The National Library of Medicine is run by the United States federal government and is located at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. It is the largest medical library in the world. The collection includes more than 700 million books, journals, technical reports, manuscripts, microfilms, photographs, and images on medicine. It has a large collection of some of the world's oldest and rarest medical works. The NLM published the Index Medicus from 1879 until 2004. It was a guide to medical articles in over 4,000 journals. They stopped publishing the Index Medicus in 2004 because it was easily accessible online through PubMed.


Established by Congress in 1988, the NLM runs the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The center works to incorporate information science in the human genome research, making the research available through biological databases that are freely assessable through the internet by the Entrez search engine and PubMed. The NCBI is a leader in computerized molecular biology, and creating computer solutions for the management and usage of the quickly growing volume of genome research. The NCBI distributes GenBank, a collection of all known DNA sequences, and also provides access to the assembled Human Genome data.

Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) is also run by the NLM. The LHNCBC works to employ technology to organize, share, and use biomedical information along with technology, the humanities, and the physical, life, and social sciences. The center is using modern communications technologies to improve hearth care related projects. For examples telemedicaine, testbed networks, virtual reality, and a Unified Medical Language System. The Visible Human Project has created a large digital image library consisting of a complete 3-D model, with all anatomical details, of a male and female body. You can access the Laboratories notes, photos, and notes from important American scientists from the Center’s Web site, “Profiles in Science.”

In 1967 the Toxicology and Environmental Health Program (TEHIP) was established at the NLM. It is responsible for taking literature and files from governmental and non-governmental organizations and creating databases from them. The TEHIP started the TOXNET (Toxicology Data Network) system of data banks useful in chemical emergency response and other programs intended for public use. These resources can be searched online free.

Related Terminology:

Index Medicus
Visible Human Project
Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC)
Toxicology and Environmental Health Program (TEHIP)
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

National Library of Medicine Web page
Wikipedia: United States National Library of Medicine

Web Resources:
Wikipedia: National Center for Biotechnology Information
National Center for Biotechnology Information
TOXNET: Toxicologygy Data Network
About Entrez
Medline/PubMed Search Engine