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About Us: Advancing History

Embracing the Future

From overseeing a world-renowned collection that spans ten centuries to supporting and producing cutting-edge research for exhibitions and scholarship to collecting and preserving tomorrow’s history, the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Library of Medicine is advancing history through its public service and partnerships with likeminded organizations.

Digitizing Our Collections

We are methodically digitizing our vast analog collections, and preserving them for tomorrow, through a variety of programs and partnerships. Discover our holdings via NLM Digital Collections, Profiles in Science, and the digital galleries of our many exhibitions. Learn about our work in cooperation with the Wellcome Trust to make more historical medical journals available in PubMed Central (PMC).

Engaging New Audiences

Hand-in-hand with digitizing our collections and improving and enhancing our various databases, we are making these resources as accessible as possible to engage new audiences who are interested to mine and interpret the data therein using new research tools and methodologies, such as those of the digital humanities. Learn about our work with the National Endowment for the Humanities and especially the NEH-funded workshops Images and Texts in Medical History: An Introduction to Methods, Tools, and Data from the Digital Humanities, which we co-sponsored and hosted with Virginia Tech in April 2016, and Viral Networks: An Advanced Workshop in Digital Humanities and Medical History, which we will host with Virginia Tech in January 2018.

Preserving Unique Medical Heritage

Today’s evolving digital landscape joins a longstanding world that is deeply rich with a variety of persistent physical objects that contain records of the human condition. Among these objects are the Marshall Nirenberg Genetic Code Charts, which we are preserving for future generations through intensive research that is supported by the NIH Intramural Research Program. You can read about this important conservation work on our blog Circulating Now, and this article available freely via PMC.

A word cloud featuring H7N1 and Influenza.

Future Explorations of the Modern Flu

Read more on Circulating Now

Preserving Selected Portions of the Internet

Our digital world is also producing an ever-increasing number of born-digital resources which will be the historical resources of tomorrow. Responding to this change, we are partners with the National Digital Stewardship Alliance in collecting and preserving selected portions of the Internet. Complementing this partnership is our collaboration with the National Digital Stewardship Residency, with whom we are building and sustaining a dedicated community of professionals who will advance our nation's capabilities in managing, preserving, and making accessible the digital record of human achievement.

Pursuing New Research

The National Library of Medicine supports staff of the History of Medicine Division publishing regularly as part of their official duties, and as an outcome of the NLM Director’s Employee Education Fund, which seeks to advance and enhance careers of staff and help them reach their fullest potential.

Staff Publications by Date

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