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Collection Development Manual

The research environment in medicine, health care and the life sciences has changed markedly in recent years. Emerging scientific disciplines and new technologies, increasing emphasis on basic life sciences and physical sciences research, the growth of global health initiatives, new strategies for addressing health disparities, the trend toward interdisciplinary studies, and the rise of electronic publishing -- these epitomize vibrant change and development in contemporary health research and practice.
The National Library of Medicine has long been committed to anticipating and addressing such emerging trends and changes. That commitment is renewed in this latest version of the Collection Development Manual of the National Library of Medicine (CDM), which captures the Library's collecting policies in many new and changing areas of biomedical information.
Historically, the CDM has strongly influenced international biomedical collecting, scholarship and scientific research. Its parameters shape the internationally renowned collection of the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library and the nation's library of record for biomedicine and health care. This is a substantial endeavor, since the collection includes materials from every country, in most written languages and in many formats -- from ancient manuscripts to born-digital publications. These all are collected with the intent to improve health, to further health care thought and practice, to support life sciences research, and to deliver biomedical information to the widest possible audience. NLM also assumes the critical and unique responsibility of preserving the biomedical literature, both to safeguard biomedical knowledge and to serve the needs of future researchers - always a daunting task, one which has become an even greater challenge in the electronic era.
This publication supersedes the Collection Development Manual of the National Library of Medicine, 3rd edition (1993); and is the latest in a series of collection development policy documents dating back to 1951. The Manual's uses have expanded over the years, and it has come to have a diverse international audience. At NLM, the Manual is used as a working reference for bibliographers; but the Library also employs this policy document to evaluate the effectiveness of its collection activities, and for the development of cooperative programs and services with collaborative associations and institutions. Book dealers, publishers, and donors from around the world refer to the Manual to determine subjects and literature types of collecting interest to NLM. Researchers in numerous disciplines consult the Manual to learn about the Library's history and collections. Librarians use the CDM as a model for their own collection development policymaking and planning. In collaboration with NLM, the Library of Congress and National Agricultural Library review the policies in this document to determine collection boundaries among the three national libraries.
Beginning with this version, the Manual will be available electronically. We hope that in this more widely accessible format, it will inform new audiences about the collection development policies and initiatives of the National Library of Medicine.
Many individuals contributed to this new edition. Special thanks go to the Oversight Committee:
Alison Bunting, M.L.S., Chair and NLM Board of Regents Liaison
Russ B. Altman, M.D., Ph.D.
Duane Arenales, M.L.S. (ex officio)
Peter Scott Cartwright, M.D.
Milton Corn, M.D.
Judith C. Eannarino, M.S.L.S., M.S. (ex officio)
Jonathan Eldredge, M.L.S., Ph.D.
Elizabeth Fee, Ph. D.
Betsy L. Humphreys, M.L.S.
Becky J. Lyon, M.L.S. (ex officio)
Sheldon Kotzin, M.L.S. (ex officio)
Kathy Kranzfelder, M.S.
Katherine B. Majewski, M.L.S. (editorial coordinator)
Mary E. Northridge, M.P.H., Ph.D
Steven J. Phillips, M.D.
Donald A. B. Lindberg, M.D., Director