RELEASE DATE:  February 14, 2002
RFA:  RFA-LM-02-001


National Library of Medicine


o Purpose of this RFA
o Research Objectives
o Mechanism(s) of Support
o Funds Available
o Eligible Institutions
o Individuals Eligible to Become Principal Investigators
o Special Requirements
o Where to Send Inquiries
o Letter of Intent
o Submitting an Application
o Peer Review Process
o Review Criteria
o Receipt and Review Schedule
o Award Criteria
o Required Federal Citations


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) offers grants to health-related 
institutions that wish to provide the professionals and clients of 
their organization with access to high-quality health information via 
the Internet. NLM recognizes that many health-related organizations, 
particularly smaller ones and those in rural and/or urban health-
underserved areas, lack resources to take full advantage of the 
Internet's ability to facilitate informed decision making by health 
professionals and consumers. The Internet Access to Digital Libraries 
(IADL)grant enables organizations to offer access to health-related 
information provided by NLM and others, of transferring files and 
images, and of interacting by e-mail and videoconferencing with 
colleagues throughout the world. 

The phrase 'digital library' refers to a collection of information, 
data or knowledge, stored on a computer. Examples of digital libraries 
include collections of published articles and books, electronic health 
records, curriculum materials, multimedia documents and scientific 
knowledge bases. Access to a digital library may also involve access to 
professional library services and expertise, such as question 
answering, advanced searching, online training and document delivery. 
The purpose of the Internet Access to Digital Libraries grant is to 
help health-related organizations provide their health professionals, 
staff, researchers, librarians and clients with access to digital 
health information resources and information services of the highest 
quality. A request for connectivity to the Internet, or evidence that 
Internet connectivity is already available, is fundamental to 
successful grant applications in this program. 

Internet Access to Digital Libraries grants are not merely grants for 
hardware or software or telecommunications systems. They should bring 
high-quality health-related information to end-users. Applicants will 
be asked to describe how they will increase the usage of the proposed 
system and how they plan to support the system & services after grant 
funding ends.

NLM strongly encourages applications to include as an essential feature 
online access to NLM databases and programs such as MEDLINE/PubMed, 
MEDLINEPlus, Entrez, TOXNET,, and PubMed Central.  
If document delivery is a feature of the proposal, applicants should 
incorporate such features such as DOCLINE®, and Loansome Doc. 
Applications which address one or more of NLM's objectives as 
articulated in the 2000-2005 Long Range Plan are particularly welcome.

IADL grants can be used to support a variety of activities and services 
including but not limited to the following:

o The purchase and installation of equipment and software for initial 
or expanded connectivity to the Internet, including computers, servers, 
firewalls and routers;
o The cost of installation and leasing of communication circuits to 
connect to an Internet Service Provider and the cost of Internet 
Service Provider fees during the grant period;
o The cost of open-access personal computers and software that enables 
access to Internet-accessible digital libraries. Proposals for wireless 
connectivity and end-user devices will be considered when necessary to 
complete the organization's mission goals;
o Certain auxiliary expenses
In conjunction with a request for new or expanded Internet 
connectivity, applicants may request support for information resources 
and services during the period of the grant with the constraint that 
the total requested budget may not exceed the maximum amounts listed 
below for applications to this grant program. Such allowable auxiliary 
expenses may include, but are not limited to the following:

o The cost of initial licenses for new published digital information;
o The cost of an initial contract for Internet-based library services 
such as expert search services or document delivery;
o Costs for website development and/or electronic mail capabilities to 
support remote access to digital libraries and information services;
o The cost of training for staff and system users to use the new 
service or resource.

Applicants may not use the IADL grant to support the costs of existing 
information infrastructure or library resources, or to expand the 
library's collections. The purpose of the grants is to initiate new 
services or extend existing services to a larger audience.

Proposals to install local CD-ROM systems or to build private networks 
that do not connect to the Internet will not be considered. The 
purchase of print materials will be considered only in special circumstances.

This RFA uses the NIH G07 award mechanism.  As an applicant you will be 
solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed 
project.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation. However, NLM is planning 
to permit on-going applications to this program by publishing a Program 
Announcement after the Awards arising from this RFA have been 
completed. The anticipated award date is September 30, 2002.

This RFA uses just-in-time concepts.  It also uses the non-modular 
budgeting format.  See 
and follow the instructions for non-modular research grant applications.

