On Friday, November 5, 1999 thirty-seven people from various AMIA working groups went on a site tour to the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The NLM is a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A bag lunch was provided as was bus transportation from the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, the site of the fall AMIA Symposium. At the NLM the tour group was greeted by Alexa McCray, Ph.D.. Due to the size of the group the attendees were divided into three separate groups. A general tour and a history of the NLM was a good introduction to the site. This was conducted by M. Modlin. One particularly interesting part of the NLM history was that it was housed in the Ford Theater for some twenty years; this was the site of President Lincoln's assassination.
The second portion of the tour was in the Learning Center. Multiple on-line projects were presented by physicians and other researchers from the NLM. Representative programs included WebMirs, NLM Gateway, UMLS, Medline-Plus, DocMorph Server, Visible Humans, NCBI, and others. Participants were encourage to interact with questions to the presenters or hands on use of the available workstations. Packets of literature pertaining to ongoing NLM projects were handed out to each participant at this time.
The last portion of the tour was led by Alexa McCray, Ph.D. An on-line presentation of an ongoing project called Medline-Plus and an overview of Clinical Trials at NLM was given. She also demonstrated online searching for journals and other information sources through the NLM.
After the exciting tour all participants were returned by bus, on time, to the AMIA Symposium hotel. Now, enriched with the knowledge of NLM resources, the participants were ready to register for the Symposium. We want to give many thanks to the NLM staff who donated their time and energy for this tour. Hopefully, this type of tour will be offered at future AMIA Symposiums.