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New Frontiers in Health Communication: Sesquicentennial 1836-1986 home page Introduction page National Library of Medicine: New Frontiers in Health Communication page National Library of Medicine: The World's Link to Health page Medline: Medical Information When Minutes Count page The Toxicology Information Program: Making the World Safer page Research and Development: New Frontiers in Information Science page Medical Education in the Year 2000 page Extramural Programs: Investing in Knowledge page Future: Information Systems Pace Breakthroughs in Medicine page Regional Medical Library Network: Building a Nationwide Base page

National Library of Medicine: The World's Link in Health

Half-length oil portrait of John Shaw Billings, wearing red robe.

The National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world's largest medical research library. Its holdings include more than 3.5 million books, journals, technical reports, theses, pamphlets, photgraphs, and audiovisual materials covering more than 40 biomedical areas and related subjects from chemistry to psychology, botany to zoology and veterinary medicine.

A photograph of three bookcase shelves of books in the National Library of Medicine's collection.

The library also houses one of the world's finest historical collections of rare medical texts and manuscripts dating as far back as the 11th century.

With materials in 70 languages and information exchange capabilities internationally, the library is a worldwide source for all health professionals. Some 4 million journal articles, books, and computerized information searches were provided by NLM in 1985. Material may be consulted at the library, borrowed through interlibrary loan or searched by means of the library's computerized online databases.

A 1986 vintage computer terminal sits on a table in front of a working card catalog.


[Current data as of September 30, 2006, from The National Library of Medicine Fact Sheet Collection (book and nonbook items) - 9,186,000; 900 million searches of MEDLINE are done each year; ]