LHNCBC Project List

Legacy Projects

The 3D Printing, Visualization, and Immersive Display project is studying how to represent, display, and present biomedical information that is inherently more than two-dimensional, in order to maximize user understanding and retention of the underlying knowledge. Such biomedical information includes three-dimensional data, tactile information, and information best represented in a Cartesian coordinate system.

The Computational Photography Project for Pill Identification (C3PI) is creating:

  • The RxIMAGE database of freely available high-quality digital images of prescription pills and associated data
  • The freely-accessible RxIMAGE API (Application Programming Interface) that software developers can use to create apps for text-based search and retrieval from the RxIMAGE database for public use
  • The SPLIMAGE database and SPLIMAGE portal to help the pharmaceutical industry include pill images in the information it provides to the public

The NLM and the National Cancer Institue are creating a digital archive of 100,000 cervicographic images (cervigrams) and correlated diagnostic data obtained from the ALTS and Guanacast studies.

Collaboration Technologies research is investigating how real-time interactive technologies -- for example, videoconferencing -- and information-sharing tools can help meet the need for collaboration in scientific research, the provision of telemedicine services, and distance education.

An extensive source of biomedical knowledge developed and maintained by NLM is the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS). Our approach for adapting the UMLS for multilingual applications, especially information retrieval, was mainly applied to, so that Spanish queries would retrieve relevant trials from the repository. Different Spanish-language prototypes for the clinical trials had also been developed in house, and these prototypes were also presented in various conference papers.

The Digital Preservation Research (DPR) project addressed an important mandate for libraries and archives: to retain electronic files for posterity as well as to retrieve information from preserved documents through semantic search. To preserve digitized documents, researchers built and deployed a System for Preservation of Electronic Resources (SPER). SPER builds on open source systems and standards (e.g., DSpace or RDF) while incorporating inhouse-developed modules that implement key preservation functions: ingesting, automated metadata extraction and knowledge discovery.

Distance Learning and Education research is investigating how advanced communications technologies can be used to improve biomedical education.

DocMorph was a web site that provided a useful information conversion service to the public while at the same time allowing NLM’s Communications Engineering Branch to investigate new image and information processing algorithms to find those that are fast, reliable and useful for the biomedical library community

The initial version of the NLM Gateway provided search access across multiple databases listed in table 4. However, all but one of these databases is available from other NLM sources, and most users of those databases search them directly. Only one database, Meeting Abstracts, is uniquely located on the Gateway system. Although NLM invested in and supported the NLM Gateway for eleven years, the Library decided to discontinue this service and transition to a pilot project site in 2011.

Genetics Home Reference is the National Library of Medicine Web site for consumer information about genetic conditions and the genes and chromosomes related to those conditions. This resource provides a bridge between the public’s questions about human genetics and the rich technical data that has emerged from the Human Genome Project and other genomic research.

Genetics Home Reference is now part of MedlinePlus, an online health information resource from the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Information from the Genetics Home Reference website is available in a new section called MedlinePlus Genetics.

The 3D informatics for High Resolution Electron Microscopy project is analyzing the life sciences at nanometer scales. Researchers are examining data acquired from advanced microscopes that generate 3D data to provide new insights into the spatial relationships of sub-cellular mechanisms and a better understanding of systems biology.

This system automatically augments a patient's Electronic Health Record (EHR) with pertinent information from NLM resources. The software runs as background agents, both at a hospital and at NLM. The hospital uses our APIs to integrate the search setup and to display and store results in their existing EHR system. For clinical settings that have no means to use the API, a Web-based interface allows information requests to be manually entered. The InfoBot API integrated with the NIH Clinical Center’s EMR system, CRIS, is in daily use through the Evidence-Based Practice tab in CRIS since July 2009. Information provided to a medical institution is customized according to the institution's requirements. The requirements define the EMR fields that are provided to InfoBot and the knowledge sources to be mined for information provided by InfoBot. Each set of requirements for a specific clinical task and user group is called a Ruleset. Medical institutions can define as many rulesets as are needed to support their daily practice with evidence.

