Last week National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins approved a report on a new strategic vision for the National Library of Medicine (NLM) (H/T ScienceInsider). The Director requested the report at the beginning of the year, and it arrives not quite 3 months since the retirement of NLM Director Donald Lindberg, who led the Library since 1984.
NLM is responsible for a number of program related to medicine and health-related data. PubMed is perhaps the best known outside of the biomedical community, but NLM operates many other health-related databases, physical artifacts and other records. But the report calls fro NLM to be more of a leader in biomedical information across NIH, the federal government, and internationally. This will include an expansion of NLM activities in data science and biomedical informatics, and the Library will need to be systematic and considerate in how it expands while continuing to deliver quality service to its many stakeholders.
The report contains specific suggestions about how NLM could expand its offerings and improve its services. For instance, it suggests that the Big Data to Knowledge program be located in the NLM. But with the Library needing a new Director, many of these actions will likely wait until that person is on board, and can determine the necessary adjustments to resources and personnel to implement these recommendations.