May 18, 2022

National Library of Medicine Working Group Releases Final Report on Future of Library

UPDATE: Since we posted the item below NIH has posted this news release, “See Also: NIH approves strategic vision to transform National Library of Medicine

The final report by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Working Group is now available online an is being presented at an NIH Advisory Committee to the Director meeting taking place today and tomorrow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

The National Library of Medicine Working Group was formed in February 2015. The group came after the Director of the National Library of Medicine, Dr. Donald Lindberg announced his retirement after 30+ of service in November, 2014. Betsy Humphreys is began serving as Acting Director of NLM on April 1, 2015.

From a Statement Announcing the Formation of the Working Group by NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins on February 3, 2015:

In order to help chart the course for the next era of health and biological science information, I have assembled an excellent team of experts across sectors in many disciplines — biomedical research, bioinformatics, library sciences, publishing, and patient care. Established as a working group of my Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD), this distinguished group has been asked to lay out the vision for the NLM, in order to ensure it remains an international leader in biomedical and health information.

The NLM needs to be well-positioned to continue to leverage technological advances in information and data science to facilitate scientific breakthroughs and advance understanding of health and disease by scientists and the public. In its role as the world’s largest biomedical library, the NLM conducts several crucial activities: (1) it builds and provides electronic information resources used billions of times each year by millions of scientists, health professionals, and members of the public; (2) it supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical informatics, data science, and health information technology; and (3) it coordinates a 6,100-member National Network of Libraries of Medicine that promotes and provides access to health information in communities across the United States.

From the Executive Summary of the Final Report:

The Working Group recognizes that NLM has an important opportunity to play a key leadership role in one of the most exciting periods of biomedical history: data science is increasing rapidly, computational power is expanding at a breathtaking pace, the breadth and depth of digital health data are undergoing unprecedented and accelerating growth, a movement towards more interdisciplinary work and team science continues to gain momentum, a broad commitment to open science is becoming increasingly adopted, and the demand for services to support an ever more engaged and informed public is expanding. To leverage these historic changes, the Working Group, with respect for the outstanding history of NLM and its potential for the future, formulated a series of recommendations to guide the future of NLM:

RECOMMENDATION #1 NLM must continually evolve to remain a leader in assimilating and disseminating accessible and authoritative biomedical research findings and trusted health information to the public, healthcare professionals, and researchers worldwide.

RECOMMENDATION #2 NLM should lead efforts to support and catalyze open science, data sharing, and research reproducibility, striving to promote the concept that biomedical information and its transparent analysis are public goods.

RECOMMENDATION #3 NLM should be the intellectual and programmatic epicenter for data science at NIH and stimulate its advancement throughout biomedical research and application.

RECOMMENDATION #4 NLM should strengthen its role in fostering the future generation of professionals in biomedical informatics, data science, library sciences, and related disciplines through sustained and focused training efforts.

RECOMMENDATION #5 NLM should maintain, preserve, and make accessible the nation’s historical efforts in advancing biomedical research and medicine, thereby ensuring that this legacy is both safe and accessible for long-term use.

RECOMMENDATION #6 New NLM leadership should evaluate what talent, resources, and organizational structures are required to ensure NLM can fully achieve its mission and best allocate its resources.


The full text report is available online (17 pages; PDF) as well as a slide presentation from a . briefing about the report

Both items are also embedded below.

National Library of Medicine (NLM) Working Group FINAL Report by LJ’s infoDOCKET

ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE NIH DIRECTOR National Library of Medicine Working Group – Interim Briefing abo…

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.