Infobuttons are context-aware links from one information system to another that anticipate users’ information needs, take them to appropriate resources, and assist with retrieval of relevant information. To date, infobuttons are mostly found in clinical information systems (such as EHRs and PHRs) to provide clinicians and patients with access to literature and other resources that are relevant to the clinical data they are viewing.

The Insight Toolkit (ITK) project is developing a public, open-source library of leading-edge algorithms for the segmentation (image partitioning) and registration (image alignment) of high-dimensional biomedical image data.

Interactive Publications are scientific multimedia documents that give readers more information from an article than is available in the published form (electronic or print) by enabling interaction with the included media (tables, graphs, images, videos, biomedical image studies, etc.).

MARG is a freely-available repository of document page images and their associated textual and layout data. The data has been reviewed and corrected to establish its "ground truth". Research in document image analysis and understanding is greatly facilitated by such repositories for the design, training, and testing of algorithms for data identification and extraction.

The Medical Article Records System (MARS) project develops automated systems to extract bibliographic text from journal articles, in both paper as well as electronic forms. For the approximately 1000 journal titles that arrive at NLM in paper form, a production MARS system combines document scanning, optical character recognition (OCR), and rule-based and machine learning algorithms to yield citation data that NLM’s indexers use to complete bibliographic records for MEDLINE.

LHC has carried out technical work with students and faculty from Lehigh University to develop a web-based software for automatic performance evaluation of multiple image segmentations as a tool for study of lesions related to uterine cervical cancer

The goal of this project, seen as a successor to DocView, is to develop < href="">a new collaborative tool to improve the delivery and exchange of medical and health information, especially information contained in very large files.

NLM MyMorph is a publicly available free, secure and anonymous service that allows users to convert images from any of five different input formats (Single TIF, Multipage TIF, PDF, JPG, BMP) to TIF, PDF, and other image formats.

thumbnail graphic for newborn screening projectNewborn screening in the United States is a complex public health program. The goals of NBS are to identify infants who appear healthy but have serious conditions, begin treatment before they suffer significant disability or death, and in doing so decrease the burden of disease on society. In 2006, a recommended uniform screening panel was published that included conditions based on detailed criteria for the condition itself, screening and diagnostic tests, and treatment and management.

The Federal Next Generation Internet (NGI) Initiative was launched in October 1996 by President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. It was a three-year (FY 1998-FY 2000) initiative that was part of what was then the Federal High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program, which in FY 2005 became the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program.

CEB developed a “Web 2.0” interface to information about American nursing homes. The goal is to offer the public a timely and easy to use site for the rapid location and comparison of nursing homes, thus identifying those most worth further review or a personal visit.

The Online Registry of Biomedical Informatics Tools (ORBIT) Project was a community-wide effort to create and maintain a structured, searchable metadata registry for informatics software, knowledge bases, data sets and design resources. This site is not a repository for the resources; it is a registry that provides links to the resources as submitted by the authors.

The People Locator (PL) is a Web system that enables family, friends and neighbors to locate or report missing people during a disaster event. Reporting and searching is done via a website and/or an app.

The Profiles in Science® project uses innovative digital technology to make available the manuscript collections of prominent biomedical researchers, medical practitioners, and those fostering science and health. The collections contain published and unpublished materials, including manuscripts, diaries, laboratory notebooks, correspondence, photographs, poems, drawings and audiovisual resources. Some of the collections have been donated to NLM, and others have been digitized in cooperation with collaborating institutions. Working together with NLM's History of Medicine Division, we launched Profiles in Science in September 1998. The site was migrated to NLM's Digital Collections repository in collaboration with the History of Medicine and NLM's Office of Computer and Communications Systems. The project website is at

Remote Virtual Dialog System (RVDS) research and development, based on Interactive Drama's Conversim Virtual Conversation System, will make the NLM Dialogues in Science series accessible anywhere by anyone who has access to an Internet Web browser and a microphone.

thumbnail graphic for RIDeM projectRIDeM is one of the LHNCBC Clinical Decision Support projects. The long-term goal of the Repository for Informed Decision Making is to provide access to key facts needed to support clinical decision making. The facts are extracted from biomedical literature and clinical text sources. The development of the Repository is guided by the Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) principles for finding and appraising information.

