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NLM Establishes a Five-Year Development Plan for MEDLINE!

Posted by on July 24th, 2018 Posted in: Announcements, Data, NLM Products, PubMed


In December 2016, the National Library of Medicine established the MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) Indexing Assessment Project to evaluate the impact on users of assigning MeSH terms to MEDLINE citations. The project findings confirmed the value of MEDLINE indexing and the value of applying selected non-subject metadata to MEDLINE citations. In response to the findings and as part of its Strategic Plan, NLM created the five-year development plan, MEDLINE 2022. A Working Group, comprised of members from across all NLM departments, was charged with the plan’s implementation.

MEDLINE 2022 has eight specific goals describing challenges that must be addressed to maintain the usefulness of MEDLINE as a tool for discovering and analyzing the biomedical research literature:

  1. Investigate the use of authoritative vocabularies in MEDLINE indexing in addition to, or as a partial replacement for MeSH, for some topics or types of metadata, for example, chemical names.
  2. Implement a range of indexing methods to ensure the timely assignment of MeSH or terms from other approved vocabularies to MEDLINE citations.
  3. Support the discoverability of ClinicalTrials.gov content.
  4. Support the pharmacology and toxicology research communities by sustaining and improving the discoverability of chemical information in MEDLINE/PubMed citations.
  5. Support NIH and other funding organizations by ensuring the discoverability of funding information in MEDLINE/PubMed.
  6. Support the genetics research community by adding relevant gene information to MEDLINE/PubMed citations.
  7. Support the NLM pivot to data science as described in the new NLM Strategic Plan.
  8. Update MEDLINE journal requirements to support these goals and strategies.

The goals of MEDLINE 2022 align with the goals of the NLM Strategic Plan, most importantly Goal 1: Accelerate discovery and advance health by providing the tools for data-driven research. MEDLINE has provided access to the biomedical literature for more than 45 years, evolving as publishing and information retrieval have evolved. The MEDLINE 2022 project aims to ensure that MEDLINE continues to evolve to meet the needs of users in an age of data-driven discovery. NLM will keep its many stakeholders informed of progress with the implementation of MEDLINE 2022 by publishing future NLM Technical Bulletin articles with details about different aspects of this project.

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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