The Health Libraries Group (HLG) Core Collection Working Group is pleased to present this new edition of the Core Collection (CC) of Medical Books. First published in 1992, the CC has established itself as a reliable acquisition guide for health libraries in the UK.

Since the last publication several changes to the edition have taken place. COVID pandemic delayed the updating of the collection due to systemic pressures in the publishing and the librarian communities.

Over the summer of 2021, we used LibraryThing, as a platform to invite contributions from a wide range of health library staff and clinicians to comment on titles from the previous 2011 edition and to recommend new titles.

Members of the working group updated the new editions where possible and suggested newer titles based on the circulation data, book reviews and reading lists. The group was also acutely aware that not many books had been published during the pandemic and newer editions were being released in early 2022. However we considered it important to go ahead with the update due to the length of time since the last edition. The selection criteria was revised and limited to books published in 2015 and later with a few exceptions due to age in certain subject categories. A small * is placed next to titles and we advise health library staff to look out for updates.


We added new categories: Biomedical Engineering, Cellular Biology, Intensive Care Medicine and Neonatal.

Re-named some existing categories: Communicable diseases now called Infectious diseases and Sexual Health is now Reproductive Medicine (incorporates Infertility category too).

Merged related categories: Anaesthesia and Analgesia; Anatomy and Physiology; General/Internal Medicine; Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Medicine; Psychiatry (incl Autism and Aspergers); Health Administration and Health Systems; and Substance Misuse (incl Addiction and Therapy)

For this edition of the Medical Core Collection, we have excluded books that are: Crash Course material; some ABC titles, Lecture notes and At a Glance titles that are very old. We encourage health library staff to look out for newer.

Editions of these titles and continue to add them to their stock. We have continued with the ethos of the CC collection by excluding exam resources and revision aids. This CC concentrates on clinical materials and excludes allied health materials and nursing materials which are covered by separate collections.

Members of the Core Working Group met at the end of the consultation period (September 2021) to consider these recommended titles, identify any omissions from the list and to select new titles for the new categories.

The final LibraryThing version of the Core Collection which includes contributors’ comments can be viewed online through the CILIP HLG website.

This edition is also special in its own way, as the working groups of the medical core collection single handedly updated the last edition without any support from a medical professional body.


Tomlinsons have much experience in the publication of the core collections and this online publication has been facilitated by the production expertise of Tomlinsons staff. As more titles are expected to be published in 2022, we felt that the new edition should be released in an online format in the first instance. When sufficient updates have been added in 2022, health library staff can purchase a print copy at a nominal rate from Tomlinsons. We are grateful to Tomlinsons who have continued with their role in the publication and distribution of this Medical Core Collection.


The Core Collection list can never be a definitive list of titles but we hope that this list of suggested books will be useful. We anticipate that libraries will use this list as a selection resource based on the scope of their collections.

If you have used Core Collection before, we hope you will find the latest edition useful. If you are new to the profession or even new to the Core Collection, then we hope it helps you provide a framework to select titles for your services.

Preeti Puligari, Sarah Woodhall, Steve Glover, Nicola Ager, Semanti Chakraborty and Sherin Francis
(Core Working Group)

Medical Core Collection Index