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NLM LitArch (NLM Literature Archive)

NLM LitArch (NLM Literature Archive) is a digital archive for books, documents, and articles in the fields of life science, medicine, and healthcare at the National Institutes of Health, managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) within the National Library of Medicine. NLM LitArch complements the PubMed Central (PMC) archive, which houses full-text electronic journal literature that is made available through the PubMed Central website; it includes books and documents which are not included within the PMC archive. Full text of content from this electronic archive is freely accessible through Bookshelf and other NCBI services. Abstracts of selected books and documents are also searchable in PubMed, the database of clinical abstracts, and linked to the full text of the documents in Bookshelf.

Diverse Sources and Types of Content

NLM LitArch hosts a spectrum of materials—including university-level textbooks, documents on advanced biomedical topics, clinical guidelines, and healthcare reports. For inclusion in the archive, content must meet the criteria defined under the Collection Policy for the archive.

Electronic content is deposited to NLM LitArch by participating authors, editors, and publishers. Participating publishing organizations include private institutions as well as US and international government agencies. Free access to this content is provided to the scientific and medical community and the public in collaboration with NLM.

Benefits of NLM LitArch

The collection, dissemination, and exchange of information is important to the progress of medicine and health and is central to the mission of NLM. NLM LitArch plays a key role towards the success of this mission. The maintenance of diverse types and sources of data within the archive in a uniform format is important for its preservation, and facilitates sharing and retrieval of information. It also makes possible the integration of information with other services such as Entrez Gene, OMIM, and PubMed, thereby enabling users to discover the information from within these services. Free access to the full text of biomedical information ensures the utility of the NLM LitArch archive. The ability to search information of varied types and sources in one portal is a tremendous asset. These benefits are already reaped with other valuable services developed and maintained by NCBI, such as GenBank, the repository of genetic sequence data, PubMed, and PubMed Central.

Collection Policy

Proposed titles are initially reviewed by the National Library of Medicine for inclusion in the NLM collection. All content must fall within the scope of core biomedical topics as defined in the NLM Collection Development Guidelines.

In addition, the content must meet certain editorial and technical quality standards. See the Bookshelf Authors and Publishers page for more information.

Participation Agreement

A participation agreement must be signed by NLM and the copyright holder of the content prior to its inclusion in NLM LitArch.

Content in NLM LitArch provided by non-government authors and publishers is copyright protected. In some cases, content is made available under a Creative Commons or similar license that generally allows more liberal redistribution and reuse than a traditional copyrighted work, but it is still copyright protected. Content provided by US governmental agencies are in the public domain and no permission is needed to reproduce or distribute this content, although some exceptions may apply for images used in these publications.

See the Bookshelf Copyright Notice for more information.

NLM LitArch Open Access Subset

A subset of the total collection of books and documents in the NLM Literature Archive (NLM LitArch), accessible through the Bookshelf website, are available through the NLM LitArch Open Access subset. Contents in the NLM LitArch Open Access subset generally include works which are in the public domain, works which are available under a Creative Commons or similar license, and works whose authors or publishers have explicitly agreed to the terms of the NLM LitArch Open Access subset. Except for public domain works, works in the NLM LitArch Open Access subset are still protected by copyright, but are made available under a Creative Commons or similar license that generally allows more liberal redistribution and reuse than a traditional copyrighted work. The license terms are not the same for each work. Read the license text which is available with each downloadable file to determine terms of use.

Please note the following regarding the NLM LitArch Open Access subset:

  • Most books and documents available in NLM LitArch and accessible via the NLM Bookshelf site are subject to traditional copyright restrictions, and are not part of this subset. Read the Bookshelf Copyright Statement for more information.
  • The NLM LitArch FTP service is the only service that may be used for automated downloading of content from this open access subset.
  • Systematic retrieval (bulk downloading) of content through any other automated process is prohibited, even if you are only retrieving documents from this subset.
  • Some publishers and content providers use the term “open access” for books and reports that are available for free at the time of publication, but they are still subject to the same copyright restrictions. Such documents are not part of the Bookshelf Open Access subset.

Use the FTP service to download the complete sets of files for books and documents in this subset. Each downloadable file typically consists of the following data file types: XML, images, and PDF.

Created: January 21, 2011; Last Update: May 14, 2018.

Bookshelf ID: NBK51661

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