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Kenneth Snelson's Tree sculpture in front of the Lister Hill Center.Through its biomedical informatics research, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) develops advanced health information resources and software tools that are widely used in biomedical research and by health IT professionals, health care providers, and consumers. Established by a joint resolution of the United States Congress in 1968, LHNCBC is an intramural research and development division of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). Seeking to improve access to high quality biomedical information for individuals around the world, the LHNCBC conducts and supports research and development in the dissemination of high quality imagery, medical language processing, high-speed access to biomedical information, intelligent database systems development, multimedia visualization, knowledge management, data mining, and machine-assisted indexing.

LHNCBC research staff is drawn from a variety of disciplines including medicine, computer science, library and information science, linguistics, engineering, and education. Research projects are generally conducted by teams of individuals of varying backgrounds and often involve collaboration with other divisions of the NLM, other institutes at the NIH, other organizations within the Department of Health and Human Services, and academic and industry partners. Staff members regularly publish their research results in the medical informatics, computer and information sciences, and engineering communities. Our Medical Informatics Training Program brings talented individuals to the Lister Hill Center to learn from and collaborate with our research staff.

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 LHNCBC research include:

  • Consumer Health Question Answering -  research in both the automatic classification of customers’ requests and the automatic answering of consumer health questions.
  • Discoveries from Mimic II/III and Other Sources - from longitudinal research projects, electronic medical records, and health information exchanges, this work examines controversial findings from smaller scale clinical studies and conducts retrospective epidemiological studies in areas that lack clinical trials.
  • 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.
  • 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.