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NLM Enhances Online Resource “In His Own Words: Martin Cummings and the NLM”

Martian M. Cummings
Martin M. Cummings, MD, with printed volumes of the Index Medicus and in the background, the computer tapes that he intended would replace them (1968).

The National Library of Medicine Library is pleased to announce its enhancement of In His Own Words: Martin Cummings and the NLM, a digital edition of selected speeches and articles by the man who served as its director from 1964 to 1983. During his tenure, Dr. Cummings guided NLM, the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), into the computer age and significantly broadened its mission.

Originally launched in February 2012, In His Own Words now includes Dr. Cummings' annual Congressional appropriations testimonies, along with commentary provided by Dr. Cummings through interviews with Dr. Cheryl Dee of San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science and Florida State University School of Library and Information Services. These enhancements document Dr. Cummings's opinion that the testimonies and commentaries together offer the most valuable window into NLM's program development from the 1960s to the 1980s. Reflecting on his testimonies, and the subsequent question and answer sessions defending them, Dr. Cummings's commentary provides contextual insight on significant turning points in the Library's history and the political personalities that influenced them.

Martin Marc Cummings, MD (1920–2011), was a medical educator, physician, scientific administrator and medical librarian. Highly respected in all of these disciplines, he made significant contributions to medical informatics and librarianship.

As a whole, In His Own Words represents the NLM's ongoing commitment to collecting materials related to its institutional history and programmatic impact—as part of the NLM Archives—as well as to digitizing these collections and making them widely available for the benefit of researchers, educators, and students.

The National Library of Medicine is the world's largest library of the health sciences and a component of the National Institutes of Health. NLM collects, organizes, and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals, and the public.