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, social media, and product homepages.
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 its 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. 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 plans to reduce the footprint of public spaces and increase its flexible and collaborative workspaces during an expected three-year renovation in 2020-2022.
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 the NNCO and staff from other NLM units with significant outreach responsibilities. 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.