NIH GUIDE, Volume 21, Number 26, July 17, 1992

PA NUMBER:  PA-92-93

P.T. 34


  Information Science/Systems 

  Computer Storage & Retrieval 

National Library of Medicine


The Resource Awards of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) assist

health science libraries in improving services by the application of

computer and telecommunication technology.  The description of the

program has been revised to clarify some ambiguities in the earlier

description and to call attention to current NLM policies that reflect

the Long-Range Plan and recent initiatives of the Federal Government in

the field of High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC).

Although the language is similar in general to the previous

description, prospective applicants should note particularly the

emphasis on on-line access, document delivery, use of NLM programs,

sensitivity to the growing importance of information networks, and the

review criteria.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health

promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"

a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Program

Announcement, Revised National Library of Medicine Resource Grant

Program, is related to the priority area of educational and community

based programs.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy

People 2000" (Full Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0) or "Healthy

People 2000" (Summary Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00473-1) through the

Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC

20402-9325 (telephone 202-783-3238).


Applications for resource grants may be made by any domestic public or

private, nonprofit health science institution or organization.  Health

science institutions include, but are not limited to, schools of the

health professions, health-related research institutions, health

professional associations, and health care institutions, including

hospitals, and other agencies of State and local governments.

Participants in consortium/contractual arrangements may be any

organizational entity (including, for example, Federal institutions,

proprietary hospitals, and public libraries) that will significantly

contribute to the service improvement objectives of the whole project.

Women and minority applicants, in particular, are encouraged to apply.

Foreign institutions are not eligible for Medical Library Resource (G07

and G08) Awards.


The primary mechanisms of support under this Program Announcement are

the medical library information access grant (G07) and the medical

library information systems grant (G08).  The grant mechanisms only

fund direct costs.


The Long-Range Plan of the NLM states that opportunities for

progressing from the present to the "electronic world of the future"

are linked to improving the infrastructure for information transfer and

facilitating the effective use of this infrastructure.  The Plan also

emphasizes the importance of providing medical libraries with access to

national networks.  It is appropriate that the resource grant mechanism

concentrate its efforts on an area of need also identified by Congress

in 1964 in the premier Medical Library Assistance Act:  the use and

improvement of technology necessary to coordinate and disseminate

health science information.

A new emphasis on technology and technological systems as the primary

means to meet broad Resource Program objectives has fundamental

applicability to both types of awards.

In addition, both award types hope to encourage, where feasible,

consortium/contractual arrangements that foster the sharing or expanded

accessibility of information resources.  Lastly, because

high-performance national networks will surely be the "information

highways" of the future, the NLM wishes to encourage strongly

applications that incorporate as an essential feature on-line access to

NLM databases by institutions or by individual users.  Applications

that do not incorporate national network access, such as applications

to purchase CD-ROM systems, for example, will not normally be funded.

Successful applicants will be those who communicate an understanding

that Resource Awards are not merely grants for hardware or

telecommunication systems.  Most likely to be favorably received are

applications for systems capable of expediting the flow of information

to end-users; accordingly, applicants are also asked to consider ways

and means of increasing use of the proposed system by health

professionals through training and/or cooperation with medical

directors and professional societies, or some other technique.

Particularly welcome will be applications that utilize NLM programs

such as GRATEFUL MED, DOCLINE, LONESOME DOC, and other NLM databases

that carry out the objectives of the OUTREACH initiative.  Connection

to Internet is strongly encouraged whenever local circumstances permit.

The NLM has a strong interest in participating in the National Research

and Education Network (NREN), which is now under active development

with the support of the Federal Government.  The NLM believes that

NREN, which will build on the existing Internet, will be the principal

biomedical information communications system in the years to come.

The NLM has a special interest in applications that support its

outreach program by improving information availability in underserved

rural and inner-city health care facilities.

The focus is different for each of the two award types.

o  The Information Access Grant

The purpose of the Information Access Grant is to facilitate access to

and delivery of health science information through up-to-date computer

and telecommunication technology.  Access Projects should promote a

dynamic link between health professionals and relevant information

resources.  On-line access to NLM databases and/or some provision for

providing documents should be elements of the application.

Information Access Awards are primarily directed to the libraries of

small to medium-sized community hospitals where the need for short-term

assistance to achieve these objectives is most evident.  If the

application proposes to promote searching of databases by individuals,

appropriate attention should be given to training users to accept and

utilize the proposed technology.

Single institutions may apply for up to $12,000 for one year of

support.  Applications involving consortium/ contractual arrangements

may be for up to $12,000 for one year for each participating

institution and, as an option, the responsible applicant institution

may include a request for $12,000 for an initial year for planning and

organizing the consortium.  Although the one-year planning award and

one-year implementation phase are requested concurrently in the initial

application, the funding of the second (implementation) year will be

contingent on the progress made and the quality of the plans developed.

