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United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Fact Sheet
Technical Services Division


The Technical Services Division (TSD):

NLM's integrated library system (ILS) is used for acquisitions, serials control, cataloging, collection management, circulation, and preservation. Bibliographic and holdings data are provided in LocatorPlus™, at Access to bibliographic data is also provided thru the NLM Catalog, an Entrez-based search interface.

Collection Development

TSD coordinates the development and review of policies and guidelines for building and preserving NLM's collection as described in the Collection Development Manual of the National Library of Medicine. The Chief, TSD is responsible for the periodic review and revision of the Manual. New editions are published every few years to reflect shifting emphases in health care, advances in medical research, and new formats. Occasional updates of the Manual, especially those with broad policy implications, may be issued as supplements between editions.

To monitor the effectiveness of NLM's acquisitions program, the Office of the Chief, TSD oversees an ongoing program of collection assessment and evaluation. NLM coordinates its collection development policies and retention practices with those of the Library of Congress (LC) and the National Agricultural Library (NAL). From time to time collecting policy statements are issued jointly with one or both of these national libraries.

The current edition of the Collection Development Manual of the National Library of Medicine and other joint collection development policy statements issued by NLM, LC, and NAL are available at NLM's Web site. (See the Collection Development Section at .)

Selection and Acquisition

The Selection and Acquisition Section is responsible for the selection and acquisition of modern publications including serials and monographs in all formats (e.g., print books and journals, audiovisuals, electronic publications, etc.) according to guidelines set forth in the Collection Development Manual of the National Library of Medicine and for the acquisition of modern print and nonprint biomedical monographs published world-wide in more than 55 languages. New materials are selected and ordered by NLM staff or acquired through approval plan arrangements with domestic and foreign book vendors, exchange agreements, and the Library of Congress overseas acquisitions programs.

The Section processes approximately 24,000 items annually for possible addition to NLM's collection, monitors the Library's literature budget of over seven million dollars, and participates in a variety of collection assessment efforts.


The Cataloging Section is responsible for review and development of cataloging policies and for descriptive and subject cataloging and classification of modern printed, audiovisual, and computer software materials acquired for NLM's collection, as well as for electronic resources. For further information, see the NLM Cataloging Section Home Page at

The Cataloging Section creates and maintains the bibliographic records resident in NLM's public access catalog, LocatorPlus and the NLM Catalog.

For further information about these Web Catalogs, see the NLM Cataloging Section Home Page at:

NLM bibliographic records are available via ftp in MARC 21 communications format or in XML format on a subscription basis. For further information, see Leasing Data from the National Library of Medicine at

The Cataloging Section maintains and develops the online NLM Classification, a scheme for the shelf arrangement of medical literature in libraries. This online tool is available at and is updated annually. The Section also maintains NLM's internal authority file used in the creation of bibliographic records, including over 1,190,000 name, title, and subject heading records structured in the MARC 21 format and is responsible for the assignment of NLM title abbreviations that appear in the bibliographic records for indexed serials and monographs and in NLM indexing citations.

Serial Records

The Serial Records Section is responsible for acquiring, licensing and processing over 22,000 print, audiovisual, and electronic biomedical and related serials.

The Section produces two NLM publications, the List of Journals Indexed for MEDLINE, and the List of Serials Indexed for Online Users. The List of Journals Indexed for MEDLINE is available in print from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (see Ordering Information, Supt.Docs.). Both publications are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) at

The Section is also responsible for coordinating the development and maintenance of SERHOLD®, NLM's national biomedical serials holdings database. SERHOLD data are used in connection with DOCLINE®, NLM's automated interlibrary loan request and referral system, to route interlibrary loan requests automatically among participating health science libraries. In addition, the data are used for the generation of union list products at the regional, state, and local level and for the analysis of biomedical serials collections.

Cooperative Programs

The Technical Services Division:

For further information contact:

Chief, Technical Services Division
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6133

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
(alphabetical list)
(subject list):

Or write to:

Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20894

Phone: (301) 496-6308
Fax: (301) 496-4450

Last updated: 02 March 2006
First published: 02 March 2006
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