Skip to main content

U.S. National Library of Medicine: Home

National Library of Medicine

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has been a center of information innovation since its founding in 1836. The world’s largest biomedical library, NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. It also supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics and health information technology. In addition, the Library coordinates a 6,500-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine that promotes and provides access to health information in communities across the United States.

History of NLM

The NLM History of Medicine Division (HMD) collects, preserves, makes available, and interprets for diverse audiences one of the world’s richest collections of historical material related to health and disease. Spanning ten centuries, encompassing a variety of digital and physical formats, and originating from nearly every part of the globe, the collections include:

  • Terabytes of born-digital content, including web sites, blogs, and social media

  • Manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 21st centuries, including the earliest anatomical drawings and the papers of Nobel Prize winning researchers, U.S. Surgeons General, and leaders in the fields of medicine and public health

  • Over 600,000 printed works, including 580 incunabula (Western books printed before 1501), some 57,000 16th - 18th century books, and over 400,000 titles published between 1801 and 1913

  • Organizational archives from such groups as the Medical Library Association and the American College of Nurse-Midwives

  • Over 10,000 audiovisuals

  • Over 150,000 prints and photographs

Grant Programs

Research Support

Grants are available for fundamental and applied research in biomedical informatics and data science. Areas of research interest include: representation, organization and retrieval of biomedical and biological data and images; enhancement of human intellectual capacities through virtual reality, dynamic modeling, artificial intelligence, and machine learning; medical decision-making; linguistic analysis for natural language processing and understanding; informatics topics relevant to public health and informatics for disaster management.

Resource Support

Resource grants are designed to improve the dissemination, management and use of biomedical knowledge. Resource grants support the development and deployment of knowledge management tools, resources, and services that address identified, unmet needs for a broad audience.

Career Development Support

NLM offers an early career development award to help informatics trainees make the transition to a successful independent research career. A loan repayment program provides for the repayment of educational loan debt of qualified health professionals.

Training Support

To assure an adequate national pool of informatics researchers and health information specialists, training is offered through formal programs and individual fellowships.

Small Business Research & Development Support

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grants are made to U.S. small businesses that seek to undertake informatics research and development leading to commercialization. The STTR program requires a small business applicant organization to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II.