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Fact Sheet
Access to Audiovisual Materials

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has over 60,000 audiovisual programs in almost 40 formats. The AV collection is in English and several foreign languages, among them, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, and Arabic. Over 6,300 are of historical interest.

Lending Policy

  • Most audiovisuals are available for loan to any library in the United States.
  • Individuals must borrow these materials through a local library.
  • For more information on borrowing audiovisuals, see the Fact Sheet - Interlibrary Loan at //

Stock Images & Footage

  • The Images from the History of Medicine is a database of more than 70,000 images of photographs, artwork, and printed texts illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine, which may be viewed at
  • For a list of companies that provide stock images or media footage, go to
    // The NLM does not provide stock image or media footage.

Copying Materials

  • You may not duplicate audiovisual or computer programs from the NLM collection.
  • To purchase copies of films and videos, see information from the History of Medicine Division at //

Access to Audiovisuals While Visiting the NLM

The Main Reading Room and the History of Medicine (HMD) Reading Room have equipment for viewing materials and programs.There are some audiovisual materials located in the Main Reading Room but the majority of the collection is located in the Library's closed stacks. To gain access to this collection, you need to place a request into the NLM online catalog, LocatorPlus at at //

You can:

  • Search by title, subject, or author/producer or
  • Use Quick Limits to limit your search to "Audiovisuals and Computer Files" or
  • Use the Limits function to search by Medium--videorecording, electronic resource, etc.
  • More information, such as abstracts and copyright holders, can be found in the "Detailed View".

Pick up General Collection materials at the Circulation Desk.

The historical collection is accessed through the HMD Reading Room. Historical AV viewing materials are located in a locked cage, so they cannot be accessed through the General Collection. When HMD is closed (on Saturday), AV materials cannot be accessed. For more information on motion picture films, formats produced before 1970, filmstrips, images, and selected programs of historical interest, contact HMD at //  e-mail: NLM Customer Support.

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
Alphabetical list: //
Subject list: //

Or write to:

Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6308
Fax: (301) 496-4450