The RxIMAGE API is a freely accessible Application Programming Interface that software developers can use to create apps for text-based search and retrieval from the RxIMAGE database. The RxIMAGE database is the Nation’s only portfolio of curated, freely available, increasingly comprehensive, high-quality digital images of prescription pills and associated data. The general public can use such apps to search for and retrieve images and data from the RxIMAGE database.

In support of innovative information management applications in biomedicine as well as basic research, the Semantic Knowledge Representation project (SKR) efforts use symbolic natural language processing based on the UMLS knowledge sources. SKR research examples include developing and applying the literature-based discovery paradigm using semantic predications.

SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms) is the most comprehensive, multi-lingual medical terminology in the world. It is emerging as the standard terminology clinical terminology for use in the Electronic Health Record (EHR). According to the "Meaningful Use" of the EHR incentive program of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), one of the certification criteria of EHR is that problem list data should be encoded in SNOMED CT. The problem list is considered to be an essential part of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) by various sanctioning bodies and medical information standards organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, Joint Commission, American Society for Testing and Materials and Health Level Seven. This lack of a common standard leads to duplication of effort and impedes data interoperability.

The SPLIMAGE portal can help the pharmaceutical industry obtain files of images of their prescription pills that meet recommended SPL image guidelines. The guidelines were developed in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The portal was developed in consultation with the FDA.

Through Telehealth and Telemedicine research, advanced communications technologies are enabling both lower cost and greater efficacy, quality, security, and usability for the Nation's healthcare, health education, wellness, and health research systems. In this research, the appropriateness, quality, and reliability of advanced communications technologies in different telemedicine and telehealth applications are being investigated. The efficacy of emerging telemedicine applications in clinical settings is being evaluated.

Translational Science is a field that develops new medical capabilities such as drugs, devices, and treatment options for patients, and then transitions those capabilities into medical practice as fast as is feasible. Steps in that transition can include clinical trials, clinical studies, and observational studies.

Turning The Pages (TTP) is a computer system with touchscreen that allows users to touch and turn the pages of virtual books in an intuitive manner. Initially created by the British Library for use on a touchscreen monitor in a kiosk, the LHNCBC has significantly refined the original technology to simulate the act of easily flipping through virtual books.

In addition to our online collection, LHNCBC's Communications Engineering Branch has developed a version of Turning The Pages program for iPad . The free app is available from Apple iTunes. Home users with an iPad and internet connection can enjoy access to rare medical books in the NLM collection through this app. The TTP for iPad is a compelling and nearly identical version of the virtual books in the kiosks.

While Turning the Pages has been sunsetted you can access the archived site using the "Go to archived site" link on the bottom right of this box.  In addition the source material used in the creation of Turning the Pages is available via several other websites at the National Library of Medicine.

Marshal Nirenberg genetic chart –

Edwin Smith Papyrus –

Mongolian Book of Astrology –

Hanaoka Seishu’s Surgical Casebook (Kishitsu geryo zukan) –

Elizabeth Blackwell A Curious Herbal –

Andrew Snape Anatomy of an Horse –

al-Qazwini Wonders of Creation –

Hieronymous Brunschwig Liber de arte Distillande –

Rober Hooke Micrographia –

Conrad Gesner Historiae Animalium –

Ambroise Pare Les Oeuvres –

Andreas Vesalius De Humani Corporus Fabrica –

Johannes de Ketham Fasiculo de Medicina –

Virtual Microscope research is working to replace the examination of glass slides in medical education with Web-based tools to zoom, pan, and analyze virtual slides in a teaching archive; to add annotations; and to link to NLM's MEDLINE/PubMed database of biomedical literature. Two other names for his research are Virtual Slide and Whole Slide Imaging.

The Visible Human Project® (VHP) is an NLM research project conducted since 1994 by the NLM/LHNCBC Office of High Performance Computing and Communications. VHP data sets are freely available to researchers.NLM requests users adhere to the NLM Terms and Conditions of use.

The NLM VHP Web site provides information about the project: