The National Library of Medicine has eliminated all online charges for searching three AIDS-related databases and an online directory of sources of information. The action, effective immediately, was announced on January 25, 1994, at a meeting of the NLM Board of Regents.
The 75,000 members of the NLM international online database network may now search AIDSLINE*, AIDSDRUGS, AIDSTRIALS, and DIRLINE* without charge. In the past, fees had averaged $1.25 per search, or $18 per hour connected to the NLM computer in Bethesda, Maryland.
The change to free access is the result of recommendations made at the NIH HIV/AIDS Information Services Conference (June 1993), at which members of community organizations made it clear that even the existing modest fees were a financial burden that was inhibiting their access. This is one of some 60 conference recommendations now under consideration by the National Institutes of Health. Recent increases in NLM's AIDS funding enables the Library to offer this service.
AIDSLINE is an online database with more than 90,000 references to AIDS-related journal articles, books, audiovisuals, and conference abstracts. AIDSTRIALS, produced as a joint effort with NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Food and Drug Administration, contains current information about more than 500 clinical trials of drugs and vaccines that have been and are being tested by NIH and by private organizations. AIDSDRUGS contains detailed information about the 190 agents being tested in the clinical trials. DIRLINE (Directory of Information Resources Online) is an online listing of 15,000 organizations and information services that provide information to the public about HIV/AIDS and other health-related topics.
The National Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health, is the world's largest library of the health sciences. The NLM Board of Regents, the official body of appointed advisors, meets three times a year to consider matters of policy affecting the Library and the public health.
Note to editors: The AIDS conference report, Information Services for HIV/AIDS: Recommendations to the NIH, is available from the Library's Office of Public Information.