The Training Page
From the Fellows Committee
NIH’s National Library of Medicine Offers a Wealth of Resources
BY LARISA GEARHART-SERNA, NCI
What started in 1836 as a small collection of medical literature in the office of the United States Army Surgeon General has evolved into the world's largest biomedical library. That, of course, is the NIH National Library of Medicine (NLM), which now boasts a multitude of products and services and a globally admired collection spanning ten centuries, reflecting remarkable depth and breadth. These resources and collections are available to researchers, healthcare professionals, librarians, publishers, and the public.
What you might not know, however, is that the NLM has many offerings that are curated to serve the intramural research community at NIH. Read on for information about the top NLM offerings for trainees, as well as NIH scientists and staff.
The digital era has been kind to the NLM, leading to the creation of well-known resources such as MEDLINE, ClinicalTrials.gov, and PubMed. NLM’s collection and reach have grown dramatically over the years, and they now partner with more than 20 countries and a wide variety of consumers and health professionals around the world. While it may seem daunting to sort through and discover all that you have access to, not to worry—begin your journey on the NLM Data Discovery site, where you can filter search results and find the most accessed NLM products and most accessed material within the full catalog.
Common research resources
Beyond PubMed, the NLM offers a myriad of products and services available to all biomedical researchers both at and outside of the NIH. This includes data sets, tools, and instruction on new methods. While computational molecular biologists and human genome researchers have traditionally found the various NLM biomedical resources particularly helpful, those same tools can be useful across many different biomedical fields. Those resources include GenBank, Gene Expression Omnibus, Multiple Sequence Alignment Viewer, PubChem, Vector Alignment Search Tool (VAST), and Health Information Technology and Health Data Standards. Visit https://datadiscovery.nlm.nih.gov for a full list.
To search for tools, trainees are encouraged to visit https://eresources.nlm.nih.gov and use the filters to narrow down results relevant to their specific topic or field. For example, a postdoc conducting research on protein function might access VAST to identify structural similarities within unrelated proteins, potentially discovering new targets and previously unrecognized protein homologues. NLM also provides instruction on using each resource. Go to https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/guide/training-tutorials to learn more.
Other research resources
NLM’s own Intramural Research Program has special tools and resources for its staff and for those who collaborate or conduct similar research, including health services and public health research standards, a health statistics tutorial, and databases such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. NLM also provides NIH-specific policies and guidelines that may apply to your research. And if you need to take your search further, the library also offers a LocatorPlus Online Catalog to help you find other materials within the library collections.
Education and professional development
As part of its Congressional mandate to acquire, organize, preserve, publish, and make available biomedical and health information to support research and public health, the NLM shares its vast historical collections with the world through its Digital Collections repository, the popular blog Circulating Now, History Talks, and an award-winning exhibition program featuring stories about history, society, and medicine drawn from the NLM collections.
NLM is also a great place to go for learning resources and information about training and careers. Search NLM’s online tutorials, videos, and other instructional materials on a variety of topics, as well as academic and postgraduate trainings, professional development and continuing education resources, lectures, and exhibitions.
News and updates
If you’re looking for news and updates concerning NLM’s available resources and similar topics, check out NCBI Insights, NLM Technical Bulletin, and NLM RSS Feeds for News and Webcasts. Stay connected by subscribing to email lists and receive announcements about NLM news and events, data distribution, interlibrary loans and document delivery, publications, literary databases, and terminology. If you have an interest in issues related to clinical- and bio-informatics, keep an eye out for updates from the NIH Trans-NIH BioMedical Informatics Coordinating Committee (BMIC). BMIC was formed over 15 years ago to share information about NIH informatics programs, projects, and plans.
The NLM offers resources galore to help you in your research and professional pursuits. Conveniently explore all it has to offer online, or pay a visit by taking a stroll to the southeast corner of NIH’s Bethesda campus.
For more information or questions, email Virginia Meyer, NLM IRP Training Director, at email@example.com.
- National Library of Medicine (NLM): https://www.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLM’s National Center for Biotechnology Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLM’s Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications: https://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov
- NLM Digital Collections: https://collections.nlm.nih.gov
- NLM Data Discovery: https://datadiscovery.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLM Resources for Researchers: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/portals/researchers.html
- NLM Intramural Research Program: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/index.html
- Health Statistics Tutorial: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/stats_tutorial/cover.html
- LocatorPlus Online Catalog: https://catalog.nlm.nih.gov
- NIH Human Resources (professional development courses for NIH staff): https://hr.nih.gov/training-center/course-catalog/professional-development
- NLM Learning Resources: https://learn.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLM Training and Careers: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/training.html
- NLM NCBI Insights: https://ncbiinsights.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NLM Technical Bulletin: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/stay_current.html
- NLM Email Lists: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/listserv/emaillists.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
- Trans-NIH BioMedical Informatics Coordinating Committee: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/NIHbmic/index.html
- NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (training programs): https://www.training.nih.gov/trainees
Larisa Gearhart-Serna is a former postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute’s Technology Transfer Center and was a member of The NIH Catalyst Editorial Board. She now works in business development and marketing for life sciences investigators at Stanford University (Stanford, California).
This page was last updated on Thursday, September 7, 2023