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NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg Receives 2014 Paul Evan Peters Award!

The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE have announced that Donald A.B. Lindberg, Director of the National Library of Medicine, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award. The award recognizes notable, lasting achievements in the creation and innovative use of network-based information resources and services that advance scholarship and intellectual productivity. Named for CNI’s founding director, the award honors the memory and accomplishments of Paul Evan Peters (1947–1996), a visionary and a coalition builder in higher education and the world of scholarly communication, who led CNI from its founding in 1990. The award will be presented during the CNI membership meeting in St. Louis, MO, to be held March 31–April 1, 2014, where Dr. Lindberg will deliver the Paul Evan Peters Memorial Lecture. The talk will be recorded and made available on CNI’s YouTube and Vimeo channels after the meeting concludes.

Dr. Lindberg’s interest in the potential intersection between information technology and the biological sciences stretches back to the early days of his career. He joined the pathology faculty at the University of Missouri in 1960, where he developed the first automated lab system and an automated patient history acquisition system. He implemented an automated statewide system for interpreting electrocardiograms, as well as other medical applications for the computer. Around this time, he also began publishing articles in a field that would come to be known as medical informatics, including The Computer and Medical Care, which appeared in 1968.

Dr. Lindberg has worked as a scientist for over 50 years, becoming widely recognized as an innovator in applying computer technology to health care, medical diagnosis, artificial intelligence, and educational programs. In 1984 he was appointed director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest biomedical library, a post that he still holds. As NLM’s Director, Dr. Lindberg convinced the United States Congress that the Library was an essential information conduit, facilitating the decision-making process of scientists and pharmaceutical companies, and, ultimately, benefiting patients and the general public, thereby securing the organization’s robust future. He has spearheaded countless transformative programs in medical informatics, including the Unified Medical Language System, making it possible to link health information, medical terms, drug names and billing codes across different computer systems; the Visible Human Project, a digital image library of complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of the normal male and female human bodies; the production and implementation of ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world; and, the establishment of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a national resource for molecular biology information and genetic processes that control health and disease. Today, NLM has a budget of $327 million, more than 800 employees, and digital information services that are used billions of times a year by millions of scientists, health professionals, and members of the public.

Dr. Lindberg is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and has received numerous honors and awards, including the prestigious Morris F. Collen, MD, Award of Excellence of the American College of Medical Informatics, and the Surgeon General’s Medallion of the US Public Health Service. He received his medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and an undergraduate degree from Amherst College. A four-member committee selected Dr. Lindberg for the award: the late Ann J. Wolpert, director of libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; George O. Strawn, director of the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) National Coordination Office (NCO); Sally Jackson, professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Joan Lippincott, associate executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information.

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