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NLM Board of Regents Approves Resolution Honoring NLM Director Lindberg

Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine


Approved and presented on February 10, 2015 

To congratulate and commend Donald A. B. Lindberg, M.D., Director of the National Library of Medicine, NIH, for more than 30 years of visionary and transformative leadership.


Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg, a pioneer in applying computers to health care with expertise and outstanding accomplishments relevant to NLM's mission, was appointed its Director in 1984;

He engaged the Board of Regents and the Library's many constituent groups in highly effective long range planning that built on NLM's unique strengths and guided decades of spectacular innovations and accomplishments;

His focus on long term technology trends, user engagement, strong partnerships, and public policy led to a steady stream of high impact services, including free Internet access to MEDLINE via PubMed, MedlinePlus,, PubMed Central, PubChem, dbGaP, free use of clinical terminology standards for electronic health records (EHRs), and many specialized genomic, toxicology, health services research, public health, consumer health, disaster and emergency response, and history of medicine resources;

He played a leading role in establishing the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at NLM in 1988, thereby ensuring effective links between gene sequences and the published literature and providing key infrastructure for the Human Genome project and many subsequent scientific 'big data' initiatives;

He advanced the field of biomedical informatics by expanding research training programs and increasing research funding; integrating biomedical and health applications into the multi-agency High Performance Computing and Communications initiative; developing unprecedented research resources, such as Unified Medical Language System, lexical tools, Visible Humans, ITK, and the pill image collection; pushing the field to embrace molecular biology, public health, disaster response, and patient contributions; and mentoring many.

He made NLM services available outside of academic institutions and hospitals, reaching health professionals, patients, and the public wherever located; expanded the scope of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to provide outreach to underserved populations; built enduring partnerships with minority serving institutions, tribal and community based organizations, and the public health and emergency response communities; and used a vibrant historical exhibit program to interest diverse young people in biomedical careers;

He expanded NLM collaborations with other NIH Institutes and Centers, other HHS agencies, and other federal departments and ensured that the Library provided critical support to NIH, HHS, and US-government priorities, including the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria, clinical trials registration and results submission, public access to the results of government-funded research, response to disasters, and electronic health records.

He ensured that NLM data were 'open' to external developers and researchers via applications programming interfaces (APIs) and bulk downloads, as well as via interactive web interfaces, mobile devices, and social media, to fuel the development of value-added products and services;

He believed in the power of multidisciplinary teams at NLM and elsewhere; embraced diversity; championed expanded roles for health sciences librarians in biomedical informatics, clinical research, consumer health, public health, disaster preparedness and response, and data management; and expanded their training and career development opportunities;

He attracted, retained, and invested in outstanding people; promoted innovation and efficiency in all NLM activities, including high volume production operations and administrative functions; and maintained and upgraded facilities, computer reliability and security, and high speed connections to keep pace with demand for NLM services;

In sum, his vision, uncanny judgment, courage, and perseverance have resulted in free, robust Internet access to vast quantities of trusted consumer health information, published biomedical knowledge, chemical and drug information, clinical trials information, and scientific data that are used every day by millions of people and thousands of computer systems across the country and around the globe;

He will depart from NLM on March 31, 2015, having changed fundamentally the way biomedical knowledge and health information is collected, organized, and made available for public use – in small villages in Alaska and Mali as well as in laboratories of Nobel prizewinners. He has therefore empowered the public and transformed the conduct of research, the education of students, and the care of patients.

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine salutes and thanks Dr. Donald A. B. Lindberg for his outstanding public service and for translating the promise of computers and telecommunications into robust systems that deliver biomedical and health information around the world to advance research, clinical care and the public's health.

Trudy MacKay, Ph.D.

The world's largest biomedical library, the National Library of Medicine maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology.