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The Technical Services Division (TSD), Library Operations, National Library of Medicine, is responsible for the selection, acquisition, and cataloging of all materials for the NLM modern collection. TSD coordinates technical services programs and projects with the library community including other national and research libraries in the U.S. and abroad, several library associations, and other Government and non-Government organizations.

Office of the Chief

The TSD Office of the Chief (OC) focuses on Division-wide planning and administration, budgeting, policy, and collaborative activities. The OC leads the periodic review and revision of the Collection Development Guidelines of the National Library of Medicine, oversees the PubMed Central (PMC) Journal Review Program, and approves selection of PMC journals. The Chief serves as the NLM collection development officer and represents NLM as a standing member of two American Library Association Groups: Technical Services Directors of Large Research Libraries and Chief Collection Development Officers of Large Research Libraries.

Collection Development and Acquisitions Section

The Collection Development and Acquisitions Section selects and acquires materials for the NLM modern biomedical literature collection, including print and electronic resources and other digital content. NLM librarians annually review thousands of titles and select serials, monographs, audiovisuals, and other materials published world-wide in more than 55 languages. Staff manage MEDLINE and PMC application processing and coordinate meetings of the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC). Staff also assist in the selection of materials to digitize from the NLM collection, provide foreign language support for MedlinePlus, and review content for inclusion in Bookshelf.

The Section provides initial bibliographic control for selected resources. Materials are acquired through firm order and approval plan arrangements with domestic and foreign publishers and vendors, subscription vendors, and the Library of Congress Overseas Offices. The Section licenses and manages access to electronic resources. For further information, see the Section Home Page.

Cataloging and Metadata Management Section

The Cataloging and Metadata Management Section is responsible for review and development of cataloging policies for descriptive and subject cataloging and classification of modern print, audiovisual, and electronic resources acquired for the NLM collection. The Section creates and maintains the bibliographic records resident in NLM's public access catalogs, the LocatorPlus Catalog and the NLM Catalog. The LocatorPlus Catalog contains records in the MARC 21 format and displays holdings and item availability. The NLM Catalog uses the NCBI Entrez retrieval system and records are structured in a locally defined XML format. See Bibliographic Records Accessible on the Web for additional information.

NLM bibliographic records are available via ftp in MARC 21 format or in XML format. For further information, see NLM Data Distribution Program.

The Section maintains and develops the NLM Classification, a scheme for the shelf arrangement of medical literature in libraries. The Section also maintains NLM's internal authority file used in the creation of bibliographic records, including over 1.2 million name, title, and subject heading records and assigns the NLM title abbreviations for indexed serials.

For further information, see the Section Home Page.

Library Technology Services Section

The Library Technology Services Section manages the bibliographic and digital library systems used to support the Division’s collection development, acquisitions, licensing, electronic resources management, and cataloging operations. These systems also support a broad range of NLM services including collection management, circulation, preservation, indexing, and access to the NLM collection.

The Section coordinates the maintenance, development, testing, training, and documentation for numerous systems, including the NLM Library Services Platform, online public access catalog LocatorPlus Catalog, and systems to support NLM selection work and indexing and citation creation activities. The Section leads the development of NLM’s repository, Digital Collections.

Section staff evaluate and test NLM desktop software applications and provide first-level hardware and software desktop support for the Division.

Cooperative Programs

The Technical Services Division coordinates its collection development policies and retention practices with the Library of Congress and the National Agricultural Library.

TSD staff participate in the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), a coalition of libraries organized to promote effective cooperative cataloging by increasing the availability of standard bibliographic records. Under the PCC umbrella, TSD:

  • Supplies new serials cataloging information to the CONSER database via the OCLC system. CONSER, the cooperative online serials bibliographic record component of the PCC, is an authoritative source for bibliographic records, documentation, and training materials for serials cataloging.
  • Participates in the Cataloging-in-Publication (CIP) Program with the Library of Congress in which books are cataloged in advance of publication. When the book is published, the publisher includes the CIP data on the copyright page thereby facilitating book processing for libraries and book dealers.
  • Contributes records for English-language materials to BIBCO, the monographic bibliographic record component of the PCC.
  • Contributes name authority records used in NLM cataloging to the Library of Congress for NACO, the name authority program component of the PCC.

For general information on NLM services, contact:

National Library of Medicine
Customer Service
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Telephone: 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)
email: //
NLM Customer Service Form at Contact NLM

Last Reviewed: July 21, 2021