The National Library of Medicine (NLM) located at 8600 Rockville Pike, in Bethesda, Maryland 20014, the world's largest library in a single scientific field, is more than just a collection of materials; it is a service-oriented institution. If the Library's services are effectively utilized, most literature requests and information needs can be satisfied.
The collections housed by the National Library of Medicine comprise nearly 1,400,000 books, journals, and other materials, including 350,000 monographs, 350,000 bound journal volumes, 315,000 theses, 172,000 pamphlets, 1 1 ,000 reels of microfilms, 67,000 portraits and illustrations, and 1000 medical motion pictures, filmstrips, and television titles. Housed in the Library is one of the nation's largest medical history collections, with contents dating from the llth to the mid- 19th century. The NLM history of medicine and other collections may be consulted at the Library, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (These hours are somewhat modified during the summer months.)
How To Use The Collection
Most of the literature in the collection is available on loan through any library; interlibrary loan requests should be submitted through a local medical library, where the staff will fill out the prescribed forms, giving a complete bibliographic citation for each request. Requests may be submitted either by mail or by TWX. The Library's TWX number is 710-824-9619. (Motion pictures will be loaned to health professionals on request to the National Medical Audiovisual Center, 2111 Plaster Bridge Road, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30324.)
The Library's computer-based Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS) was established to achieve rapid bibliographic access to NLM's vast store of biomedical information. It became operational in January 1 964 with the publication of the first computer-produced issue of Index Medicus, a comprehensive, subject-author index to articles from approximately 2300 of the world's biomedical journals. The principal objective of MEDLARS is to provide references to the biomedical literature for researchers, clinicians, and other health professionals. This is accomplished through:
1. preparation of citations for publication in Index Medicus and the NLM Current Catalog
2. preparation of other recurring bibliographies on specialized subjects of wide interest
3. preparation of retrospective, one-time bibliographies (demand searches), produced by high-speed computer-search through the files of journal article citations, in response to requests submitted by health professionals
4. publication and distribution of selected demand searches (designated "Literature Searches") on a wide basis. A complete list of bibliographies is -available on request from NLM.
To provide more rapid dissemination of biomedical information, the Library has been developing a network arrangement through which MEDLARS and interlibrary loan services can be shared more efficiently by medical libraries. In the United States, the network consists of eleven MEDLARS stations and eight regional medical libraries. Although the National Library of Medicine remains the heart of the network, more and more services are being provided directly by regional libraries. Users may request demand searches through a local library.
NLM's bibliographies, catalogs, and other guides to medicai literature may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. (Please do not send orders to the National Library of Medicine.) Remittance should accompany orders, and foreign orders should include an additional twenty-five percent of the domestic price to cover mailing. An updated list is available from the Office of Public Information, NLM.
Of particular interest to those in continuing education:
MEDLARS: 1963- 1967
Comprehensive description of NLM's computer system, MEDLARS (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System). 76 pages with illustrations. Public Health Service Publication No. 1823. 1968.' Price: $0.75.
National Medical Audiovisual Center Catalog
The 1968 NMAC Catalog lists audiovtsuals, available on short-term free loan to health professionals, from NLM's Atlanta-based National Medical Audiovisual Center. National Institutes of Health Publication No. 451. 97 pages. Price: $0.75.
Film Reference Guide for Medicine and Allied Sciences
Published annually for the Federal Advisory Council on Medical Training Aids. The 1968 edition contains information on approximately 2700 films. Public Health Service Publication No. 487, Revised 1968. 386 pages. Price: $2.75. (1969 Supplement, price: $0.75.)