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Digital library research and application.

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Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


The last decade has seen an exponential rise in the amount and the nature of information that is available on the Internet. Internet and World Wide Web technology have raised many technical as well as social and economic issues. The paper begins with a description of the recent digital library research initiative funded by the U.S. federal government. Digital library research addresses a host of informatics issues relevant to the current Internet-based environment. The paper continues with a discussion of some problems in information access, including a discussion of the potential of the Unified Medical Language System for navigating among multiple biomedical information systems. Next, some issues in creating Web-accessible resources for health care consumers are addressed, with a focus on recent work at the National Library of Medicine, including a description of the MEDLINEplus system. The paper ends with a brief discussion of some implications of digital library research for the health informatics community.

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