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A Guide to Medical Transcription Books and Resources

Medical transcriptions are medical language specialists. The bulk of the transcription work in this country is performed by home based professionals. As statutory or contract employees or subcontractors, it is generally up to the home based professional to develop and maintain their own library of professional industry resources. While there are a lot of options available, there are certain medical transcription books that should be considered mandatory for any home based MT professional.

A Basic home library should include at a minimum:

1. A Standard English language Dictionary – Try Webster’s.
2. A Comprehensive Medical Dictionary – Try Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary or Stedman’s Medical Dictionary
3. A Good Drug Reference Book – Try Stedman’s Quick Look Drug Book and/or American Drug Index by Facts and Comparisons
4. A Good Medical Abbreviations Book – Try Medical Abbreviations: 30000 Conveniences at the Expense of Communication and Safety by Neil M. Davis
5. A Good General Medical Word Book: Try Sloane’s Medical Word Book
6. A Solid Grammar and Style Guide – Try the Book of Style (AHDI), or the Chicago Book of Style.

In addition to general purpose resources most MT’s will rely time to time on specialty resources. Every medical specialty has its own peculiar terminology and vocabulary. Radiologists will use an entirely different set of terms to describe their findings compared to a internal medicine specialists, for example. Stedmans offers an entire library of medical word books. These books average $40 a piece and are continually being revised and updated. You would be advised to hold off on purchasing specific specialty word books until you have a need for them. If you are beginning a new transcription specialty account or expect to be assigned to a specialty work group then a good medical word book is not only invaluable, but should be considered essential. It will add immeasurably to your productivity as a transcriptionist.

Titles from the Stedmans library of Medical Word Books include:

- Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Words
- Dermatology & Immunology Words
- Emergency Medicine Words
- Medical & Surgical Equipment Words
- Neurology & Neurosurgery Words, 4th Edition
- OB-GYN & Pediatric Words, 5th Edition
- Endocrinology Words
- GI & GU Words
- Oncology Words
- Ophthalmology Words
- Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Words
- Orthopedic and Rehab Words
- Plastic Surgery, ENT, & Dentistry Words, 5th Edition
- Internal Medicine Words
- Radiology Words
- Surgery Words
- Organisms and Infectious Diseases Words
- Alternative and Complementary Medicine Words
- Psychiatric Words

As a medical transcription practitioner, you will be continually adding books and resources to your personal library over the years. Be aware that many books are available on CD and increasingly are available online. The ability to search electronically can add significantly to your transcription production.

American Libraries and RFID Tags

RFID Tags seem to be perfectly suited for library inventory control. Many bookstores are planning on having them on every book to prevent theft and keep track of inventory, which makes sense.

Now with this new technology they are teaching the old world all it’s applications and bringing the most unexpected organization into the Modern Age:


We are seeing TI- Texas Instruments and other companies leading the charge. Even Microsoft is building a custom operating system especially designed to incorporate RFID tags for Small and Medium sized Businesses. With Wal-Mart, Gillette and the Department of Defense moving forward on projects, we are seeing huge increase in the venture capital and investment bank spending on the companies who will be leading the way in this new technology as well as large old companies spending on capital investments in research and development. What is so wonderful is that all this technology will be available to so many other important needs for instance Libraries, book mobiles and School Districts. This is an awesome advantage of transfer technologies and we should be thanking the US Military, Wal-Mart, The Free Market and the Financial Markets for this forward progression to make our lives run smoother and more efficient as we know that budgets are tight and every dollar counts in our libraries and schools.

One new technology being developed by Flash Scan, Corp.

Libraries are much easier to develop the technology for than let’s say Military Humvees, Wal-Mart Wooden Pallets, Gillette’s Fiber Board Pallets. One cannot but be impressed with the ingenuity of American entrepreneurs and the intensive capital being risked on up-coming innovations on nothing more than a chance to play. Anyone who thinks that American Business is down and out need to look no further than their local public library and the new hardware being installed which would make even Carnegie smile.

