News from the NLM History of Medicine Division

Greetings from the National Library of Medicine History of Medicine Division. I hope this email finds you healthy and safe during this challenging time.

In continued accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to promote social distancing, the National Library of Medicine Reading Rooms remain closed to the public until further notice. During this period, NLM online resources will remain available, including NLM Digital Collections and PubMed Central. NLM will continue to provide interlibrary loan (ILL) services from electronically available resources. For the latest NLM ILL service information check this NLM website. For the latest NLM Reading Room information check this NLM website.

Program updates:

  • This Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 2:00-4:00pm ET via NIH Videocasting – Reporting, Recording, and Remembering the 1918 Influenza Epidemic, a National Library of Medicine research symposium. Virginia Tech students studying the history of data in social context will present their research on various aspects of the 1918 pandemic, including newspaper reporting at the peak of the epidemic, contemporary social distancing policies and procedures, how contemporaries determined that the epidemic was ending, and how they remembered the remarkable experience of this intense, but relatively brief, crisis in community health. Discussants will include Dr. Nancy Bristow of the University of Puget Sound and author of American Pandemic: The Lost Worlds of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic (Oxford University Press, 2012), among others to be announced. Reporting, Recording, and Remembering the 1918 Influenza Epidemic is sponsored by the NLM History of Medicine Division in cooperation with the National Endowment (NEH) for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities-as part of the ongoing NLM/NEH partnership to collaborate on research, education, and career initiatives.
  • Rescheduled to Thursday, 2pm ET, December 3, 2020 – NLM History Talk by Ashley Bowen, PhD, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellow, Science History Institute, on Rise, Serve, Lead… And Publish: Including Women Physicians’ Writings in Rise, Serve, Lead: America’s Women Physicians.
  • Postponed – May 21, 2020, 4th annual Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine by Sara Farhan, PhD, 2019 NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellow in the History of Medicine, Assistant Professor of History, Department of International Studies, American University of Sharjah. As we work to reschedule, explore the free NIH archive of past NLM History Talks covering a variety of topics and the wide scope of NLM’s historical collections and related resources.
  • Circulating Now recently passed the one million views mark! Congratulations, and thanks to Beth Mullen managing editor of the blog, its editorial board, and everyone who has contributed to the ongoing success of the blog since its launch in July 2013! And read the latest and timely post by our colleague John Rees<> about NLM archival collections on the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak.
  • 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. The public collection includes federal, state, and local government COVID-19 pages, websites of disaster relief agencies and NGOs, and content documenting life in quarantine, prevention measures, the experiences of healthcare workers, patients, and more. The group is actively reviewing recommended content for inclusion in the archive (1000+ URLs so far), scoping and running crawls of content using Archive-It and 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, in particular, the Society of American Archivist Web Archiving Roundtable, the Archive-It community, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, and colleagues in the medical museum community, 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 are welcome at NLM also continues to participate as an institutional contributor to a broader International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) Novel Coronavirus outbreak web archive collection, which now includes over 7500 sites recommended in 39 languages by 35 national and academic libraries around the world. Individual recommendations for the IIPC collection can be submitted using the form available at



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