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The MLA Educational Media & Technologies Section: A Twenty-Five Year History


Despite earlier disagreements over the direction and future of AVline, NLM has moved into a true leadership role with information technologies and multimedia funding and development. We all know that NLM took over the loan operations of the National Medical Audiovisual Center in Atlanta (NMAC) many years ago. And, of course, they created a Learning Resource Laboratory at NLM's Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications. They have conducted studies of the efficacy of computer-assisted-instruction, and contributed vast amounts of information to medical education through the publication of their own videodisc projects. Much of this information has been made available to the wider community (to the benefit of those of us in EMTS) through their multimedia outreach intiative, ETnet. The attitude of the mid-1970's had obviously changed. In fact, NLM established itself as a pioneer in the multimedia field.

A report of the first NLM videodisc project which began in 1982 with field testing was reported in the Jan.-Feb. 1984 issue of the NLM News . The videodisc, "Basic Medical Pathology," was accompanied by software. Other early projects included topics on radiology and dental simulations. Certainly, today, the most well-known and widely utilized of the NLM supported media projects is "The Visible Human Project" which was originally offered on the internet. It required total commitment of a mainframe computer for two weeks of downloading time! Now available on videodisc and in subsets on commercial CDs, its potential is boundless.

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