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Fact Sheet
Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications

Senator Joseph Lister Hill was one of America's foremost healthcare proponents. Throughout over forty years in Congress, Senator Hill championed numerous pieces of health care legislation, including legislation that created the National Library of Medicine (https://www.nlm.nih.gov). Named in honor of Senator Hill, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (https://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/) is an intramural research and development division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Seeking to improve access to high quality biomedical information for individuals around the world, the Center continues its active research and development in support of the NLM's mission. Research and development conducted by the Lister Hill Center has led to many advances in biomedical communication and information dissemination. Examples of advances resulting from Center research include:

  • Genetics Home Reference - Genetic research and information are often difficult for consumers to understand because they are generally available only in technical language. The Genetics Home Reference website provides brief, consumer-friendly summaries of genetic conditions and related gene research. Summaries describe symptoms, diagnosis and treatment procedures, genetic cause(s), frequency of conditions and how conditions are inherited.
  • Interactive Publications - To address the increasing use of multimedia in scientific publishing, Lister Hill Center research in Interactive Publications (IP) has resulted in prototype interactive documents integrating text with medical multimedia and large data tables. We have developed Panorama, a tool for viewing and manipulating medical images and video, analyzing tabular data, and converting tables to graphs and back.
  • Medical Article Record System (MARS) - Bibliographic information must be entered into the computer in order for individuals to electronically search for Journal articles. Processing over 600 articles daily, MARS is a system that automates the production of bibliographic records by optically scanning journal article abstracts and keyboarding the remaining fields.
  • Newborn Screening Coding and Terminology Guide - The Newborn screening web site incorporates electronic health data standards (LOINC, SNOMED CT, UCUM, and HL7) in recording and transmitting newborn screening test results. The Guide includes standard codes and terminology for newborn tests and conditions.
  • Open-i - Open-i is an experimental multimedia search engine that retrieves and displays structured MEDLINE citations augmented by image-related text and concepts and linked to images based on image features.
  • Profiles in Science® - Although the history behind biomedical research discoveries is often unknown to the general public, many stories are compelling and illustrate the influence biomedical research has on modern society. Profiles in Science allows users the opportunity to delve into the history behind revolutionary discoveries by providing access to the archival collections of pioneering biomedical scientists of the 20th century. Collections contain books, journal volumes, pamphlets, diaries, letters, manuscripts, photographs, audiotapes, video clips, and other material.
  • Visible Human Project® - Revolutionizing how anatomy is taught and medicine is practiced throughout the world, the Visible Human Project's digital cadavers have taken medical education out of the dark ages. A Colorado team of researchers funded by the NLM sliced thousands of razor-thin tissue cross-sections from one male and one female cadaver. Each view was digitally photographed and stored creating data that can be converted into full-color, three-dimensional images. These extraordinary images have opened up a new world to researchers by allowing users to take a virtual tour of the body.
  • Unified Medical Language System® - The ability to provide timely and accurate medical information is an essential aspect of the National Library of Medicine. Center staff continue to develop sources that help individuals find the information they seek. Sources developed include the Metathesaurus®, Semantic Network, and SPECIALIST Lexicon.

The Lister Hill Center applies research and development towards all aspects of creating and obtaining high quality biomedical information. Research priorities include; dissemination and utilization of high quality imagery, improving access to biomedical information, medical language processing, intelligent database systems development, multimedia hypertext information delivery, knowledge management, data mining, and machine-assisted indexing for information classification and retrieval. The advances in research and development listed above are merely a few of the innovative research activities pursued by the Lister Hill Center.

Individuals with backgrounds in medicine, computer science, library and information sciences, linguistics, cognitive science, education, and engineering work together to maintain the Center's leadership position in biomedical information research and development. Recognizing the importance of ensuring the future of medical informatics, the Lister Hill Center offers a Biomedical Informatics Training Program for students and visiting scientists. The Training Program ranges from a few months to more than a year.

The Center is divided into several branches and offices:

  • Cognitive Science Branch - Conducts research and development in computer and information technologies using linguistic, statistical, and knowledge-based techniques for improving access to biomedical information.
  • Computer Science Branch - Applies computer and information science techniques to solving problems in representing, retrieving and manipulating biomedical information.
  • Office of High Performance Computing and Communications - Serves as the focal point for the National Library of Medicine to research and develop tools necessary to maintain cutting edge, high performance technology for medical professionals, institutions, and industry.
  • Audiovisual Program and Development Branch - Provides video, audio, imaging, graphic, technology support for research, development, and demonstration projects for the Center.

For additional information, visit the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications home page at https://lhncbc.nlm.nih.gov/

Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20894 USA
Phone: (301) 496-4441
FAX: (301) 402-0118
Email: lhcques@lhc.nlm.nih.gov

For general information on NLM services, contact:
National Library of Medicine
Customer Service
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20894
Telephone: 1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)
email: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/contacts/contact.html
NLM Customer Service Form at Contact NLM

A complete list of NLM Fact Sheets is available at:
(alphabetical list) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsheets.html
(subject list): https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/factsubj.html

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
E-mail: publicinfo@nlm.nih.gov