Bascom Palmer

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Work Site: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute / Ann Bates Leach Eye Hospital, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL

The largest eye care and research center in the southeastern United States serving over 250,000 patients and performing approximately 12,000 eye surgeries annually.

The Mary & Edward Norton Library of Ophthalmology is the most comprehensive ophthalmology and optics library in the world. The collection consisted of over 15,000 bound volumes, 250 periodical titles, 101 electronic journal titles, and an extensive multimedia collection.

Constituents served:  The Department of Ophthalmology - Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has approximately 55 full-time clinical faculty members, 26 full-time research faculty members; international fellows in training; military fellows (1 per academic year); 24 ophthalmology fellows, 21 ophthalmology and optometry residents (annually); pharmacists, staff and interns; community physicians; community legal professionals, nursing staff; operating room technicians; patients and patient’s family members. 



  • Website Redesign

  • Content Update

  • SharePoint Intranet Portal (Design/Implementation)

  • Intranet/Portal Content

The ophthalmology library website had not been updated for many years, the content was outdated and the appearance was not uniform with the University's website and departmental webpages. 

  • A large number of department (Ophthalmology) faculty members travelled frequently to lecture and to provide ophthalmology and optics training.

  • Also, most all faculty members used the library during 'off' hours (when library staff was not present) because of their patient loads and training responsibilities during the regular working day. If they had any difficulties (e.g. database access, OPAC use, etc.) there was nowhere online they could find answers as much of that information was not on the public facing library website.

 SOLUTIONS (Summary)

  • Revised all website content and in collaboration with the technology department, updated the website with the new content and more new photographs.

  • Planned and implemented in collaboration with the University technology support department, the SharePoint portal for 24/7 access to documents, instructional materials, library newsletters, and other publications and information.


  • Re-designed the library webpage; conducted in-service training on library internet and intranet sites; created tutorials and wrote documentation content for both digital and print formats.

  • Maintained a searchable electronic database of faculty publications on the portal (updated monthly).

  • Conducted in-service training on library internet and intranet sites; created tutorials and wrote documentation content in both digital and print formats.

  • Instructed fellows, residents, medical students, and faculty in the application of digital and print resources, electronic databases, and research principles and methodologies using instant messaging, e-mail, telephone, or in person.

  • Developed virtual library orientation for new research faculty and fellows. Prior to this service, new faculty and fellows had not been to attend library orientation programs (on-site).

  • Faculty members could now get answers to their most commonly asked questions at any time day or evening from the Intranet portal which provided 24/7 access to databases, brief tutorials on logon protocols (i.e. eZProxy) and easy instructions on how to use the OPAC (Catalog) and identify the location and status on library holdings.

  • New and off-site Residents, Fellows and Faculty were now able to download library access applications and complete them at their convenience making it easier for them to get initial access as well as saving them time.

  • Because the SharePoint portal had all faculty CV/Publications, the faculty assistants were able to do annual faculty member CV updates much quicker because all their publications/bibliographies were in one place. This was also convenient for library staff as well.

  • Access to library floor plans - new residents, fellows, faculty could view floor plans to locate essential areas prior to arriving at the library - especially important if they accessed the library after regular operating hours. The plans indicate locations of computers, Fellows computer room, photocopy room, in-house phones, etc.

  • Provided all materials and library information to faculty and research fellows located in other buildings and satellite facilities.


  • Library Database (Record entry)

  • Library Automation (Implementation/Upgrades)

  • Although the medical school's main medical campus library (and satellite libraries) were fully automated, the ophthalmology library was not. In fact, all library management functions were being conducted manually, including the bookkeeping which was being done in a ledger!

  • Additionally, all the textbooks and some multimedia assets had been assigned barcode numbers and their bibliographic records added to the database. However, most all of these assets had not been physically barcoded nor linked to their database record. Later I discovered that a good amount of the records already entered had been altered or deleted.

  • Because of this, a large portion of the library's collection were not in the OPAC (catalog) thus they were 'invisible' unless they asked us about them.


  • Planned and implemented library automation systems (Innovative Interfaces-Millennium).

  • Bar-coded and attached items to records for 75% of the print and 100% of the non-print collections in less than one year.

  • Converted all library management functions to web based applications (from paper).

  • Added Serials, Acquisitions, and Interlibrary loan modules to system.

  • Upgraded existing OCLC software-platform two versions (major) Cataloging/Classification.


  • Faster retrieval of information on the location and status of all library items.

  • Improved management of physical and financial resources.

  • Ability to produce a variety of administrative reports quickly.


  • Cataloging - Original / Copy (Cataloging classification and taxonomy/metadata assignment are related and are within the realm of information science.)

  • Database Entry - OCLC (Entire Library Collection)

  • Cataloging & Classifications Process Improvements

  • Subject Headings - Updates (All terms not in the National Library of Medicine's database were submitted for entry/assignment)

  • Cataloging and classification records that needed to be entered into the database (OCLC).

  • More than 50% of the library collection were not entered into the nation-wide database OCLC which include the National Library of Medicine and the Library of Congress.

  • Approximately 35-40% of the collection required full level cataloging records.


  • Created original cataloging and authority records (full level cataloging) for more than 50% of acquired resources including rare and historical ophthalmic monographs and serials (1500-1800) in multiple languages (Spanish, German, French, Czech, Russian, Italian) using the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Classification System, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), and The Anglo-American Rules, Second Edition, 2002 Revision (AACR2R) rules.

  • Approximately 35-40% of the (contemporary) records cataloged preceded record creation by the National Library of Medicine. (Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida.)

  • Proactively identified and evaluated process improvements to enhance the quality of cataloging records produced.

  • Regularly provided new ophthalmology and optics terms for inclusion in the NLM classification system and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).


  • Increased collection accuracy and record consistency resulting in significant improvements to collection access and management on campus, nation-wide and world-wide (e.g. interlibrary loan).

  • Once the full cataloging records were entered into the system - there was a significant reduction in 'redundancy' saving time and effort.

  • Because the full cataloging records were in the OCLC database, other ophthalmology and medical school library professionals could focus on more complex cataloging while library assistants would be able to do (easier) copy cataloging.

TRAINING (Regarding all of the above projects)

  • Trained and assisted the Medical School Library’s technical services staff in the implementation and use of software applications including Innovative Interface’s Millennium, OCLC, Ebsco, and Iliad.