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NLM @ MLA'21: NLM Update

Millions of scientists, health professionals and the public use NLM’s products, programs and services every day. On May 27, 2021, during the Medical Library Association’s 2021 vConference, NLM leadership provided updates that highlight NLM’s available resources and changes to NLM over the past year.

NLM Three Rs logo - Reflect, Reimagine, Reenergize
NLM Director Dr. Patricia Flatley Brenanan, NLM Associate Director for Library Operations Dianne Babski and Acting Director for the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications Dr. Olivier Bodenreider provided the 2021 NLM Update.

View the presentation [PDF, 15MB] View the Q&A Summary [PDF, 230KB]

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PubMed Icon

PubMed comprises more than 32 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals and online books.

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MedlinePlus Icon

MedlinePlus is NLM's online health information resource for patients and their families and friends.

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MeSH Icon

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) is the NLM controlled vocabulary thesaurus used for indexing articles for PubMed.

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Clinical Trials Icon is a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world.

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Program and Product Updates Featured Image Updates

View this PowerPoint presentation [PPT, 1.4 MB] to learn about exciting features added to and the status of the modernization effort that will deliver an improved user experience on an updated platform.

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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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  • 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 has added several new pages in English and Spanish to help people find relevant information during the pandemic:
COVID-19 English Spanish
COVID-19 Testing English Spanish
COVID-19 Vaccines English Spanish
Vaccine Safety English Spanish
 What are mRNA vaccines and how do they work? English N/A
Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing  English Spanish
Caregiver Health  English Spanish
Telehealth English Spanish



In the Multilingual Collection, links to 14 titles from CDC and FDA on COVID-19 (including emerging information about vaccines) in were added English and 40 other languages.

  • MedlinePlus Genetics launched last fall to provide information about genetic conditions, genes, chromosomes, and more. Much of this information was formerly part of Genetics Home Reference. While most of the new pages are only available in English, we have begun translation basic genetic information into Spanish.


MedlinePlus Connect

  • New code mappings were created to provide access to COVID-19 diagnosis, testing, and vaccine information via MedlinePlus Connect. 
  • Work began on adding a new terminology, CPT (Current Procedural Terminology), to MedlinePlus Connect.  The addition of this terminology expands the scope of requests that Connect can respond to with MedlinePlus content.  MedlinePlus Connect plans to accept CPT code requests starting in late 2021.


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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 Updates

Enhancements have been made to the NIH Common Data Elements (CDE) Repository based on the 2020 usability study recommendations. The NIH CDE Repository team is working closely with the new NIH CDE Governance Committee to improve the Repository platform, policies, and procedures, to better support their common goals. The first NIH-endorsed CDEs (a collection of COVID-19 CDEs) will be published in the Repository soon.

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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 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

A new library services platform and public catalog is coming soon. View the announcement in the May-June 2021 NLM Technical Bulletin.

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RxNorm Updates

RxNorm provides standardized names for clinical drugs and links its names to many of the drug vocabularies commonly used in pharmacy management software. Check out some highlights on how RxNorm improved its content this past year:

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SNOMED Updates

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

Download Capability Brochures 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.

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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: April 28, 2021