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Highlights of NLM Update @ MLA 2019

Posted by on May 24th, 2019 Posted in: General, NLM Products, Outreach, PubMed

During the May 7 NLM Update at the Medical Library Association 2019 Annual Meeting, Janice Kelly, acting deputy associate director of NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) Division, reflected on the history of SIS from 1967 to 2019. From the 1960’s focus on environmental health and toxicology to the 1980’s HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials registry and AIDSInfo to, more recently, disaster health information resources, SIS has provided information on a variety of topics. In addition to honoring more than 50 years of groundbreaking work, Ms. Kelly’s historical perspective provided insight into the ways in which NLM has responded to the evolving health information needs within diverse communities. Going forward, some SIS resources will sunset, some will be integrated into other resources or platforms, and some will continue. Users should watch for update notices in the NLM Technical Bulletin, SIS home page, social media, and product homepages.

woman giving a presentation with a projected slide behind her

Janice Kelly recaps the history of Specialized Information Services Division.

NLM Deputy Director Jerry Sheehan described how an internal review of products and services guided NLM’s reorganization. As part of the strategic plan implementation, NLM assessed the quality and sustainability of many of its public offerings and its internal structure, looking for commonalities and redundancies. As a result, the Library has been, and will continue, consolidating resources with complementary content and realigning offices according to functions and staff expertise. NLM further aims to elevate the user experience through a common technical platform and the elimination of unnecessary organizational boundaries. Some key resources, such as TOXNET and ClinicalTrials.gov, moved to more modern, robust technical platforms to ensure security and sustainability. As NLM continues to examine its offerings, updated will be posted in the NLM Technical Bulletin. Through its connections with the MLA community and reflections on the past, NLM looks forward to elevating its products and services to support the evolution of librarianship and the empowerment of communities.

Joyce Backus, associate director of Library Operations, described the evolution of PubMed Labs, which is expected to officially launch in September. New features include a redesigned advanced search page for desktop and mobile devices, an associated data facet on the search results page, share and cite buttons, and additional features to enable navigation across abstract pages. Current PubMed and PubMed Labs will run concurrently from September through December, and then current PubMed will be archived in January, 2020. As the Library’s online presence transforms, so, too, will the physical Library space. With more and more of its content reaching people online, NLM is planning a four-year renovation of the main Library building, beginning in 2020. The renovation will create more flexible work spaces for more than 150 people on the first floor and mezzanine, a new integrated reading room for patrons, and a state-of-the-art training facility, as well as contribute to ongoing efforts to increase collection space.

Amanda Wilson, familiar to many as the Head of the National Network Coordinating Office (NNCO), discussed the newly minted Office of Engagement and Training (OET), officially launching in June, 2019. A singular home for NLM’s outreach operation, the OET will include staff and services from other NLM units with significant outreach responsibilities, along with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Ms. Wilson announced that current NNLM membership stands at 7,690, a 546 increase over 2018. There were 260 NNLM class offerings during the past year, with 20,000 training registrations. Looking toward the next five-year NNLM funding cycle in 2021-2026, an NNLM Request for Information (RFI) will be issued in June or July, followed by a 60-day response period. After analysis of RFI responses and planning for the next iteration of NNLM, a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is expected to be issued in the fall of 2020. Proposals will be due in late 2020 or early 2021.

Some NLM staff have taken on new roles. For instance, Stacey Arnesen, who led the Disaster Information Management Research Center, is now Deputy Director for the Public Services Division and Jeanne Goshorn, who led the Biomedical Information Services Branch, is now Deputy Director for the Bibliographic Services Division. Victor Cid joined the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications’ Cognitive Science Branch and Dan Gerendasy, Chief of International Programs, kept his same role and joined OET.

Image of the author ABOUT Alan Carr
Alan Carr is the Associate Director, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Southwest Region, based at UCLA.

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This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number UG4LM012341 with the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.

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