A Review of Acland’s Video Atlas of Human Anatomy
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Margaret A. Hoogland, MLS, AHIP
Mulford Health Sciences Library
The University of Toledo

Acland’s Video Atlas of Human Anatomy (Acland’s), which is part of the Lippincott Discovery platform managed by Wolters Kluwer, provides access to 330 fully-narrated online videos organized into five areas (upper extremity, lower extremity, etc.). With a personal account, individuals can take up to five different exams. Users encountering an unfamiliar term can check out the glossary for a definition and origin of the word. Acland’s focus is on students in health professional programs, but postgraduate students and faculty will also benefit from using it.

Best Features

It is possible to link parts of videos and distribute them via email, on a course website, or in learning management systems. This feature serves dual purposes by reinforcing content with a video and introducing participants to Acland’s. Closed captions and different speed settings are available for all of the videos. Acland’s provides an entire list of available videos at no cost on the website.

Students who are preparing for anatomy exams can create personal accounts and complete anywhere from 52-79 practice questions on any of the available areas. This feature could help students who are struggling with a particular area enter an exam with confidence. Pictures can be downloaded and used to create flashcards for reviewing challenging topics.

Faculty members who create personal accounts can remove descriptive terms, markings, etc.  from muscle groups and then download a picture. After doing this, the picture can be easily added and adjusted as needed for presentations. When travelling with limited or no internet connection, faculty members can quickly peruse the video transcripts. At a later time, previously identified videos can be viewed, selected, and put into the learning management system for easy viewing by students.

Improvements to Consider

An application for smartphones or tablets is not available for Acland’s, but it works well on all platforms and browsers. The search function is adequate, but it is not a highlight. As many students and faculty are using tablets and smartphones to access Acland’s and other tools, it would be helpful to create an app or continue improving the current product so that it works seamlessly on smartphones and tablets.

Acland’s does not currently provide any information about content updates. If changes are made to how students and professionals use ultrasound to examine abdominal injuries, for example, it would be helpful to include these types of practical examples in Acland’s for subscribers. Doing so would help expand the knowledge of students, who might not know how to apply what they’ve learned about anatomy outside of doing a physical exam or surgery. This extra knowledge could influence how students choose a specialty. Providing content updates could also prove pivotal in tough budget situations, when a library needs to justify the cost of continuing a subscription to Acland’s.

Many people now access journals, ebooks, and databases using smartphones or tablets. While it is possible to search Acland’s using the browser on tablets or phones, it is easiest to use from a laptop or desktop computer. If the product is redesigned to be more mobile friendly, current subscribers will likely see increased use of Acland’s by faculty and students, which could lead to more individual and institutional subscriptions.

It might be prudent for Acland’s to get rid of the personal accounts. Doing so would mean that anyone could use the review product platform. More faculty might use the images, which they can customize for classes. Librarians could more easily promote these features.

Business Model

Acland’s is a standalone product and, for all the content it provides, it is reasonably priced. Small libraries, which may not have the funds to purchase platform products with an anatomy component, can afford to get Acland’s. Individuals can purchase 6-month or 12-month subscriptions for the entire Acland’s product or for specific topics. People who want to try one module but are not ready to commit to everything can also upgrade to the full subscription for a slightly higher cost.

Yearly and short-term prices are affordable for individuals. Subscribers can test Acland’s for a month or two and easily upgrade to the full subscription by paying a minimal amount. It is not clear if institutional subscriptions allow for picking and choosing the material of most use to them or what free trial options are for testing the product.


Without a good working knowledge of anatomy, health professionals and students in health professional programs will flounder. Unlike with other products, such as Anatomy.tv in 3D or Anatomy & Physiology Revealed, a library can choose to purchase only Acland’s. Institutions with tightening budgets are likely to keep Acland’s because the content surpasses that of other available anatomy products. Whenever I am asked about anatomy products that will work for small or large institutions, I recommend Acland’s.

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