This white paper on Page: 6 has a couple of paragraphs of what some of these early adopters can expect for Video, Audio and Book Inventory Applications, which obviously lends itself to uses for libraries and school districts from: Zebra Technologies:


Now then if we look at the Training Sessions for Homeland Security, FBI, Annapolis Naval Academy, West Point, etc. By allowing the military which is already heavy into the RFID game and is learning a lot and moving the ball forward and allowing some of this basic research and development to be used in their libraries, universities, academies and top notched training facilities, we can have a world class system ready for transferability into other public sectors which can assist streamline efficiencies in education to make good on America’s commitment to the “No Child Left Behind Act” possible by freeing up monies and re-investing those monies into books, educational material for the class rooms so teachers do not have to use their own money. Also by having a more efficient system in America’s libraries, they can afford to run the air conditioning more in the summer thus attracting more people to come and read and better heat in the winter to make it comfortable to stay and read.

RFID makes sense for library inventory control, simplicity and efficiency which will provide greater cost savings to re-allocate for those things they desperately need. RFID on Book Mobiles also makes sense as the entire control system could be run by a PDA Windows CE Program which when not in use can be charged by the cigarette lighter in the vehicle since smoking is not allowed in book mobiles because the paper holds such scents. Any ideas along this line are welcomed.

The Roles of Libraries in Teaching and Learning


Libraries have long served crucial roles in learning. The first great library, in Alexandria two thousand years ago was really the first university. It consisted of a zoo and various cultural artifacts in addition to much of the ancient world’s written knowledge and attracted scholars from around the Mediterranean who lived and worked in a scholarly community for years at a time. Today, the rhetoric associated with the National/Global Information Infrastructure (N/GII) always includes examples of how the vast quantities of information that global networks provide (i.e., digital libraries) will be used in educational settings. An important aspect of the Library’s educational mission is to promote and develop informational literacy in its users. Information literacy, in general, is the ability to identify, locate, use and interpret information effectively.

Role of Modern Libraries:

A library is defined by three fundamental functions:

(1)selection to create a “collection”;
(2) organization to enable access; and
(3) preservation for ongoing use.

Although technologies may evolve to add the second function to the Web, the first and third functions are antithetical to the very nature of today’s Web. The Web’s successor will become more “library-like,” and libraries will continue to become more “Web-like,” but each will retain some essential differences from the other.

The Web is most definitely not a library now, and it probably never will be. But the Web provides a wonderful mechanism for collaboration between and among scholars and librarians who want to create “libraries” of high-quality resources on a particular topic for scholarship and teaching. Another great concern about Web resources is that they are ephemeral. Libraries select and preserve information resources for generations to come. The longevity of Web-based resources is calculated in days!

How do libraries support teaching and learning?

A library is fundamentally an organized set of resources, which include human services as well as the entire spectrum of media (e.g., text, video, hypermedia). Libraries have physical components such as space, equipment, and storage media; intellectual components such as collection policies that determine what materials will be included and organizational schemes that determine how the collection is accessed; and people who manage the physical and intellectual components and interact with users to solve information problems

Libraries serve at least three roles in learning.

First, they serve a practical role in sharing expensive resources. Physical resources such as books and periodicals, films and videos, software and electronic databases, and specialized tools such as projectors, graphics equipment and cameras are shared by a community of users. Human resources–librarians (also called media specialists or information specialists) support instructional programs by responding to the requests of teachers and students (responsive service) and by initiating activities for teachers and students (proactive services). Responsive services include maintaining reserve materials, answering reference questions, providing bibliographic instruction, developing media packages, recommending books or films, and teaching users how to use materials. Proactive services include selective dissemination of information to faculty and students, initiating thematic events, collaborating with instructors to plan instruction, and introducing new instructional methods and tools. In these ways, libraries serve to allow instructors and students to share expensive materials and expertise.

Second, libraries serve a cultural role in preserving and organizing artifacts and ideas. Great works of literature, art, and science must be preserved and made accessible to future learners. Although libraries have traditionally been viewed as facilities for printed artifacts, primary and secondary school libraries often also serve as museums and laboratories. Libraries preserve objects through careful storage procedures, policies of borrowing and use, and repair and maintenance as needed. In addition to preservation, libraries ensure access to materials through indexes, catalogs, and other finding aids that allow learners to locate items appropriate to their needs.

