The NLM was established in 1836 as the library of the Army Surgeon General’s Office. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and its Medical Museum were founded in 1862 as the Army Medical Museum.
Throughout their history the Army Medical Library and the Army Medical Museum often shared quarters. From 1866 to 1887, they were housed in Ford’s Theatre after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
In 1956, the Library collection was transferred from the control of the Department of Defense to the Public Health Service of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and renamed the National Library of Medicine. The Library moved to its current quarters in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in 1962.
With roots in the 19th century, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the world’s leader in medical research. Comprised of 27 separate Institutes and Centers, NIH is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research, providing leadership and financial support to top scientists in every state in the nation and throughout the world.
National Library of Medicine Databases
The National Library of Medicine provides information from 86 databases and may be found by searching www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/.
Many of the most frequently used databases are described below.
- MedlinePlus – Over 700 diseases and health conditions are described including preventative measures, diagnostic tests and therapeutic regimens.
- NIH Senior Health – A database designed for seniors with special adjuncts including large print, audio presentations, covering diseases particularly associated with senior citizens.
- PubMed – 16 million articles indexed from 4,900 biomedical journals from throughout the world with both abstracts and full text.
- Entrez – Simultaneous search for multiple life sciences databases at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
- GenBank – NIH genetic sequence database, an annotated collection of all publicly available DNA sequences. GenBank records are annotated using a standard set of biological terms and show these annotations in a Feature Table.
- Protein Database – Contains sequence data from the translated coding regions from DNA sequences in GenBank, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ) as well as protein sequences submitted to Protein Information Resource (PIR), SWISS-PROT, Protein Research Foundation (PRF), and Protein Data Bank (PDB).
- PubChem – Organized as three linked databases of small molecular with potential biological activity in a molecular library.
- Genetics Home Reference – over 600 genetic diseases are described with diagnostic and therapeutic measures.
- ClinicalTrials.gov – 29,000 clinical trials are described with 9,000 now active.
- Toxnet – Databases on hazardous chemicals, toxic releases and environmental health from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, other US government agencies and the World Health Organization.
- Visible Human – Creation of complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of the normal male and female human bodies. The long-term goal of the Visible Human Project is to produce a system of knowledge structures that will transparently link visual knowledge forms to symbolic knowledge formats such as the names of body parts.
- Profiles in Science – 18 prominent scientists in research and public health profiled.
- UMLS (Unified Medical Language System) – Database of biomedical vocabularies related semantic and lexical resources for system developers.
- Locator Plus – NLM’s catalog of books, journal title, and audiovisual materials.
- NLM Extramural Grants – Provides grants, contracts and fellowships to organizations and individuals interested in applying computers and telecommunication for improving storage, retrieval, access, and use of biomedical information.