SUNY Biomedical Communication Network

Cover Image:
SUNY Biomedical Communication Network
IBM 2402 Magnetic Tape Unit, SUNY BCN at Upstate Medical Center Health Science Library - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
1968 - 1973

Historical Context

The SUNY Biomedical Communication Network (BCN) was the first online bibliographic network in the world for accessing medical literature. Operating from 1968-1977, the network also experimented with access to the shared cataloging of monographs as well as serials records. The BCN was hosted in the Health Sciences Library at what was then called Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. Irwin Pizer (1934-1991), as Director of the Health Sciences Library, was also the Director of the BCN. There were nine original medical libraries in the network. Over the years membership grew to 32 institutions. For a number of reasons, the project began to suffer difficulties. In response, some of the leadership staff of BCN founded Bibliographic Retrieval Services, Inc. (BRS), a commercial vendor in Latham, NY. BRS was eventually purchased by OVID Technologies, a Walters-Kluwer Company.

Scope of Collection

The collection includes photographs of network mainframe computers, terminals, and other equipment. Other views include: BCN staff, Upstate faculty and staff, network advisory committees. There are documents, directories, and news clippings which describe the SUNY BCN in greater detail.