Third, libraries serve social and intellectual roles in bringing together people and ideas. This is distinct from the practical role of sharing resources in that libraries provide a physical place for teachers and learners to meet outside the structure of the classroom, thus allowing people with different perspectives to interact in a knowledge space that is both larger and more general than that shared by any single discipline or affinity group. Browsing a catalog in a library provides a global view for people engaged in specialized study and offers opportunities for serendipitous insights or alternative views. In many respects, libraries serve as centers of interdisciplinary–places shared by learners from all disciplines.

Formal learning is systematic and guided by instruction. Formal learning takes place in courses offered at schools of various kinds and in training courses or programs on the job. The important roles that libraries serve in formal learning are illustrated by their physical prominence on university campuses and the number of courses that make direct use of library services and materials. Most of the information resources in schools are tied directly to the instructional mission. Students or teachers who wish to find information outside this mission have in the past had to travel to other libraries. By making the broad range of information resources discussed below available to students and teachers in schools, digital libraries open new learning opportunities for global rather than strictly local communities.

Much learning in life is informal–opportunistic and strictly under the control of the learner. Learners take advantage of other people, mass media, and the immediate environment during informal learning. The public library system that developed in the U.S. in the late nineteenth century has been called the “free university”, since public libraries were created to provide free access to the world’s knowledge. Public libraries provide classic nonfiction books, a wide range of periodicals, reference sources, and audio and video tapes so that patrons can learn about topics of their own choosing at their own pace and style. Just as computing technology and world-wide telecommunications networks are beginning to change what is possible in formal classrooms, they are changing how individuals pursue personal learning missions.

Professional learning refers to the on going learning adults engage in to do their work and to improve their work-related knowledge and skills. In fact, for many professionals, learning is the central aspect of their work. Like informal learning, it is mainly self-directed, but unlike formal or informal learning, it is focused on a specific field closely linked to job performance, aims to be comprehensive, and is acquired and applied longitudinally. Since professional learning affects job performance, corporations and government agencies support libraries (often called information centers) with information resources specific to the goals of the organization.

The main information resources for professional learning, however, are personal collections of books, reports, and files; subscriptions to journals; and the human networks of colleagues nurtured through professional meetings and various communications. Many of the data sets and computational tools of digital libraries were originally developed to enhance professional learning. The information resources–both physical and human–that support these types of learning are customized for specific missions and have traditionally been physically separated, although common technologies such as printing, photography, and computing are found across all settings.
Role of Digital Libraries:

Digital libraries extend such inter disciplinarily by making diverse information resources available beyond the physical space shared by groups of learners. One of the greatest benefits of digital libraries is bringing together people with formal, informal, and professional learning missions. Many of the data sets and computational tools of digital libraries were originally developed to enhance professional learning. The information resources–both physical and human–that support these types of learning are customized for specific missions and have traditionally been physically separated, although common technologies such as printing, photography, and computing are found across all settings.

Digital libraries combine technology and information resources to allow remote access, breaking down the physical barriers between resources. Although these resources will remain specialized to meet the needs of specific communities of learners, digital libraries will allow teachers and students to take advantage of wider ranges of materials and communicate with people outside the formal learning environment. This will allow more integration of the different types of learning. Although not all students or teachers in formal learning settings will use information resources beyond their circumscribed curriculum and not all professionals will want to interact even occasionally with novices, digital libraries will allow learners of all types to share resources, time and energy, and expertise to their mutual benefits. The following sections illustrate some of the types of information resources that are defining digital libraries.

As research and teaching increasingly rely on global networks for the creation, storage and dissemination of knowledge, the need to educate information-literate students has become more widely recognized. Students often lack the skills necessary to succeed in this rapidly changing environment, and faculty need training and support to make use of new technologies for effective teaching and learning. The current environment provides an opportunity for librarians to play a key role in the evolution of integrated information literacy. Thus, technology itself may provide a positive impetus as, “developments in education and technology are beginning to help academic librarians achieve new breakthroughs in integrating information and technology skills into the curriculum”

Technology allows library services to be available to students and faculty whenever and wherever they need such services. Technology makes possible round-the-clock library services without increasing investment in human resources. In addition, research materials increasingly exist only in digital form. Such resources are available only with the application of technology. Libraries will continue to exploit the inevitable technological innovation to improve productivity, control costs, enrich services, and deliver the high-quality content that is demanded.