When Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D. became Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine in 1984, trained searchers, primarily librarians, conducted less than three million searches of NLM databases. They paid for their fair share of the commercial telecommunications costs to reach NLM’s computer system. In 2015 when Lindberg retired, millions of scientists, health professionals, patients, members of the public, and librarians conducted billions of free searches of NLM’s greatly expanded electronic resources via the Internet. Lindberg came to NLM intending to expand access to biomedical and health information along multiple dimensions: reaching more users, providing more types and volumes of information and data; and improving the conceptual, technical, and organizational connections needed to provide information to users when and where it is needed. By any measure he and NLM were spectacularly successful. This chapter discusses some key decisions and developments that contributed to that success.
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