FAQ: National Library of Medicine® Guide to Finding Health Information
Please note that NLM librarians can't answer questions about individual medical cases or give medical advice. We can suggest health information resources.
- What National Library of Medicine (NLM)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Resources Might Help Me with My Research?
- Why Should I Go to a Local Library?
- How Might I Get Health Sciences Library Services?
- What Other Federal Sites Have Health Information?
- How Do I Evaluate Information I Find?
These web pages that may help you with research:
- NLM Frequently Asked Reference and Consumer Health Questions including pill identification, lab test results, directories, codes, statistics, and more.
- NLM MedlinePlus® information on hundreds of diseases, conditions, drugs, health topics, and directories.
- NLM PubMed® to search MEDLINE® for citations to professional medical literature.
- NLM PubMed Health for clinical effectiveness research information.
- NLM PubMed Central® (PMC) to search a free archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the NLM.
- NLM Specialized Information Services including Environmental Health and Toxicology links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other resources.
- NIH Health Information Portal for more about conditions, research, and services.
- ClinicalTrials.gov searchable database of information about ongoing and completed clinical research studies.
- See additional NLM Databases, Resources & APIs.
A local library is a good place to start research. This may be your public, community college, or health sciences or another library. A local library may:
- provide one-on-one help;
- tell you about other local or regional resources;
- help you get materials; or
- provide internet access to health resources.
Library Resources, either in print or electronic, to ask about:
- Medical or nursing textbooks, dictionaries or encyclopedias, and drug information handbooks.
- Directories, including directories of doctors and medical specialists; and health information directories to find consumer health resources, support groups, and organizations.
- Database access that requires subscriptions and other subscription services.
- Interlibrary Loan and Loansome Doc. Interlibrary Loan is the standard way libraries get materials they do not own, but another library has and will share. Loansome Doc allows you to order articles directly from PubMed with the request going to a participating local library.
- Call your NLM Supported Regional Medical Library at 1-800-338-7657 to find the closest medical library open to you.
- Use the list of Medical Research Libraries by State.
- Use MedlinePlus Find a Library.
- Ask a hospital/health sciences/medical library what services are available to you such as interlibrary loan, reference assistance, or database searches. Ask if the library charges fees.
- Ask your health care provider or your local public or university library about a referral to a local medical library.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for health statistics, travelers' health guides, information on diseases, and health topics. CDC has a Spanish-language Web site.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) homepage for background and regulatory information about treatments (drugs, biologics, medical devices), food and cosmetics, and radiological health.
- Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) for dietary guidance information for health or disease control.
- US Preventive Services Task Force for recommendations from an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine.
- Healthfinder.gov for consumer health information and tools.
- HealthCare.gov Insurance Finder for help finding health insurance best suited to your needs.
- USA.gov for links to more government health information.
- MedlinePlus Evaluating Internet Health Information (National Library of Medicine)
- Evaluating Online Sources of Health Information (National Cancer Institute)
- How to Evaluate Health Information on the Internet (Office of Dietary Substances)
- A User's Guide to Finding and Evaluating Health Information on the Web (Medical Library Association)
- How to Find Good Information Online Podcast (AHRQ: Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research)