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NLM Named Strategic Advisor in Partnership for the Medical Heritage Digital Collaborative


The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, has been named a strategic advisor to the Medical Heritage Library (MHL) Digital Collaborative. The MHL is a digital curation collaborative among some of the world's leading medical libraries, initiated in 2009 by the Open Knowledge Commons to digitize many of the world's great historical medical books.

The MHL project recently received a Level-One Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to continue developing the MHL partnership and project.  This grant will support planning activities among 10 of the partner institutions, with the NLM serving in an advisory capacity to the grant recipients. The project furthers the MHL's mission to "provide the means by which readers and scholars across a multitude of disciplines can examine the interrelated nature of medicine and society, both to inform contemporary medicine and strengthen understanding of the world in which we live."  NLM continues to work closely with the MHL partner institutions to make publicly available the unique and rich resources in the history of medicine held by these institutions and enhance their utility for research.

More about the MHL:

Open Knowledge Commons created the Medical Heritage Library through the National Library of Medicine, New York Public Library, and the medical libraries of Columbia, Harvard and Yale. The first phase of the MHL, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is digitizing 30,000 medical rare books. The partners have continued to work on several fronts and are continuing to formulate and seek support for new initiatives in scholarly engagement, resource discovery and delivery, and digitization.

The MHL partners include: 

  • College of Physicians of Philadelphia
  • Columbia University, Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library
  • Council on Libraries and Information Resources (CLIR)
  • Harvard University and Boston Medical Library, Countway Library
  • Johns Hopkins University, Welch Medical Library
  • National Library of Medicine
  • New York Academy of Medicine
  • New York Public Library
  • Open Knowledge Commons
  • Wellcome Library (London)
  • Yale University, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library


About the NEH/Digital Humanities program:

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. For more on the NEH Office of Digital Humanities: //