News from the NLM History of Medicine Division

Greetings from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) History of Medicine Division.

With continued appreciation of each and every member of our outstanding team-every day and especially during this Public Service Recognition Week 2021-we have the following news to share:

*   Division staff continue to work remotely to support YOU in your research and can be reached via the NLM Support Center via the “Write to the Help Desk” blue button. NLM Reading Rooms remain temporarily closed to the public in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to promote social distancing. NLM online collection resources remain available, including NLM Digital Collections and PubMed Central. For the latest NLM Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service information check here. For the latest NLM Reading Room information check here.

*   NLM Welcomes Applications to its Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine for 2022- Applications due by September 30, 2021.

*   The NLM History of Medicine Division is conducting a brief survey of selected online resources to gauge awareness and usage of them by our patrons. All are welcome to complete this survey, we thank you for doing so, and we appreciate you sharing this feedback opportunity with your colleagues. The survey will close at midnight July 1, 2021. Questions? Please contact Ken Koyle:


*   The Washington Post featured the recently-announced NLM online exhibition Outside/Inside: Immigration, Migration, and Health Care in the United States . Learn more here: 

*   Tune-in to the next NLM History Talk-the 5th annual Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine-on Thursday, June 3 at 2pm ET. Join us to welcome Allison Hill-Edgar, MD, MFA-2020 NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellow in the History of Medicine, Artist and Independent Scholar, New York Academy of Art, and the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY. Dr. Hill-Edgar will speak on “Dissecting Gender: Reframing Anatomical History Through the Female Body.” Look for our interview with Dr. Hill-Edgar on Circulating Now, as part of our ongoing series of interviews. As always, all NLM History Talks are free as are their archived livestreams.

*   The NLM Web Collecting and Archiving Working Group continues to identify and select web and social media content documenting the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak as part of NLM’s Global Health Events web archive collection. Including more than 7,800 seed URLs and 2.2 terabytes of data, the collection includes federal, state, and local government COVID-19 pages, websites of aid organizations and NGOs, and content documenting life in quarantine, prevention measures, vaccine development, the experiences of healthcare workers, patients, and more. The group continues to actively review recommended content for inclusion in the archive (9,900+ URLs nominated to date), scoping and running crawls of content using Archive-It and Conifer (formerly Webrecorder), reviewing archived sites for quality, and adding metadata. The group continues to engage with other cultural heritage organizations archiving the history of COVID-19, including a group spearheaded by the leadership of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, as well as the group of federal agencies who meet regularly to discuss their respective initiatives. The NLM Web Collecting and Archiving Working Group also continues to engage with the Society of American Archivists Web Archiving Section, the Archive-It community, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, and is contributing to and following the growing list of institutions collecting COVID-19 related content maintained by the Documenting the Now project. Nominations for content to include in NLM’s Global Health Events collection remain welcome via NLM also continues to participate as an institutional contributor to a broader International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) Novel Coronavirus outbreak web archive collection. Learn more about NLM’s efforts in the Journal of the Medical Library Association article “The National Library of Medicine Global Health Events web archive, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic collecting,” and the broader context of documenting the pandemic published in Nature on December 17 “What are COVID archivists keeping for tomorrow’s historians”  Moreover, Government Executive recently covered how NIH is Documenting COVID-19 as Well as Responding to It.

*   Are you undertaking and/or have you completed historical research in NLM’s collections? Would you like to share it freely with a wide audience? We warmly invite you to be a guest author on our blog Circulating Now. Featured in the Washington Post, Circulating Now circulates widely, reaching more than 5,500 direct subscribers and 348,000 followers as part of the official NLM social media network. If you would like to write about your research in our collections, please send an email proposing your topic to Beth Mullen, managing editor, at If you do not already subscribe to Circulating Now, please do-just look for the “Follow us via email” box on the right-side of the homepage:

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