Here at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), we are responsible for raising awareness of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). With that in mind, I sent a survey to New England hospital librarians in May 2018. I offered a list of NLM databases and services. I asked librarians to identify the topics they were most interested in learning about. Dietary supplements and LinkOut were tied for first place. These results are handy. The first topic allows us to raise awareness of a database; the second prompts us to explore a service of the National Library of Medicine.
According to this 2013 announcement from the National Institutes of Health:
Dietary supplements, taken regularly by about half of U.S. adults, can add significant amounts of nutrients and other ingredients to the diet. Supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and more. They come in many different forms, including tablets, capsules, and powders, as well as liquids and energy bars. Popular supplements include vitamins D and E; minerals like calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and specialty products like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils.
The Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD) is a joint project of the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Library of Medicine. The database was developed as a resource for the research community, health care providers and the public. DSLD provides ready access to label information for dietary supplements marketed in the United States. The content of this class is relevant for those working in consumer health information services.
We will be offering a webinar this fall to explore the DSLD. Dietary Supplement Database: Advanced Search and Download is scheduled for 2:00 PM ET on Thursday, September 13. This webinar gives an overview of the database, including filtering for ingredients, specific populations (pregnant/lactating, children, seniors) and health claims. We will review methods of downloading data sets.
For those working directly with consumers, we will highlight the Dietary Supplements Health Topics page in MedlinePlus.gov. Many of the linked resources are to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements and the DSLD.
In response to the interest in LinkOut, we are scheduling a webinar with Erin Latta from the National DOCLINE Coordination Office. Stay tuned for details. I hope you will join me in learning about these freely available databases and services from the National Library of Medicine.