Medical and Other News

I am thrilled to be able to announce that the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library, has joined my organization, the Digital Library Federation (DLF), as its 36th Strategic Member. The NLM joins the U.S. Library of Congress, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the British Library, Oxford University, and many of the most prestigious U.S. research libraries in the DLF’s efforts to shape and define the preservation and access of digital cultural and educational resources for the public community.

NLM is most widely known for Medline, the national Clinical Trials database, the PubMed database of journal articles, and the PubMedCentral (PMC) database of over one million full-text journal articles in the health sciences. It has been a leader in many other areas of note, including the Visible Human Project, and the preservation of much rare information on the international history and development of medicine – for example, the unique Islamic Medical Manuscripts collection.

The NLM is a leading proponent of open-access. In the midst of high-profile commercial digitization projects, many people do not realize that the NLM has long been at the forefront of journal digitization, and with the assistance of the Wellcome Trust and JISC in the U.K., has facilitated the entry in the public domain of hundreds of thousands of important medical articles:

Many of [NLM’s] participating publishers have also benefited from the PMC Back Issue Digitization Project, where NLM scans older issues from cover to cover, starting with volume 1, and creates PubMed citations for articles that are not in PubMed. Jointly sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK, the NLM scanning project has collected and collated over 5 million pages of material. As of June 2007, these scanned articles accounted for 675,000 of the million articles in PMC.

To the NLM: we are ennobled by your presence, and you are most welcome among our company!

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In other news, I will be (unfortunately following the heat wave east) to attend a small conference on the opportunities and challenges posted by visual media in research and teaching, from, and after, which I hope to post updates of the interesting work and challenges confronting scholars as they utilize video, images, and GIS data to learn about our world.

Also next week, I will be hosting a private summit on public access film/video digitization; more information on that will follow as soon as I can prepare it.

Finally, the week of July 16, I hope to record and present a podcast with an innovative young journalist, Kara Andrade, who does work in Latin America as well as in a diversity of communities within the United States. I hope to speak with her about the use of video and images to tell stories, and reaching out through new media to people and places that are less often covered in mainstream American media. If you have questions you think would be great, please let me know!