National Library of Medicine (NLM)


A component of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Library of Medicine is the world's largest biomedical library which traces its roots to 1836 and the commitment of the second US Army Surgeon General to purchase books and journals for active-duty medical officers. Today, the NLM maintains and makes available a vast collection of over twelve million books, journals, manuscripts, audiovisuals, and other forms of medical information. It also 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. As a public institution with over one-hundred and-seventy-five years of experience in collecting materials and providing information and research services in all areas of biomedicine and health care, the NLM is committed to introducing more audiences to its unique holdings and rich sets of data. The NLM is also committed to developing new and innovative collaborations that engages its data and, in doing so, advance research, teaching, and public understanding of the past, present, and future of medical science and public health. 

A complete listing of all NLM databases and related resources & APIs, is available at:   

Of particular interest to digital humanists will be XML datasets and associated DTDs from:

  • The NLM’s IndexCat™ database, which encompasses more than 3.7 million history of medicine bibliographic items spanning five centuries, covering a wide range of subjects such as the basic sciences, scientific research, civilian and military medicine, public health, and hospital administration
  • Two unique collections, encompassing over 42,000 records of incipits, or the beginning words of a medieval manuscript or early printed book, covering various medical and scientific writings on topics as diverse as astronomy, astrology, geometry, agriculture, household skills, book production, occult science, natural science, and mathematics, as these disciplines and others were largely intermingled in the medieval period of European history.
  • MEDLINE®/PubMed® data, which includes over 22 million references to biomedical and life sciences journal articles back to 1946, and, for some journals, much earlier.


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