Studies in the use of medical literature have been mainly confined to current or near-current publications. This paper reports a survey conducted on retrieval of material from a remote storage area. Out of a total of 45,000 volumes, some 2,500 monographs and 3,500 bound journals were selected for storage on the criteria of little use or out-dated content.
In a three-year period, only 20 monograph retrievals were required, with no particular pattern of interest being evident. Some 175 journal retrievals were required, however, covering a wide period of time and showing surprising interest in surgery and ophthalmology.
Experience in remote storage suggests that surgery and ophthalmology journals should be kept more readily available, as should also basic items like British Medical Journal, Lancet, etc., while some items should be relocated in nearby stacks. Criteria for selection for storage are being re-examined.