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INTRODUCTION TO THE MACKIE FAMILY HISTORY OF NEUROSCIENCE COLLECTION

The Mackie Family History of Neuroscience Collection is an outstanding addition to Libraries and Cultural Resources and is found in the History of Medicine room in the Health Sciences Library, although some volumes for conservation reasons, reside in Special Collections at the Taylor Family Digital Library. This collection of nearly 2500 books and journal articles spans over 350 years in the development of neuroscience and is of national and international significance. The earliest volume is Jean Fernel’s  De Abditis Rerum Causis Libri Duo. Editio postrema, published in 1560 by Andream Wechel, Paris.  Other highlights include Rene Descartes’s classic 1662 work, De Homine, and the rare first neurological text, Cerebri Anatome, published in 1662, written by Thomas Willis, the “Father of Neurology” and illustrated by Christopher Wren.

This collection complements education programs in neuroscience, history of medicine, and related disciplines, strongly supports the research enterprise at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and heightens the status of the University of Calgary as an international centre for neuroscience research.

In addition to the unique experience offered in working with the books themselves, many of which are rare and beautifully illustrated, much of the collection will be digitized providing virtual access independent of physical location. Digitization will allow the materials to be explored, analysed and presented by researchers in novel and unique ways. The richness of the content will provide new areas of cross-disciplinary research, demonstrating how ideas are developed and communicated, how scientific ideas are accepted and rejected, the development of scientific thought over theological approaches, the great diversity of scientific enquiry, the role of patrons in scientific discovery, as well as links to current Hotchkiss Brain Institute research.

The Taylor Family Digital Library is an innovative centre for research and learning with leading technology designed to shape the future of learning for new generations of scholars. The Mackie Family History of Neuroscience Collection provides a marvellous opportunity for Libraries and Cultural Resources and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute to lead the way in showing how this vision can be realized.