Loes Hazes


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Medical University Library, the Netherlands



Visual materials suitable for re-use in anatomy education are hard to find. Most is available through expensive anatomical atlases protected by copyright; other online materials are often of unsure quality. Our aim: an online open, structured platform for teachers and students with a large collection of quality-assessed, anatomical images and learning materials available under a Creative Commons (CC) License or Public Domain (PD). 


Between 2015 and 2017 in the Netherlands, a Topic Oriented Open Learning anatomy education platform (TOOL) has been developed within the governmental Incentive Program for Open and Online Education (TOOL1). The Dutch Anatomical Society and departments of anatomy of Dutch and Flemish universities cooperate in the TOOL project.  Objectives of  the follow-up project TOOL2  (2018–2020): A – Scaling up the content: filling TOOL database; development and access to anatomical drawings  and clinical anatomical learning materials. Role libraries: search for open material, access, metadata, quality control. Three routes for filling the database: (1) Search for open material (2) Images Collection-Slagter (medical illustrator) (3) Retrieve visual material from the anatomy departments B – Developing teacher training:  CC licenses; searching for and using open materials in education. 


A – Scaling up the content Route 1 Search for open material Method 1A Source-oriented: search for sources with anatomical images. Step 1: Ca. 225 websites collected Step 2: Assessment criteria established: human-open license-reachable-usable Step 3. Material sought and selected in 3 workshops, with library specialists, anatomists and medical students. Result: 3 sources with usable images found. – 800 copyright expired, PD, to be updated; – 200 average quality, CC; – 25 good quality, CC. Outcome: approx. 1000 images meta-dated and findable via TOOL. Method 1B Target-image-oriented: search engines search for images of specific anatomical structures via CC search and Google images search with filter on licenses. Outcome: hardly any additional images, method abandoned. Route 2 Images Collection-Slagter 60 existing specific images have been made generally usable by the hired medical illustrator and available under CC in TOOL. Another 400 will follow (2019-2020). Route 3 Retrieve visual material from the anatomy departments The demand for materials was plotted mid-2019; no results as yet.  B – Developing teacher training – Sessions with teachers about CC and the use of open material in education; – Copyrights Workshop at the Netherlands Association for Medical Education conference November 2019. 


The project shows how difficult it is to find excellent open visual materials for anatomy education. An abundance of copyrighted material exists, but open materials are rare. The strength of the project is the interdisciplinary collaboration between anatomists, teachers, students and library specialists, each with their own expertise. Recommendations: Encourage production of in-house material usable for open education. Create awareness among students and teachers for the correct use of copyrighted learning materials. Let specialists from libraries play a role in collecting, meta-dating and opening up open educational resources.


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