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Former NLM Deputy Director for Research and Education, Harold M. Schoolman, Dies

Physician and Administrator Played Key Role in the Development of Many NLM Programs

Dr. Harold M. Schoolman Harold M. Schoolman, MD, former Deputy Director for Research and Education of the National Library of Medicine, died in August. A fine clinician who had been trained in internal medicine and hematology, he gravitated into health-related administration. He had a distinguished 32-year career with the federal government, first at the Department of Veterans Affairs as Assistant to the Director for Medical Program Development and Evaluation and, in various capacities at the National Library of Medicine from 1970 to 1999.

"As NLM Deputy Director for Research and Education, 'Hack' Schoolman was an administrator nonpareil of the Library's vast and varied research and education activities," commented NLM Director Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg. "He clearly understood this institution and its mandate to provide the best and broadest medical information possible to professionals and the public."

“Dr. Schoolman was a valued friend and colleague who effectively advanced the programs and mission of the Library,” said former NLM Deputy Director Kent A. Smith. “He also did an outstanding job while serving as Acting Director of the National Library of Medicine in 1983 and 1984. During that transition period, Hack demonstrated his leadership in managing the institution and bolstering the morale of the staff.”

"He may not have relished the role," said current NLM Deputy Director Betsy L. Humphreys, "but Hack became the de facto expert on many thorny policy issues facing the National Library of Medicine, including copyright as applied to health information, the licensing of NLM's databases, and federal regulation of medical software. Throughout the controversies and debates, he was admired as a thoughtful and articulate champion of the Library's position."

A May 4, 1999 resolution from the NLM Board of Regents, its principal advisory body, saluted Dr. Schoolman on his retirement for, among other achievements, playing "a key role in the development of important NLM programs including the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, the acquisition and organization of non-print educational media, internal NLM research on information retrieval, and the Unified Medical Language System."

Dr. Schoolman was honored as "Alumnus of the Year for Service to the Government" from the University of Illinois, received numerous federal commendations, including the NLM and NIH Directors' Awards and the Superior Service Honor Award from the Department of Health and Human Services, and was an elected member of the American College of Medical Informatics.

"Hack, so called throughout his adult life because he drove a taxi as a student, brought high intelligence, imperturbable good humor and a never-flagging sense of decency to all he undertook and all he said," observed current NLM Deputy Director for Research and Education Dr. Milton Corn, a longtime friend and colleague. "His passions included art, good food, and social justice. Harold Schoolman's legion of friends will long treasure his memory."