NLM 175th Anniversary (National Library of Medicine, 2011)


[Music] [Narrator:] In 2011 the National Library of Medicine celebrates its 175th anniversary. From John Shaw Billings to Donald A.B. Lindberg… [Dr. Lindberg:] I, Donald Lindberg… [Narrator:] It’s August 1984 and Dr. Lindberg is sworn in as director of the National Library of Medicine, inheriting the mantle of leadership and commitment to excellence that is traced to the iconic Dr. Billings. From the end of the Civil War to 1873, Lieutenant Colonel John Shaw Billings increases the library of the Army Surgeon General from 600 volumes to 50,000 volumes, and in 1879 he creates the Index Medicus, a truly international comprehensive index of the medical literature of the day. Through the years NLM grows steadily in importance and breadth of mission, always building upon its founding roots. In 1965 Congress passes the Medical Library Assistance Act, which launches the National Network of Libraries of Medicine anchored by eight regional medical libraries. The Regional Medical Libraries and National Network of Libraries of Medicine are vital to NLM’s outreach efforts. [Dr. Angela Ruffin:] All of these are avenues in which NLM is able to reach out to underserved and minority populations. In 1968 it is again the US Congress where a Joint Resolution establishes the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, which is to be the research and development arm of the library, harnessing the fruits of the computer revolution. [Betsy Humphreys:] And the notion that we should build computer systems that could understand medical meaning is an idea that Don Lindberg came to the National Library of Medicine with in 1984. In 1986 the NLM develops a visionary long-range plan that endorses both the concept of the library taking an active role in biotechnology information and the creation of
a national center. So in 1988 a congressional mandate gives birth to NCBI, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and with the worldwide explosion of medical information and the ever-increasing appetite for more, NCBI quickly becomes ground zero for such projects as the Human Genome and PubMed Central. [Dr. Lindberg:] NCBI has already had a profound effect on how biomedical science is conducted not just in the US, but around the world. [Narrator:] Another outgrowth of the long-range plan is the development of two unprecedented image-based “Visible Human” datasets, male and female. As the public demands more and more health information, NLM responds with an array of programs
including ClinicalTrials.gov, the Disaster Information Management
Research Center, health and safety information in the Household Products Database, MEDLINE Plus, and mobile MEDLINE Plus. There is the MEDLINE Plus Twitter feed and the MEDLINE Plus magazine in print and on the Internet. Also the library is a major player in the national quest for electronic
patient records, and NLM research and training grants support rigorous scientific study nationwide and internationally in biomedical informatics and bioinformatics. [Music] [Dr. Lindberg:] it does help a lot to set out in the morning being proud of your institution. I still can honestly say that every morning I do feel that way. [Narrator:] NLM continues to discover innovative ways to meet its mandate to collect, organize, and make available biomedical information to scientists, educators, practitioners, and just plain everybody for the benefit of the public’s health. [Dr. Lindberg:] It’s a great place, great people… [Music]

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