[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
October 26, 1984

From Army book collection to largest medical library

JAMA. 1984;252(16):2333-2337. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160191058

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Most physicians know it for its monthly publication, Index Medicus, but they may not draw the connection between the publication and its source, the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Says Deputy Director Kent A. Smith, MPA: "Unfortunately, all too often we find that people who use our services—whether they be printed products or whether they be on-line retrieval services—are unaware that they emanate from the National Library of Medicine."

(In the case of Index Medicus, the publication actually has emanated from the library and the AMA at various times in its history. The NLM is now the sole publisher.)

With 3.1 million items (including books, journals, manuscripts, technical reports, microfilms, and pictorial materials) in its collection, the NLM stands as the world's largest medical library. It also has one of the world's finest collections of old (pre-1871) and rare medical texts, manuscripts, and incunabula.

Furthermore, says Smith, the NLM has