Skip Navigation Bar

Collection Development Manual

Web Content

Web sites, blogs, social media and other web content are born digital materials that play an increasingly important role in documenting the scholarly biomedical record and illustrating a diversity of philosophical and cultural perspectives in health and medicine. NLM selectively aggregates and maintains for permanent access web content that:

  • Records challenges and progress in research in biomedicine,
  • Documents the practice and teaching of medicine,
  • Demonstrates how health services are organized, delivered and financed,
  • Chronicles the development and implementation of policy that affects health services,
  • Illustrates the public perception of medical practice and public health, and
  • Contributes to the understanding and impact of global health events.
NLM's web collecting and archiving are primarily collection-based activities. Multiple web sites are collected as part of a broader theme, event or topic. NLM gives highest priority to content that is at-risk of loss or that is believed to be of vital interest to current and future NLM audiences and unlikely to be preserved elsewhere. The Library's goal is to collect and preserve selected web content at a particular point in time (i.e., snapshots) or over a period of time (e.g., daily, monthly, quarterly, etc.).
NLM collaborates with other organizations and libraries to collect and preserve web content which crosses collecting boundaries.
NLM engages in several types of collecting, including:
In response to a health crisis, such as a deadly epidemic, NLM selects web sites and social media documenting the government and non-government responses; early responders; news; perspectives of those experiencing the disaster first-hand as patients, victims or caregivers; and/or political debates surrounding the disaster. Content in this type of collection is crawled frequently for a specified period of time.
NLM may collect web content related to events where the NLM Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) is activated. NLM also collects web content related to events where the World Health Organization has declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Examples of event-based collecting are: "Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus" and "Global Health Events".
NLM uses other triggers for determining whether and for how long to collect content documenting an event, including:

  • Dominance in the news media,
  • Frequency of new or changing content, and
  • Social media tracking.
Curated collections around a particular theme or topic are gathered and could complement a major physical exhibition or symposium. Examples of thematic collecting are "Disorders of the Developing and Aging Brain: Autism and Alzheimer's on the Web" and "Health and Medicine Blogs".
NLM institutional web archive
NLM periodically captures and archives large portions of its own web domain, including NLM blogs and social media.
See also: