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NLM Collaboration with The Universities at Shady Grove Expands to Include Virtual Internships

The Universities at Shady Grove (USG), in partnership with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), will offer five virtual internships to students from the University of Maryland, College Park, College of Information Studies (iSchool) beginning Fall 2013. USG is a campus community of nine leading Maryland universities.

The virtual internships will span NLM's research and development initiatives and social media outreach. The projects are: 

  • Assessing the quality of automatic classification of NLM customers' requests and corresponding automatically generated responses to customers' requests. This project will assess the feasibility of providing an automatic reply to some of the thousands of inquiries received annually for changes to MEDLINE/PubMed. Dr. Dina Demner-Fushman, Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communication, will serve as mentor and project sponsor. 
  • Should NLM resources be added to Wikipedia? This project will examine the potential to use Wikipedia as a method of directing the public to NLM web sites through linking of web topics pages. Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, Specialized Information Services Division, will serve as mentor and project sponsor. 
  • Creation of a promotional strategy for NLM_HIVplus50 Twitter handle? This project will assist in the development of a promotional strategy for the @NLM_HIVplus50 a Twitter handle that provides news, updates and resources on HIV/AIDS and aging adults. Andrew Plumer, Specialized Information Services Division, will serve as mentor and project sponsor.  
  • Creation of a "Tech Tuesday" monthly forum for familiarizing National Library of Medicine (NLM) staff with current emerging and converging technologies. This project will investigate new technologies and determine which ones would be most useful for a monthly brown bag session. Jamie Peacock, Specialized Information Services Division, will serve as mentor and project sponsor. 
  • Social media 360: scanning the landscape of literature to research and provide recommendations for how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) can most effectively use social media to provide health information to the public. This project will investigate social media platforms and innovative uses of these. Project goals include evaluating the pluses and minuses of NLM Twitter chats; developing a "how to" guide for NLM staff wishing to start up new social media outlets; and exploring some of the most popular and successful Facebook pages and Twitter feeds and what they're doing to communicate their messages and share their information. Melanie Modlin, Office of Communication and Public Liaison, will serve as mentor and project sponsor.

For many students close proximity to the many research, corporate and special libraries in the Washington, DC Metro area is misleading given their own professional, student, and family lives. Virtual internships will allow students to tap into the rich and diverse experiences of the world's largest biomedical library, and to do so at a time and pace convenient to their lives.

USG recognizes the challenging lives of active, often working, students. USG provides a convenient location to access the educational offerings of nine University System of Maryland (USM) universities as well as online options for the best and most popular degree programs from the across the state. Virtual internships are part of USG's forward-thinking approach to meeting the needs of its students and preparing them for careers upon graduation.

NLM has a longstanding commitment to open its collection, products and services to the public. Virtual internships allow NLM to further extend access to include interns who might not otherwise be able to physically spend time at NLM and on the NIH campus. As an institution, NLM has extensive experience in supporting flexiplace and telework options for its own employees and through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), working with contracted staff throughout the country. This experience, along with the many students NLM trains through Alternative Spring Breaks, internships, and fellowships, lends itself to offering a rich and robust internship experience virtually.

The National Library of Medicine (// is the world's largest library of the health sciences and a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (// NLM collects, organizes, and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals, and the public.