The National Library of Medicine intends to commit approximately $1.5 
million in FY 2002 to fund 20 to 25 new grants in response to this RFA.  

A single-site applicant may request up to $45,000. Multi-site 
organizations, consortia and health partnerships may request the base 
amount plus $8,000 for each additional participating site. For example, 
a hospital with 5 off-site clinics could request up to $85,000.  A 
health education center with 7 remote training locations could request 
up to $101,000. A consortium of 10 community organizations could 
request up to $117,000. Applications for projects that connect more 
than 15 sites require prior approval by the program officer listed 
below. NLM expects that most projects will be for a one-year period. 
The applicant may choose up to two years as the project period but 
should understand that expanding the project period does not increase 
the total size of the award.

These grants provide budget support for direct costs, including 
personnel, hardware and software, training, travel and other costs 
related to the implementation of the proposed projects. Facilities and 
administrative costs, sometimes called overhead or indirect costs, are 
not provided.  For those institutions lacking appropriate staff to 
design and implement a competitive application or that need technical 
advice, appropriate consultation may be budgeted.  

Although the financial plans of the National Library of Medicine 
provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA are 
contingent upon the availability of funds and the receipt of a 
sufficient number of meritorious applications.  
U.S. public and private, non-profit health-related organizations are 
eligible to apply.  "Health-related" includes medicine, dentistry, 
nursing, pharmacy, veterinary medicine and other activities related to 
the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of disease. 
Academic centers, hospitals, clinics, schools and community health 
centers, libraries, public health facilities, and units of state, local 
or federal government, among others, are examples of organizations that 
are eligible to apply. NLM is particularly interested in applications 
from institutions that serve rural, inner city or other under-served 
areas. Small health organizations and academic centers in the 23 
eligible IDeA states and Puerto Rico, 
historically black universities and colleges, faith-based and 
community-based organizations are welcome. Groups (or cooperatives) of 
health-related institutions are also eligible to apply. A single, lead 
institution must apply on behalf of the group.

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to 
carry out the proposed project is invited to work with an appropriate 
institution to develop an application for support.  Individuals from 
underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, women and individuals with 
disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH programs.   

We encourage inquiries concerning this RFA and welcome the opportunity 
to answer questions from potential applicants.  

o Direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Valerie Florance, Ph.D.
Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Rockledge 1, Suite 301
6705 Rockledge Drive MSC 7968
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-4223
FAX:  (301) 402-2952

o Direct your questions about financial or grants management matters to:

Laurence Dash
Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Rockledge 1, Suite 301
6705 Rockledge Drive MSC 7968
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-4221
FAX:  (301) 402-0421
Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that 
includes the following information:

o Descriptive title of the proposed research
o Name, address, and telephone number of the Principal Investigator
o Names of other key personnel 
o Participating institutions
o Number and title of this RFA 

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does 
not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information 
that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review 
workload and plan the review.
The letter of intent is to be sent by the date listed at the beginning 
of this document.  The letter of intent should be sent to:

Merlyn Rodrigues, M.D., Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
Division of Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Rockledge One Building, Suite 301
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD  20892


Applications must be prepared using the PHS 398 research grant 
application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001). Not all sections of 
this form are needed when responding to this RFA (see Supplemental 
Instructions). The grant application form and detailed instructions for 
completing it are available at  Applicants 
who use the 'fillable' PDF form can print, but not save, their 
completed proposals. Those who wish to save a copy should download the 
RTF files and open them with a preferred word processing program. 

For further assistance with obtaining form PHS 398 contact GrantsInfo, 
Telephone (301) 710-0267, Email:


The PHS 398 application form is commonly used for research grants, and 
the wording in some sections reflects that use. Applicants for IADL 
grants should not feel daunted by this. IADL grants are not research 
projects, and applications will be evaluated in the spirit of the program.

The PHS 398 application contains a number of sections that are not used 
when responding to this RFA. The following section lists the parts of 
application form PHS 398 that are required in the Internet Access to 
Digital Libraries grant application.  
Use the following pages of PHS 398 for the IADL proposal:

O Form Page 1 (Face Page)
O Form Page 2 (Description, Sites, Key Personnel)
O Form Page 5 (Budget for Entire Proposed Project Period)
O Form Page 6 (Biographical Sketch Page (see below for optional format)
O Continuation Format Page (see below for optional format)
O Checklist Form Page
O Personal Data Form Page

Be sure to obtain the instructions for completing PHS 398 from the PHS 
398 application web site (see above). These comprehensive instructions 
provide examples and definitions of terms.

