The department describes itself quite well. “Through a broad range of scholarly projects, faculty research examines relations between the technical practice of scientists, engineers, medical researchers, and clinicians, and the materials, social political and cultural context in which those practices occur.”
Generally speaking, the collection is quite deep in all the fields of the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, technology and medicine. It is probably somewhat unique in its holdings in South Asian and Middle Eastern materials. In recent years particular attention has been paid to the history of computing.
The Kislak center collects heavily in the history of alchemy and has notable collections in dentistry, botany and agriculture. The Edgar Fahs Smith collection in the history of chemistry focuses on the period before 1850. It also includes material pertaining to the history of science more generally. Local collections that are important are the American Philosophical Society which has important papers across a wide spectrum in the history of science especially natural history, the College of Physicians Library containing medical texts up to the mid-twentieth century and the Hagley Museum which is devoted ostensibly to “American enterprise” documents the history of technology.
Although there is a “core” literature in HSTM per se the field is really interdisciplinary as is indicated by the name of department here.