The Library and Book Trade Almanac on NLM, 2011
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894
301-496-6308, 888-346-3656, fax 301-496-4450
World Wide Web: http://www.nlm.nih.gov
Kathleen Cravedi, Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Melanie Modlin, Deputy Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Founded in 1836 and celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2011, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world's largest biomedical library and the producer of electronic information services used by millions the world over. Scientists, health professionals and the public search the Library's resources more than two billion times a year to obtain trillions of bytes of data every day. Located in Bethesda, Maryland, NLM is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). What started as a modest shelf of books in the library of the U.S. Army Surgeon General has grown to a collection of over 17 million books, journals, artworks, audiovisuals, and other materials in over 150 languages. The library's scope has expanded, too, to include DNA sequences, clinical trials data, toxicology and environmental health data, consumer health information, and more. NLM also conducts and supports cutting-edge informatics research and development in electronic health records, clinical decision support, information retrieval, advanced imaging, computational biology, telecommunications, and disaster response. In its mission to enable biomedical research, support health care and public health, and promote healthy behavior, NLM:
- Acquires, organizes, and works to preserve the world's scholarly biomedical literature, including addressing the challenges of making digital information permanent;
- Provides nationwide access to biomedical and health information in partnership with the 5,800-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine;
- Receives high throughput screening output and serves as a leading international resource for building, curating, and providing sophisticated access to molecular biology and genomic databases via its National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI);
- Creates and maintains information services on toxicology, environmental health, health services research, public health, and disaster management;
- Develops information systems and resources to ensure uninterrupted access to critical health information during national and international disasters;
- Supports and conducts advanced biomedical informatics and health information technology research and development;
- Develops and supports standards for electronic health records to enable efficient health information exchange and support health care reform; and
- Works to reinvigorate the research community through outreach programs to interest young people in scientific and health careers and by being the primary supporter of research training in biomedical informatics at 18 U.S. universities.
Working with libraries and other partners, NLM develops and tests new methods to expand awareness and use of its information and services. Twitter and other social media outlets, programs for mobile devices, interactive tutorials, a free consumer magazine, and online games are just some of the tools that help to generate widespread access to NIH's trustworthy, high-quality health information.
NLM also remains focused on the goals of its 2006-2016 long range plan, including key activities in support of interoperable electronic health records, more effective disaster and emergency response, development of a robust knowledge base for personalized health care, and more.
Scientific Information Services
MEDLINE/Pub Med is the NLM's premier publicly available database of references and abstracts for medical journal articles. It is the world's most frequently consulted online scientific medical resource, and covers the period from 1947 to the present. It added its 20 millionth citation on July 27, 2010.
On the same day, coincidentally, PubMed Central, the Library's digital archive of free, unrestricted full-text biomedical literature, added its 2 millionth article from some 700 journals. It also celebrated its tenth anniversary last year.
GenBank, which is maintained by the NLM's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), is the NIH's annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences. This open-access resource contains more than 250 billion base pairs and continues to grow exponentially, doubling in size every 18 months. Integrated retrieval tools allow seamless searching of GenBank data and more than 40 integrated biomedical databases, including related literature and curated reference gene and genome databases developed by NCBI to support rapid advances in research.
New sequencing, microarray, and small molecule screening technologies are exponentially increasing NCBI's genomic data. For example, 10 trillion base pairs of high-throughput sequences were absorbed into the new Sequence Read Archive (SRA) last year. With more than one terabyte of sequence data being added each month, SRA is one of the fastest growing biological databases ever.
Access to these data and associated NCBI databases - for example, dbGaP, which promises to spur discovery of genetic variations associated with common diseases and to which clinical phenotype and genomic data from 20 new Genome Wide Association Studies was recently added, PubChem, which provides bioactivity results from more than 50 million tests of small molecules, the new Peptidome database of mass spectrometry peptide and protein data, and numerous DNA, protein and gene databases, all linked to the scientific literature - provide the foundation for the translation of basic science into new diagnoses and treatments.
Established in 1968 to research biomedical informatics in support of NLM, the Lister Hill Center for Biomedical Communications conducts and supports research in such areas as: the development and dissemination of health information technology standards; the dissemination, processing, and use of high quality imagery; medical language processing; high-speed access to biomedical information; Next Generation electronic health records (EHRs); and advanced technology for emergency and disaster management.
As the central coordinating body for clinical terminology standards within the Department of Health and Human Services, NLM works closely with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to enable meaningful use of EHRs. NLM support allows them to be regularly updated to include new drugs and tests, and changes in biomedical knowledge and health practice, and also permits them to be used free-of-charge in U.S. systems that support health care, public health, and biomedical research.
