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Collection Development Guidelines of the National Library of Medicine [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2019-.

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Collection Development Guidelines of the National Library of Medicine [Internet].

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Audiovisual Materials

Last Update: July 6, 2018.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

This category includes works such as film, video, sound recordings, and projected images, whether produced in analog or digital format.

NLM selects audiovisuals which are important to the research needs of scholars and historians in medicine and public health, as well as selected examples of audiovisual works produced for use by health professionals in continuing medical education, patient instruction, or health education. The collection focuses on works which provide valuable historical insight to health care of the period and those in which audiovisual presentation significantly enhances the communication of the subject matter.

For current research and practice, NLM selectively collects works that document contemporary practices and procedures in medicine, health care, and biomedical research. Emphasis is on works which demonstrate innovative techniques or new medical devices, and those which introduce new health policies and guidelines.

For the historical record, NLM collects materials that provide audiovisual documentation of discoveries in biomedical research; trends in medical and health education; health care issues, viewpoints and controversies; innovations in instruments, equipment and procedures; health facilities (e.g., hospitals, institutions, and laboratories); health personnel in action; and noted persons in medicine and public health. The Library is particularly interested in audiovisual documentation of authentic health care practices, situations or events, and healthcare workers in practice. Examples include surgical demonstrations, actual case studies of communication between patients and health professionals, and oral history interviews with noted health professionals.

NLM selectively acquires lectures, with emphasis on those delivered by noted persons and others in which audiovisual presentation significantly enhances communication of the topic. Lectures sponsored by NLM, other NIH Institutes and Centers, and authoritative societies and institutions are of particular interest.

Conference publications in audiovisual format are selectively acquired when no print counterpart exists. Emphasis is on the conference publications of government agencies and other major national and international organizations, in which the audiovisual presentation significantly enhances the communication of important trends, innovations, or discoveries.

In general, NLM does not select consumer health audiovisuals intended for independent patient use, except for historical purposes. To document the history of public health, the Library selectively collects consumer health videos which are produced by or on behalf of authoritative health organizations and present public health issues of the day, such as those focusing on health disparities or emerging diseases. The Library collects other audiovisuals produced for a broad audience, such as televised documentaries and public service announcements, when they are likely to be of historical interest.

The audiovisual collection emphasizes English language audiovisuals produced in the United States. Audiovisuals in foreign languages and non-U.S. works are collected when they contain unique information (e.g., a public health film targeted specifically to U.S. speakers of a foreign language) or are of historical importance.

NLM generally acquires audiovisual materials produced in currently accepted U.S. formats, although other formats may be considered for the historical collection. When a title is available in more than one format, preference generally is given to an archival format or to the format most readily transferable to an archival format.


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