Form Page 1. Face Page – refer to section 1 of the detailed 
instructions for completing form PHS 398, with the following changes
O Item 2. Response to Specific Program Announcement 
Check the "YES" box. In Number, enter N/A Title: NLM Internet Access to 
Digital Libraries
O Item 3. Principal Investigator: Enter the name of the project 
director for the proposed activity.
O Item 4. Human Subjects Research: Check the "NO" box
O Item 5: Vertebrate Animals: Check the "NO" box
O Item 6. Dates of Entire Proposed Project Period: Access to Internet 
Digital Libraries grants can last one or two years.
O Items 7a and 7b, and 8a and 8b. Costs 
For IADL grants, enter the year 1 total amount in 7a and 7b. For a 1-
year grant, enter the same number in 8a and 8b. For a 2-year grant, put 
the 2-year total in 8a and 8b.

Form Page 2. Description, Sites, Key Personnel – refer to section 2 of 
the detailed instructions for completing form PHS 398, with the 
following changes
O Description: State the project's goals and specific aims. Describe 
the applicant organization and how this project helps the organization 
achieve its health-related goals. If the application is funded, this 
description will become public information. 
O Performance sites: List each location at which grant-funded activity 
will take place.
O Key Personnel: Include the names of all persons who have defined 
roles on the project, including contacts at off-site locations if appropriate.

Form Page 5 Budget for Entire Proposed Project Period – refer to 
section 5 of the detailed instructions for completing form PHS 398, 
with the following changes
The entire budget for the project, whether for one or two years, is 
entered in the budget page. Enter a total for each category with the 
following exceptions:
O Salaries. If no dollar amount is requested, enter "contributed" or 0
O Patient Care Costs. Enter 'N/A' or 0
O Consortium/Contractual Costs. Enter 'N/A' or 0. Sub-contracts are not 
used; the award is made to a single organization
O Add up the direct costs and enter the total in the box indicated in 
column 5. This is the amount that should be entered in 8a and 8b.
O Justification: Begin at the bottom of Form Page 5, add additional 
pages as needed, using the continuation page or a page with the same format
O Key personnel. Give the % FTE each will give to the project in each 
year and briefly outline their role.
O Consultant Costs: Include the hourly rate and responsibilities. If 
the consultant is already selected, attach a letter of agreement from 
them that mentions the fee and responsibilities.
O Equipment: name the kinds of equipment, brand names, item costs if known. 
O Supplies: if requested, name kinds and costs.
O Travel: if requested, indicate number of trips, costs and rationale.
O Alterations & Renovations: if requested, attach a cost estimate 
if possible.
O Other Expenses: provide a list, with unit costs. Software, ISP fees, 
telecommunication costs, subscription costs and the like should be 
included here.

Form Page 6 Biographical Sketch - refer to section 6 of the detailed 
instructions for completing form PHS 398, with the following changes
O Applicants may use Form Page 6 or substitute a standard CV or Resume. 
Include biographical information for each person listed as Key 
personnel on Form Page 2.
O In the biographical sketch, include relevant courses taken and skills 
of project personnel, such as Internet training, library skills, TCP/IP 
skills, networking expertise, etc. 

Project Plan – use the Form Continuation Page or create a document 
which conforms to the same format, described on page 3 of the detailed 
instructions for completing form PHS 398.

The Project plan should describe the aims of the project, what will be 
done, the people who will carry out the work, the people who will be 
affected, and how the project will be managed. Use as many copies of 
the Continuation Page as needed, up to 25 pages. (Use the space needed 
to describe your project; do not consider it necessary to fill 25 pages 
if fewer are sufficient. Observe font restrictions for PHS 398). Cover 
the following points in the project plan:

a. Objectives
Clearly state the project's aims. Why does the applicant want to do 
this and what benefit is it expected to bring to the organizations and 
communities involved? 

b. Background
Describe the applicant organization(s) and performance sites. Who are 
the primary clients served by the applicant(s)? What are the basic 
demographic characteristics of the community to be served? What kinds 
of information resources and services, computing and communication 
technologies are already in place? Describe the status of the applicant 
organization's existing information resources or networks, and the 
current and future users. Include a network diagram or map if 
appropriate. Report accomplishments to date in preparing for the 
project, such as identifying user needs or bringing a planning 
committee together for the project.

