The National Library
More Medical Information Online
National Library of Medicine has received a Hammer Award for a series
of improvements in its information services, including making its
of journal article references and abstracts free and easier for
the public to use.
Reinvention Team Accomplished
systems reinvention team placed more medical information online,
improved its format and created a sophisticated integrated library
system that reduced processing time dramatically. According to team
leader Kent A. Smith, the library's deputy director, the reinvention
program involved the efforts of hundreds of library staff in all
As direct spin-offs
of basic reinvention activities, the team also put environmental
health and hazardous substance information on the Web, made the
Visible Humans available, and introduced "Profiles in Science,"
a Web-based file containing the laboratory notebooks and personal
papers of some of the 20th century's greatest scientists.
approach was based on several strategies:
- The Internet
would be used for delivering services;
available software would be used wherever practical;
standards would be adhered to so that NLM's services would operate
smoothly with other information systems; and,
forms and surveys, NLM's users would have a say in the design
of the services they receive.
In the case
of MEDLINE, NLM made one additional improvement: registration and
search fees were removed. In the words of library director Dr. Donald
Lindberg, "The increased results in usage were dramatic. Before
the systems reinvention, NLM recorded 7 million searches of MEDLINE
in one year [FY 1997]. The current rate is about 18 million searches
every month, or 216 million searches per year."
President Gores Hammer Award recognizes teams of federal
workers and their private sector partners. The award goes to teams
that demonstrate innovation by putting customers first, empowering
employees, cutting red tape, or achieving results American citizens
care about. The award is the Vice President's answer to yesterday's
federal government and its much talked about $400 hammer. The Hammer
Award consists of a $6 hammer, festooned with a ribbon and surrounded
by a sensible aluminum frame.
article was adapted from the story in the February 8, 2000 issue
of "The NIH Record," the newsletter for employees of the
National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. See the newsletter