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MLA 2020: National Library of Medicine Updates

In the video below, Dr. Patti Brennan, Director, National Library of Medicine (NLM), Dianne Babski, Acting Associate Director, Library Operations, NLM, and Amanda J. Wilson, Chief, Office of Engagement and Training, NLM, provide the NLM update during the Medical Library Association 2020 vConference. View more updates after the video.

Anticipating the Future of Biomedical Communication

Learn about the future of biomedical communication.

Data Science@NLM

Learn about the Data Science @NLM Training Program. This program provides targeted training on data science to NLM staff.

Friends of the National Library of Medicine (FNLM)

Friends of the National Library of Medicine (FNLM) is a coalition of individuals, medical associations and societies, hospitals, health science libraries, corporations, and foundations dedicated to increasing public visibility for, appreciation of, and engagement with the National Library of Medicine (NLM). FNLM, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports NLM’s many programs in research, education, and public service.

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Healthy AI

Learn about NLM’s research in precision health.

Intramural Researcher Profile

View this profile of Xiaofang Jiang, a researcher at NLM.


Learn about LitCOVID, a hub for up-to-date literature about the virus.

NLM Associate Fellowship Program

Learn about the NLM Associate Fellowship Program, a fellowship for early career librarians interested in health sciences and leadership.

NLM Welcome Video

Watch this video for an overview of NLM’s mission and resources.

NNLM Outreach: Reducing Health Disparities with Technology in West Virginia

Learn about a program that aims to reduce health disparities in rural communities.

Science Day at NIH

Learn about this program in which students from the Washington D.C. area are invited to NIH to learn about careers in science and interact with NIH researchers.


CatfilePlus and Serfile Updates

In April 2020, NLM made its cataloging records in CatfilePlus and Serfile available for download in MARCXML format. This is in addition to the current distribution in MARC21 and NLMXML. We hope this will encourage wider use of our bibliographic data, as MARCXML is a format widely known and used throughout the library community. Featured Image Updates

View this PowerPoint presentation [PPT, 1.4 MB] to learn about several exciting updates and new features that have been added to

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History of Medicine Division Updates

Stay up to date on History of Medicine Division news and updates by reading the Circulating Now blog.

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IndexCat Updates

IndexCat is a database containing the bibliographic citations of all five printed series of the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office; with direct access to the NLM online catalog, LocatorPlus. It also contains eTK for citations to medieval Latin texts and eVK2 for medieval English texts. Check out IndexCat to see the latest updates.

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  • In FY2019, 956,390 citations were indexed for MEDLINE.
  • MEDLINE Year-End Processing (YEP) occurred over December 4-5, 2019, and 971,137 citations were modified during this processing.
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MedlinePlus Updates

Check out some current highlights from MedlinePlus:

  • Recent health topics added to MedlinePlus include HIV: PrEP and PEP, How to Improve Mental Health, Older Adult Mental Health, and Telehealth.
  • The collection of medical tests on MedlinePlus has been greatly expanded. Tests covered now include those done outside a laboratory, such as ADHD screening and diabetic foot exam. View the full set of more than 200 medical tests.
  • A new page of health information for participants of the NIH All of Us Research Program is available.
  • A new version of MedlinePlus Connect was released in 2020. It includes a redesigned response page (Web Application), the inclusion of full-text content for lab test responses (Web Service), and the addition of snippets for drug responses.
  • MedlinePlus Connect was enhanced with content from three NIH Institutes: the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
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MeSH Updates

The 2020 MeSH vocabulary was released in November 2019. The new 2020 MeSH vocabulary contains 29,640 descriptors; 294 new descriptors were added and 5 were deleted. No new subheadings were added.

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NICHSR Updates

NLM Webinar: NLM and Support for Health Services Research: Assessing Current Needs and Planning for the Future

Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 12:00PM - 1:00PM (EST), NLM will host a webinar that will explore the critical issues that are driving the information needs of health services researchers. The discussion, with four health services researchers will focus on three strategic questions: 1. What services or resources that NLM currently offers in the areas of health services delivery or health services research do you use? 2. What tools, data, resources, or health services literature are the most critical for NLM to collect or support? 3. What health services research areas or policy topics are the most critical for NLM to support?

For more information and a registration link, visit:

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Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) Updates


NIH CDE Repository Usability Study Updates

A usability study was conducted for the NIH Common Data Elements (CDE) Repository. Activities included analyzing user needs regarding CDEs and the CDE Repository, conducting usability testing, and reviewing the technical infrastructure. The final report made recommendations about the future of the repository.

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NIH Preprint Pilot Updates

On June 9, 2020, NLM launched a pilot project to test the viability of making preprints resulting from NIH-funded research available via PubMed Central (PMC). The primary goal of the NIH Preprint Pilot is to explore approaches to increasing the discoverability of early NIH research results. Following standard NLM practice, a citation for each preprint record in PMC will also be available in PubMed to further increase the discoverability of this content. The pilot will run for a minimum of 12 months. Quarterly updates will be posted to the NLM Technical Bulletin and lessons learned during the pilot will inform future NLM efforts with preprints.

