Doody’s Core Titles

Article Summary #9


AKA Article Summary #9

Doody Core Titles began in 2004, when it’s predecessor, the Brandon/Hill list announced it would be ceasing publication that year.  This meant that a void would need to be filled for the medical library field, in terms of collection development reference.  Discussions of potential options for filling the newly established void into the future, originated at MLA’s 2004 annual meeting.  Many of those in attendance agreed that Doody’s Electronic Journal (DEJ) was a suitable substitute.  This collection development tool encompassed print and software titles, in a database format.  From these initial conversations and the encouragement of MLA members and book vendors, Doody enterprises decided to take on the challenge of creating a replacement for the Brandon/Hill list.

To set the stage, so to speak, the authors of this article selected to summarize the history of the Brandon/Hill list, in order for readers to understand the need and intent of this type of publication.  The original intention of the list was to create a guide for library professionals involved in collection development for their library, including those who were new to the field and had little knowledge or experience.  The original list was published by Brandon in 1965, in the form of an article.  This article listed numerous journal and book titles, which were recommended for medical library collections, it also included suggestions of how libraries could expand their collections through a variety of considerations.  These considerations included, the specialization of medical practices which their institutions offered, as well as reviewing local needs.  Eventually a variety of specialized lists emerged, in order for there to be collection development guides which covered pertained to best practices within specific medical professions.

Once Brandon/Hill ceased, DCT was established to continue the work that the previous list had set out to do, while incorporating new online communities.  In order to successfully provide reputable resources for recommendations, Doody employs expert reviews as books and journals are published.  Each new resource is considered and if it is decided that it should potentially be included DEJ editors create bibliographic content within the database.  Reviews provide information such as, field item pertains to, title, description, purpose, audience, features, and then finally an assessment of the material.  Once these reviews are completed and bibliographic information entered, library selectors are able to complete their own reviews.  The library selectors make their selections and review items based on a rating system, which allows them to give each item one to three stars in the following categories: authoritativeness of the author and/or publisher, scope and coverage of the content, quality of the content, usefulness of the title, and value relative to the cost of the book.

Due to the fact that library selectors are able to evaluate titles provided through the review of the content specialists (DEJ editors), DCT is peer-driven.  This is beneficial, since this means you are working with and trusting the review of those in the field, however there have been questions about how objective the reviewers and selectors are.  The opinions sought after to compile the core list are subjective, although through the rating and evaluation process there are a variety of professionals and experts completing reviews for the items, so ultimately the top resources should be included within the final published list.

As we learn about collection development in class, it is apparent that there are a variety of factors taken into consideration when making selections for collection purchases.  It would be overwhelming if guides, such as the DCT did not exist for professionals to use as a reference.  Although this article highlights speculation that exists regarding the objectivity of the list, I  am confident that through the various filtering and reviewing layers of processes the experts working on these stages provide sound advice on which titles are the most beneficial to their fields.  We must work together, collaboration is key in our field, so this is just another example of how that occurs.  The process laid out in the article, related to DCT, seems logical and I am not sure how else items would be rated or decided upon without expert and peer input.



Shedlock, J., & Walton, L. (2006). Developing a virtual community for health sciences library book selection: Doody’s Core Titles. Journal Of The Medical Library Association, 94(1), 61-65 5p.

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