Thursday, March 15, 2007

Provision of Medical Information - Ask Cosmo, NLM’s Virtual Representative!

1. "Ask Cosmo" is an automated answer-my-question site at
Many questions from the general public can be answered by Cosmo the Owl.

2. Questions may be directed by telephone at the following numbers:
(888) FIND-NLM
(888) 346-3656 Local and international calls:
(301) 594-5983
Background note: NLM usually received from 200 to 500 requests per day when I was there. Some were library questions ("How to I use PubMed?") but many were cries for medical help ("My daughter has cancer and the medicine isn't working, what can I do?").
Al Reynolds [ecumenical77 at earthlink dot net] wrote:
I served on the Customer Service staff of the National Library of Medicine for two years. Such questions are constantly being directed to NLM as a free and reputable source of medical information.

There are 7 or 8 full time staff members tasked with responding to such questions. Of course we are not clinicians, so we provide information found on such sites as MedlinePlus and PubMed, and we use directory sites, advocacy organizations and professional associations quite heavily.
You or your patrons may address queries to:
A response will be sent within 4 working days. NLM does not send printed materials.
During my two years I worked messages originating in 106 countries.
Al Reynolds
Reference Assistant
Frederick Memorial Hospital
Frederick, Maryland
Former contractor at U.S. National Library of Medicine

P.S. This information is disseminated with permission from Al Reynolds.

From the Blogosphere:
  • Ask Cosmo, NLM’s Virtual Representative! by Jodi
  • 1 comment:

    Mohamed Taher said...

    A coincidence or co-occurance?
    This post comes up at a time when the Informaticopia's blog has a post on the growing concern about lack of credibility on the Web--esp. quack and half-baked medical advisory info is loaded.
    Read this: Health websites need personal testimonies