NLM is committed to improving the nation's ability to ensure uninterrupted access to critical health information resources during disasters. As part of the Bethesda Hospital Emergency Preparedness Partnership, NLM's Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), within the Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS), is developing backup communications systems for patient tracking, information sharing, and responder training to serve as a model for hospitals across the nation. The Center also produces information systems for first-responders and others engaged in disaster management.
For example, after the earthquake in Haiti, DIMRC quickly put together a Haiti Earthquake Web page, filled with links tailored to the people responding to the disaster, including information in Haitian Creole. And, the Lister Hill Center created a Haiti Earthquake People Locator - a Web site to help reunite families - with an iPhone application to submit information to the Web site as well. Additional resources were added to aid in the aftermath of the earthquake in Chile and the Gulf oil spill, and SIS activated the Emergency Access Initiative to provide free reference materials to Haiti and Pakistan.
Information Services for the Public
The NLM creates and maintains numerous outreach programs to alert biomedical researchers, health professionals, librarians, patients, their families, and the public to its information and numerous services.
MedlinePlus is the library's main portal for consumer health information. Available in English and Spanish, with selected materials in almost 50 other languages, it includes information from NIH and other trusted sources on more than 850 diseases and conditions, and is updated daily. There are directories, a medical encyclopedia and medical dictionary, easy-to-understand tutorials on common conditions, medical tests, and treatments, extensive information on prescription and over-the-counter drugs, health information from the media, and links to thousands of clinical trials.
In 2010, MedlinePlus was redesigned to make it more user-friendly, and more than 155 million unique visitors entered the site. The "medlineplus4you" Twitter feed, a companion to the MedlinePlus.gov Web site, is one of several successful social media initiatives and now has thousands of followers. Another new free service, MedlinePlus Connect, was also begun, to allow electronic health record system to easily link users to MedlinePlus and its deep bank of health and wellness information.
Along with its heavily used Web-based information services, NIH MedlinePlus magazine and its popular Spanish-language counterpart, NIH MedlinePlus Salud, continued to transmit the latest useful research findings in plain language to the public. Produced in cooperation with the Friends of the National Library of Medicine (FNLM), NIH MedlinePlus is distributed free of charge each quarter to hundreds of thousands of doctors' offices, hospital waiting rooms, clinics, medical libraries and individual subscribers, reaching more than five million readers.
Another widely used public resource is NIHSeniorHealth.gov, a collaboration of NLM and the National Institute on Aging, as well as other NIH Institutes and Centers. Designed with seniors' special cognitive needs in mind, it offers larger font sizes and a "talking" function, permitting users to listen to text as is it is read.
ClinicalTrials.gov is a unique resource for scientific and clinical information that can assist in providing patients, healthcare providers and researchers with comprehensive information about ongoing and completed research. Containing information on more than 97,000 public and private research studies in 174 countries, the site celebrated a decade of service in 2010. it is the most comprehensive source of information about clinical trials for researchers, health professionals, and the public. NLM has enhanced ClinicalTrials.gov to accommodate summary results and mandatory adverse events data, too, in response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Amendments Act of 2007.
NLM works with libraries and community organizations to increase public awareness and use of its many valuable resources. Among those with whom it partners are members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce, the Environmental Health Information Outreach Program with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, tribal colleges, and other minority-serving institutions.
NLM also fosters informal partnerships, such as the Information Rx program to promote MedlinePlus usage by encouraging physicians to write "information prescriptions" for their patients. Recognizing the critical importance of reducing health disparities, NLM uses exhibitions, the media, and new technologies in its efforts to reach underserved populations.
As part of its outreach efforts, NLM continually solicits feedback from users on how existing resources can be improved. Dozens of community-based projects were funded to enhance awareness and generate access to health information, using a combination of high tech and "high touch" approaches. In 2010, social media really took off at NLM. To reach its diverse audiences all over the world, the library now hosts more Twitter feeds and Facebook accounts than any other NIH Institute or Center.
In 2010, NLM expanded its successful traveling exhibitions program as another means of highlighting the Library's collections and services and promoting interest in careers in science and medicine in public libraries and other venues across the country. The exhibitions are free, but recipients pay the cost of shipping. One example, the popular Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine, is fully booked through 2012.
The director of the Library, Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., is guided in matters of policy by a Board of Regents consisting of 10 appointed and 11 ex officio members
Table 1/Selected NLM Statistics*
|Collection (book and non-book)||17,941,368|
|Serial titles received||20,465|
|Articles indexed for MEDLINE||699,420|
|Circulation requests processed||401,699|
|For interlibrary loan||256,459|
|For on-site users||145,240|
|Computerized searches (MEDLINE/PubMed)||1,578,714,477|
*For the year ending September 30, 2010.