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Eirik Reierth

Dr Scient, Senior Academic Librarian

UiT The Artic University of Norway

Tromsø, Norway

Primal Replaces Print at UiT The Artic University of Norway and Earns a Round of Applause

Delivering Learning Success in Academic and Healthcare Settings with for Almost 10 Years

Dr. Eirik Reierth, Senior Academic Librarian at UiT The Artic University of Norway, is so taken with that it is the first resource he shows medical students on first meeting them.

“We have a course – every first-year student is met by the University Library and the IT department in a one-hour sort of gig to give them a heads-up on what they can do and what resources are available. And, of course, for medical students, that’s Primal Pictures. It’s the first resource I show them each year, so they get used to the idea of having it there at their fingertips,” he explains.

It’s just fantastic. I’m always looking out for products along these lines, but I’ve never seen anything that can beat

Creating Engagement in Academic and Hospital Teaching

Located above the Arctic Circle, at 70 degrees northern latitude, UiT is the world’s most northern university and the largest research and educational institution in northern Scandinavia. Dr. Reierth, who has a doctorate in physiology, provides library support for medicine and medical biology to UiT’s Faculty of Health Sciences and its sister institution, the University Hospital of North Norway (UNN).

These two institutions sit side by side and work hand in hand. Hence, many doctors working in the hospital also enjoy positions in the UIT health sciences faculty, many teaching medical students. For Dr. Reierth, this means promoting and supporting the use of across both academic and healthcare settings. This is always to the same end – engaging and accurate content – but often for different purposes.

“You can have a professor who is going to show a case for a patient in the morning meeting in two days, who wants to show some nice slides of maybe the thorax or heart etc. and we can show them how to build it in and then use it in a presentation for the in-house meeting before going on patient rounds. Or you could meet the same professor, who’s going to give a lecture on resuscitation for medical students and wants to have some slides on how to do whatever,” he explains.

Easy Ways to Integrate into Digital Resources

Dr. Reierth, who has worked at UiT for over 25 years, was first introduced to Primal Pictures over 10 years ago at a European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) event. “I was sort of impressed and I just loved it,” he says. This affinity grew in 2014, when the University Library decided to prioritize digital resources over print.

I think it [] is just fantastic; it’s a lot better than the books. And you can use it on the fly, wherever you are.

Since then, he has upped promotion of the resource to medical students and to those who teach them. “The new teachers, the younger teachers, sort of embrace this and want this technology. But of course, it’s new territory for them as well,” he says. “So, I’m trying to tell them about all these links and the easy way of doing it.” This includes encouraging them to use’s embedding functions to integrate content directly into lectures, presentations, course assignments and assessments, and the faculty’s LMS.

“But I think the main thing is to get the students alongside. When the students use resources, they force the hands of the teachers,” says Dr. Reierth. He cites the use of plastic models in lecture theatres, where students sitting in the auditorium struggle to see the structures being discussed. “When the student raises their hand and says why don’t you use, and point at it on the screen, then we can all see what you’re pointing at, that’s strong feedback for a teacher,” he says.

Applause for Primal’s Smart Search

Dr. Reierth is bowled over with’s new Smart Search feature, which makes discovering anatomy content simple, fast and efficient. Why? Because faculty and students love it and it has made his job easier, with no need to provide additional training or support. In fact, he says this new feature was met with applause.

“It’s so much easier to navigate in it – it’s just fantastic. You can just enter whatever you want to find, and you get everything in the anatomy family popping up. So, it’s great. I love it and I’ve heard a lot of nice feedback,” he says. This includes a big thumbs up from UIT’s pathologists.

And, of course, for Dr. Reierth, a slicker search and discovery process means fewer people come to him with fewer questions about what content is available in and how to find it. “Yeah, well, nobody comes to me now, so that’s fantastic. They just find what they need,” he says.

Measures of Success

When evaluating and its value to students and staff, Dr. Reierth shies away from formal approaches. “But I see what the medical students do in the library. I talk to them, I give a lot of lectures for them in other topics and always sort of showcase Primal,” he says. “I know they use it; I know that those who are lecturing the medical students use it. So, by this and my knowledge of, it’s just brilliant. And, at the moment, it’s the best we can buy for the money.”

At the moment, Primal are sort of like 200 storeys higher than the other options we have, which are shallow and flat and just give you some pictures.

Next Moves: Virtual Reality and Problem-based Learning

Ever enthusiastic, Dr. Reierth is excited by the potential of virtual reality (VR) to create immersive experiences in anatomy education. To date, interest in VR within the faculty has primarily been driven by students, enabled by Dr. Reierth and the IT department.

Right now, the institution is exploring its options, including how far it should commit to the technology and what form this should take. “But I think this will be a thing for us for the future,” says Dr. Reierth. “And I’m really happy that you’re launching a VR product. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Likewise, he sees Primal’s new Disease & Conditions modules enhancing UIT’s problem-based learning with students. Now covering over 85 conditions, these clinical anatomy learning resources combine custom images, animations, and videos of normal and disease-state anatomy. They are also ready to use with students. “This is fantastic!” he says. “I’m going to send a heads-up today to all my colleagues.”

Clarity and Engagement in Live Teaching Environments

For now, Dr. Reierth is dedicated to finding new converts to within UiT to give students better clarity and engagement in live teaching environments and online. “It could be used for nearly everything, especially in the anatomy part and also a lot in the physiology part. But in anatomy, in my mind, it should be used every time,” he says.