Existing consortia may not need this optional year; however, the formal

agreement(s) or contract(s) requested by the application instructions

must address the programmatic, fiscal, and administrative arrangements

between the applicant and the collaborating organizations in the

context of the Information Access Project.  Some institutions may lack

appropriate staffing to design and implement a competitive application

or may need technical advice.  In such cases, the regional medical

library of the applicant may be of assistance, and appropriate

consultation may be budgeted.

o  The Information Systems Grant

The Information System Grant, like the Information Access Grant, is

intended to facilitate the utilization of health science information.

It is distinguished from the Access award by the scope and nature of

the technological means utilized.  It may encompass whole systems or it

may seek to establish connectivity of system components.  The

Information Systems Grant also provides support for innovative

improvements to the infrastructure, for example, using an artificial

intelligence technique as a strategic asset for managing information.

Information Systems Grants are primarily directed to academic health

science institutions and larger hospitals with significant teaching and

research components.  The organizational unit within the institution

that is directly responsible for the conduct of the project may be the

library or other information service/research-related department.

However, the grant is not a research instrument and the project must be

for an operational service activity.  Applicants for Systems Grants are

urged to incorporate on-line access to NLM databases and some provision

for document delivery into their applications.

Information Systems Grants may be for a one- to three-year period and,

except in unusual circumstances, are not renewable.  Based on the

availability of appropriated funds, the range of awards will be

approximately $50,000 to $150,000 per year.

Pre-application planning is essential for a well-written but in most

instances can be carried out by existing institutional mechanisms.

However, just as the Information Access Grant provides an NLM-supported

planning period for consortium organization and development, certain

Information Systems application (e.g., an inter-institutional project

for comprehensive computer networking) might also justify short-term

planning assistance from NLM.  A twelve-month or less separate planning

award for a subsequent Information Systems project is allowable.  Such

planning assistance is primarily for multi-institutional projects for

which the support could be a unifying and persuasive catalyst.  The

support is intended to defray costs such as meeting and travel

expenses, legal (contract) fees, staff release time for surveys of

technological resources, and consultant fees for assessment of systems



Applicants are to use the research grant application form PHS 398 (rev.

9/91), available at the applicant's institutional Application Control

Office and from the Office of Grants Inquiries, Division of Research

Grants, National Institutes of Health, Westwood Building, Room 240,

Bethesda, MD  20892, telephone (301) 496-7441.

Complete item 2a on the face page of the application indicating that

the application is in response to this Program Announcement and print

(next to the checked box) REVISED NLM RESOURCE GRANT PROGRAM.

The application and five copies must be mailed or delivered to:

Division of Research Grants

National Institutes of Health

Westwood Building, Room 240

Bethesda, MD  20892**

Additional information and assistance are available from the National

Library of Medicine, telephone (301) 496-4221, FAX (301) 402-0421; and

are also available from the Regional Medical Libraries.  Deadline dates

for all new applications are:  February 1, June 1, and October 1.


Applications will be reviewed for merit by the Biomedical Library

Review Committee.  Following initial review, the applications will

receive a second-level review by the Board of Regents of the National

Library of Medicine.

Applicants should verify that each of the following critical review

elements is adequately addressed in the appropriate parts of the

application or its appendices:

o  Appropriateness of project (objectives vs. information needs of


o  Feasibility of objectives

o  Appropriate use of technology (including user training)

o  Qualifications and experience of key personnel

o  Plan for estimating the achievements of the proposed project

o  Assurance of communication of results (see SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS


o  Appropriateness of grant budget and likelihood that applicant will

continue support of project after the grant period

o  Conformity to the spirit of the NLM Long-Range Plan as described in

this Program Announcement

Institutions applying for resource grants should recognize that even

moderately successful projects will generate additional institutional

expenses during and after the period of NLM grant support.  Assurance

that such costs will be covered by the institution is given, tacitly,

by the acceptance of an award.  It is important that reviewers are

persuaded that adequate attention has been given to fiscal planning and

that post-award fiscal commitments are sound.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved

applications assigned to the NLM.  The following will be considered

when making funding decisions:

o  Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review

o  Availability of funds

o  Program balance


Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to

clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Applicants are encouraged to contact:

Mrs. Frances E. Johnson

Biomedical Information Support Branch

Extramural Programs

National Library of Medicine

Building 38A, Room 5S520

Bethesda, MD  20894

Telephone:  (301) 496-4221

Application materials and information may also be obtained from the

Regional Medical Libraries of the National Network of Libraries of

Medicine (NN/LM), a list of which is available from Mrs. Johnson.

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Ellen Meltzer

Grants Management Specialist

National Library of Medicine

Building 38A, Room 5N515

Bethesda, MD  20894

Telephone:  (301) 496-4253


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

under Medical Library Assistance, Chapter 93.879.  Grants will be

awarded under the Authority of the Public Health Service Act, Section

474(42 USC 286b-5) and administered under PHS grants policies and

Federal Regulations, most specifically at 42 CFR Part 59a and 45 CFR

part 74.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review

requirements of Executive order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.


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