c. Work Plan
Describe the steps to be taken in accomplishing the project aims, 
addressing each aim listed in (a).  Provide a timeline that shows the 
duration and sequence of the steps. 

d. Training and Evaluation
Describe how the people who receive new or improved access to the 
Internet will be trained to find health-related information. What kind 
of training will be provided, when and where will it be offered,  and 
how will its effectiveness be measured? If funds are requested for 
project staff to receive technical training, describe the nature of the 
training and provide a justification.

e. Personnel
Describe the roles of the key personnel - who is responsible for doing 
the work and for making certain that work is completed correctly and on 
time? If consultants are to be used, describe their roles and qualifications.

f. Project Management
Describe the techniques and kinds of information that will be used to 
monitor progress and judge the success of the project. What kinds of 
information will be gathered to assess the impact that access to the 
Internet has on the organization's ability to meet its goals?

g. Future Support
How will financial and technical support be provided after the grant 
ends? Will arrangements be made to provide users with additional 
training and/or library resources and services?

h. Literature Cited
As appropriate, include some references to publications that support 
your project goals.

Checklist Form Page –  follow the instructions below
Type of application: Check the "new application" or "Revision" box. If 
a revision, enter the grant number where indicated. Leave the rest of 
this section blank.
1. Program Income: Leave this section blank
2. Assurances: Read this section and refer to the instructions as 
needed for explanations of the certifications
3. Facilities and Administrative Costs: Check the box that says "No 
Facilities and Administrative Costs Requested". Leave the rest of this 
section blank
4. Smoke-Free Workplace: Respond as appropriate

Personal Data Form Page 
As the detailed instructions for completing PHS 398 indicate, this form 
is self-explanatory.

Appendix – These materials are not part of the 25-page project plan
Applicants may attach selected materials relevant to the proposal, 
including cost estimates, letters of support, memoranda of 
understanding, and the like. If a paid consultant is to be used, attach 
a letter describing the consultant's role on the project. Appendices 
should not contain such information as timelines and milestones; that 
information belongs in the project plan.   

Final Checklist: A completed application must include these parts. 
Incomplete applications will be withdrawn and returned to the 
applicant. Please be certain that all areas are filled in on each form, 
as described above.

O Face Page (Form Page 1)
O Description, Sites, Key Personnel (Form Page 2)
O Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period (Form Page 4)
O Biographical Sketch or Resume for each of the Key Personnel
O Project Plan (up to 25 pages)
O Checklist Form Page
O Personal Data Form Page
O Appendix (Optional)

Applications not received as a single package on the receipt date or 
not conforming to the instructions, including page limitations and font 
size, contained in PHS 398 will be judged non-responsive and will be 
returned to the applicant.

USING THE RFA LABEL: The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 
5/2001) application form must be affixed to the bottom of the face page 
of the application.  Type the RFA number on the label.  Failure to use 
this label could result in delayed processing of the application such 
that it may not reach the review committee in time for review.  In 
addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on line 2 of the face 
page of the application form and the YES box must be marked. The RFA 
label is also available at:
SENDING AN APPLICATION TO THE NIH: Submit a signed, typewritten 
original of the application, including the Checklist, and three signed, 
photocopies, in one package to:
Center For Scientific Review
National Institutes Of Health
6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 1040, MSC 7710
Bethesda, MD  20892-7710
Bethesda, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)
At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application 
must be sent to:

Merlyn Rodrigues, M.D., Ph.D.
Office of Scientific Review
Division of Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Rockledge One Building, Suite 301
6705 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD  20892
APPLICATION PROCESSING: Applications must be received by the 
application receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.  If an 
application is received after that date, it will be returned to the 
applicant without review.
The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application 
in response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently 
pending initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending 
application.  The CSR will not accept any application that is 
essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude 
the submission of substantial revisions of applications already 
reviewed, but such applications must include an Introduction addressing 
the previous critique.

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR 
and responsiveness by the National Library of Medicine.