The first phase of the pilot is focused on increasing the discoverability of preprints with NIH support that relate to the current COVID-19 pandemic. NLM is leveraging the iSearch COVID-19 Portfolio tool developed by the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis to identify preprints reporting on COVID-19 research from eligible preprint servers. As of July 23, nearly 700 preprints meeting these criteria had been identified and made searchable in NLM's databases.

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NLM Classification Updates

The 2020 summer version of the NLM Classification, scheduled to be published late August 2020, will encompass the systematic review of the WD (Disorders of Systemic, Metabolic or Environmental Origin, etc.) and WO (Surgery) schedules and other miscellaneous updates. The Classification will also have a new look and feel as the underlying system and public interface are being updated.

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NLM Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP) Updates

Visit the Grants and Funding: Extramural Programs (EP) page to learn more about grant programs at NLM. See below to learn more about grants and funding at NLM.

Research Support
Grants are available for fundamental and applied research in biomedical informatics and data science. Areas of research interest include: representation, organization and retrieval of biomedical and biological data and images; enhancement of human intellectual capacities through virtual reality, dynamic modeling, artificial intelligence, and machine learning; medical decision-making; linguistic analyses for natural language processing and understanding; informatics topics relevant to public health and informatics for disaster management.

Resource Support
Resource grants are designed to improve the dissemination, management, and use of biomedical knowledge. Resource grants support the development and deployment of knowledge management tools, resources, and services that address identified, unmet needs for a broad audience.

Career Development Support
NLM offers an early career development award to help informatics trainees make the transition to a successful independent research career. A loan repayment program provides for the repayment of educational loan debt of qualified health professionals.

Training Support
To assure an adequate national pool of informatics researchers and health information specialists, training is offered through formal programs and individual fellowships.

All applicants and grantees should register for the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) Commons, where NIH extramural grantee organizations and grantees can receive and transmit information about their grants, including summary statements and progress reports. The ERA Commons is divided into both unrestricted and restricted portions that provide for public and confidential information, respectively. Visit the eRA Commons website for more information and user support.

The NIH Office of Extramural Research (OER) Grants page is the definitive site for finding application and progress report forms, grants news, and policy guidelines for the NIH.

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NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine Updates

The NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine provides up to $10,000 to support onsite research in the historical collections of NLM. Learn more about the fellowship and how to apply.

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Profiles in Science Updates

Profiles in Science was relaunched in September 2019. Profiles in Science presents the lives and work of innovators in science, medicine, and public health through in-depth research, curation, and digitization of archival collection materials. Read this blog post to learn more about the relaunch.

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PubMed Updates

View this PowerPoint presentation [PPT, 4.7MB] to learn about the launch of the new PubMed, which includes several new features.

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RxNorm Updates

When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the RxNorm team reviewed and revised procedures to consider the inclusion of investigational drugs.

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Scan-on-Demand Program Updates

The Scan-on-Demand program for early books is available. Read this blog post to learn more about the Scan-on-Demand program.

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SNOMED Updates

The updated SNOMED CT International Edition and SNOMED CT United States Edition were released in early 2020.

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TOXNET Updates

The TOXNET search system and accompanying databases were retired or moved with other NLM systems officially on December 16, 2019. Read the “TOXNET Update: New Locations for TOXNET Content” Technical Bulletin article for information on alternative locations for many of the TOXNET databases.

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Value Set Authority Center (VSAC) Updates

In May 2020, the Value Set Authority Center (VSAC) published the eCQM annual update for the 2021 reporting period for Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), and the 2021 performance period for Eligible Professionals and Eligible Clinicians. capability brochure is the world’s largest database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted in the United States and around the world.

MedlinePlus capability brochure in English


MedlinePlus is a free online health information resource for patients and their families and friends.

MedlinePlus capability brochure in Spanish

MedlinePlus en español

MedlinePlus en español contains the same health information found on MedlinePlus in Spanish.

MedlinePlus Connect capability brochure

MedlinePlus Connect

MedlinePlus Connect is a free service from NLM. This service allows health organizations and health IT providers to link patient portals and electronic health record (EHR) systems to MedlinePlus.

PubMed capability brochure


PubMed is a free database supporting the search and retrieval of biomedical and life sciences literature. It is the most heavily used biomedical literature database in the world.

NLM Traveling Exhibitions capability brochure

Traveling Exhibitions

NLM Traveling Exhibitions present inspiring stories about history, society, and medicine drawn from the world-renowned collection of NLM.

NLM’s Traveling Exhibitions are provided for free to hundreds of libraries and cultural institutions across the United States and around the world. These displays help connect visitors to NLM’s trusted health information resources.

Last Reviewed: September 11, 2020