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Fact Sheet
Technical Services Division

The Technical Services Division (TSD), Library Operations, National Library of Medicine, is responsible for the selection, acquisition and cataloging of all material formats for the NLM modern collection. TSD coordinates technical services programs and projects with the library community including other national and research libraries in the U.S. and abroad, several library associations, and other Government and non-Government organizations.

Office of the Chief

The TSD Office of the Chief (OC) focuses on Division-wide planning and administration, strategic efforts and collaborations. The OC is responsible for the periodic review and revision of the Collection Development Manual of the National Library of Medicine which is updated to reflect shifting emphases in health care, advances in medical research, and new formats. To monitor the effectiveness of NLM's acquisitions program TSD oversees an ongoing program of collection assessment and evaluation. The Chief represents NLM as a standing member of two American Library Association Interest Groups: Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries and Chief Collection Development Officers of Large Research Libraries.

Collection Development and Acquisitions Section

The Collection Development and Acquisitions Section builds the NLM modern biomedical literature collection, including print and electronic resources and other digital content according to the guidelines of the Manual. NLM selection librarians annually review thousands of titles and select serials, monographs, audiovisuals and other materials published world-wide in more than 55 languages. Selection staff also assist in the selection of materials to digitize from the NLM collection, content for PubMed Central and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Bookshelf, foreign language support for MedlinePlus, and the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC). NLM subscribes to approximately 18,500 unique serial titles, of which over 5,600 are indexed for MEDLINE.

The Section provides initial bibliographic control for selected resources. Materials are acquired through firm order and approval plan arrangements with domestic and foreign publishers and vendors, subscription vendors, the Library of Congress Overseas Offices and gifts. The Section licenses and manages access to electronic resources.

Cataloging and Metadata Management Section

The Cataloging and Metadata Management Section is responsible for review and development of cataloging policies for descriptive and subject cataloging and classification of modern print, audiovisual, and electronic resources acquired for the NLM collection. The Section creates and maintains the bibliographic records resident in NLM's public access catalogs, LocatorPlus and the NLM Catalog. LocatorPlus contains records in the MARC 21 format and displays holdings and item availability. The NLM Catalog uses the NCBI Entrez retrieval system and records are structured in a locally defined XML format. For further information about these Web catalogs, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/cataloging/biblocator.html.

NLM bibliographic records are available via ftp in MARC 21 format or in XML format on a subscription basis. For further information, see http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/leased.html.

The Section maintains and develops the NLM Classification, a scheme for the shelf arrangement of medical literature in libraries. This online tool is available at http://wwwcf.nlm.nih.gov/class. The Section also maintains NLM's internal authority file used in the creation of bibliographic records, including over 1.2 million name, title, and subject heading records and assigns the NLM title abbreviations for indexed serials.

For further information, see the Section Home Page at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/tsd/cataloging/mainpge.html.

Library Technology Services Section

The Library Technology Services Section manages the bibliographic and digital library systems used to support the Division’s collection development, acquisitions, licensing, electronic resources management and cataloging operations. These systems also support a broad range of NLM services including collection management, circulation, preservation, indexing and access to the NLM collection.

The Section coordinates the maintenance, development, testing, training and documentation for numerous systems, including the NLM integrated library system, online public access catalog LocatorPlus, electronic resources management systems and systems to support NLM indexing and citation creation activities. The Section leads the development of NLM’s repository, Digital Collections.

Section staff evaluate and test NLM desktop software applications and provide first-level hardware and software desktop support for the Division.

Cooperative Programs

The Technical Services Division coordinates its collection development policies and retention practices with the Library of Congress (LC) and the National Agricultural Library (NAL). These national libraries occasionally issue joint collecting policy statements which NLM makes available on the Collection Development and Acquisitions web page.

TSD staff participate in the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), a coalition of libraries organized to promote effective cooperative cataloging by increasing the availability of standard bibliographic records. Under the PCC umbrella, TSD:

  • Supplies new serials cataloging information to the CONSER database via the OCLC system. CONSER, the cooperative online serials bibliographic record component of the PCC, is an authoritative source for bibliographic records, documentation, and training materials for serials cataloging.
  • Participates in the Cataloging-in-Publication (CIP) Program with the Library of Congress in which books are cataloged from galley proofs and the cataloging information is issued with the book at the time of publication.
  • Contributes records for English-language materials to BIBCO, the monographic bibliographic record component of the PCC.
  • Contributes name authority records used in NLM cataloging to the Library of Congress for NACO, the name authority program component of the PCC.

For information on the size of the NLM collection and other statistics, refer to the Fact Sheet for the National Library of Medicine.

For general information on NLM services, contact:

National Library of Medicine
Customer Service
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Telephone: 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)
email: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/contacts/contact.html
NLM Customer Service Form at http://apps.nlm.nih.gov/mainweb/siebel/nlm/index.cfm

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
(alphabetical list) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsheets.html
(subject list): http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsubj.html

Or write to:
FACT SHEETS
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6308
Fax: (301) 496-4450
email: publicinfo@nlm.nih.gov