Anticipating NLM’s 3rd Century

Seeking guidance, vision, and audacious goals.

Information sources represented by a laptop, book, and icons representing different topics in science

I recently returned from the AMIA 2016 meeting in Chicago. What an exciting few days! Over 2,000 medical informatics professionals spent hours listening to developments in patient-generated data, edits to the SNOMED taxonomy, new directions in public policy, and solutions to the challenges of interoperability and decision support. The atmosphere was, as usual, filled with excitement and hard work. Logo for the American Medical Informatics AssociationBut not all hard work. The outstanding AMIA staff made sure there were celebration dinners and dance parties and first-timer receptions to attend to the social and networking aspects so important in these meetings.

Dr. Brennan gestures while standing behind a podium.
I was honored to deliver a keynote at the AMIA Annual Symposium in Chicago, November 12, 2016. (Credit: AMIA/FABPhoto-Chicago)

I was honored to present a keynote message (PDF | 5 MB) on Tuesday morning, bringing forth a perspective on NLM at present—how we are building on its history, celebrating its present, and anticipating its future. I traced our history from a bookshelf in the Army Surgeon General’s office in 1836 to a vast, worldwide network of biomedical science knowledge—the largest in the world. To me, the library represents the dynamic interplay between medicine and information, and while we’ll always maintain our commitment to archival knowledge of books, journals, and manuscripts, our future will include data and virtual information resources. I encouraged the attendees, as I will encourage readers here, to respond to the Request for Information to help us chart NLM’s third century.

We are in the midst of a strategic planning process and YOU CAN PARTICIPATE! We are looking for guidance, vision, and audacious goals addressing the role of NLM in:

  1. advancing data science, open science, and biomedical informatics;
  2. advancing biomedical discovery and translational science;
  3. supporting the public’s health: clinical systems, public health systems and services, and personal health; and
  4. building collections to support discovery and health in the 21st century.

Come along and help us craft the future of NLM and of data-driven discovery in the service of health!

Author: Patti Brennan

Director, US National Library of Medicine

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