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without 
further consideration.  And, if the application is not responsive to 
the RFA, CSR staff may contact the applicant to determine whether to 
return the application to the applicant or submit it for review in 
competition with unsolicited applications at the next appropriate NIH 
review cycle.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be 
evaluated for merit by an appropriate peer review group convened by the 
National Library of Medicine in accordance with the review criteria 
stated below.  As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

o Receive a written critique
o Undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to have the 
highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications 
under review, will be discussed and assigned a priority score
o Receive a second level review by the Board of Regents of the National 
Library of Medicine.  

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  
In the written comments, reviewers will be asked to discuss the 
following aspects of your application in order to judge the likelihood 
that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the 
pursuit of these goals: 

o Significance 
o Approach 
o Innovation
o Investigator
o Environment
The scientific review group will address and consider each of these 
criteria in assigning your application's overall score, weighting them 
as appropriate for each application.  Your application does not need to 
be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major 
scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For example, 
you may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not 
innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

(1) SIGNIFICANCE:  Does your study address an important problem? If the 
aims of your application are achieved, how do they advance scientific 
knowledge?  What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or 
methods that drive this field?

(2) APPROACH:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and 
analyses adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the 
aims of the project?  Do you acknowledge potential problem areas and 
consider alternative tactics?

(3) INNOVATION:  Does your project employ novel concepts, approaches or 
methods? Are the aims original and innovative?  Does your project 
challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4) INVESTIGATOR: Are you appropriately trained and well suited to 
carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to your 
experience level as the principal investigator and to that of other 
researchers (if any)?

(5) ENVIRONMENT:  Does the scientific environment in which your work 
will be done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed 
experiments take advantage of unique features of the scientific 
environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there 
evidence of institutional support?

ADDITIONAL REVIEW CRITERIA: In addition to the above criteria, your 
application will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o BUDGET:  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested 
period of support in relation to the proposed research.

Because NLM Internet Access to Digital Libraries grants are not 
research grants, innovation and scientific importance are not key 
review criteria. Merit of the application will be judged by equivalent 
standards as described below.

The project plan for an Internet Access to Digital Libraries grant 
should address each of the following elements. These elements will be 
used in the merit review of all accepted applications. 

o Need for the project (as evidenced in expressed information needs of 
users or participating organizations) 
o Specific aims and timeline for achieving them
o Plans for training new users to use the newly developed digital 
library resources or services effectively
o Plans for protecting the confidentiality of  personal health 
information, if clinical information is a part of the project
o Plans for evaluating the use and effects of improved access to 
digital library resources
o Qualifications and experience of key personnel and consultants
o Resources and environment at the host organization(s) that contribute 
to the success of the project
o Appropriateness of grant budget
o Plans for financial support of system and services after grant 
funding ends
o Relationship to NLM's stated objectives for the program.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to involve librarians in their plans 
for providing training and services. Assistance in developing a 
proposal or training plan for an Internet Access to Digital Libraries 
grant is available from the regional headquarters staff of the National 
Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). Contact information for NN/LM 
libraries is available at 1-800-338-7657 or at


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    April 26, 2002
Application Receipt Date:         May 24, 2002
Peer Review Date:                 July, 2002
Council Review:                   September, 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  October 1, 2002

Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o Scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o Availability of funds
o Programmatic priorities.

policy requires education on the protection of human subject 
participants for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research 
involving human subjects.  You will find this policy announcement in the 
NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts Announcement, dated June 5, 2000, at

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been 
revised to provide public access to research data through the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances.  Data that are (1) 
first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with 
Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency 
in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a 
regulation) may be accessed through FOIA.  It is important for 
applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment.  NIH has 
provided guidance at

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this PA in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time.  If so, the application 
should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design 
and include information about this in the budget justification section 
of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to 
structure informed consent statements and other human subjects 
procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under 
this award.

proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page 
limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet 
addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to 
the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the 
Internet sites.   Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity 
may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2010: The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to 
achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of 
"Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority 
areas. This RFA is related to one or more of the priority areas. 
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS: The Medical Library Assistance Act of 1965 
and its subsequent extensions authorize grants to improve health 
information resources and services. The NLM's Resource Grant 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 grant policies and Federal Regulations, most 
specifically at 42 CFR Part 59a and 45 CFR Part 74. This program is not 
subject to the inter-governmental review requirements of Executive 
Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. 

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products.  In 
addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits 
smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a 
facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, 
health care, or early childhood development services are provided to 
children.  This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and 
advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

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