drug Administration History Office
- Through the Graduate Partnership Program, you can take graduate-level courses while performing research at NIH. This is useful both for learning and for meeting fellow researchers.
- The Office of NIH History has worked closely with the private company History Associates, which employs many researchers. It may be worthwhile to find out if work is being done on your particular topic.
Fellow Tip: “Take advantage of all the people who are on campus every day. Make appointments to have lunch with them. Find out what they are doing. Being able to say 'I'm a Fellow here at NIH' opens more doors than you can imagine.”