|Type||National library, Medical library, Research library|
|Scope||medicine, health, nutrition, environment, agriculture|
|Location||Cologne and Bonn|
|Items collected||books, journals, electronic media|
9,000 journal subscriptions
25 million documents
|Legal deposit||Yes, for publications in the Federal Republic of Germany|
|Budget||€5.7 million (acquisitions)|
The German National Library of Medicine (German: Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Medizin), abbreviated ZB MED, is the national library of the Federal Republic of Germany for medicine, health sciences, nutrition, agriculture and the environment. It has two locations: Cologne and Bonn. The library is jointly financed by the Federal Ministry of Health and the 16 States of Germany. It is operated under the auspices of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The medical library was initially formed 1973 through the mergers of several much older institutions. Between 2001 and 2003 it was further expanded to include nutritional, environmental and agricultural sciences. As a result, today ZB MED is the world's largest specialist library in its five subjects and the largest medical library in Europe.
The Academy of Practical Medicine (German: Akademie für praktische Medizin) established a hospital library in 1908 and it became a department of the University and City Library of Cologne (German: Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln) in 1920. The library survived World War II intact and in 1949 the German Research Foundation (DFG) granted it nationwide responsibility for collecting medical literature in West Germany. It also began collecting English language publications through financial support from the DFG. By 1963 the library held 250,000 books and subscribed to 1,100 journal titles.
In 1964, the German Science Council recommended that an independent National Library of Medicine be formed out of the University and City Library's medical department. Formally established in 1973, it was given a mandate to acquire relevant material in all medical subjects and languages. In 1994 the library's name was changed to the “Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Medizin” and in 1999 moved to a new building on the campus of the Hospital of the University of Cologne.
In 1847 the Royal Agricultural Academy (German: Königlich Landwirthschaftliche Akademie) was founded in Bonn-Poppelsdorf and it became a full degree-granting university in 1919. In 1934 the Agricultural University was incorporated into the University of Bonn and the library became a department of the main university library. By 1950 it was the largest agricultural library in West Germany. In 1962 the library was renamed the National Library of Agricultural Science (German: Zentralbibliothek der Landbauwissenschaft) and given nationwide responsibility for agriculture by the German Research Foundation DFG. It became the German center for the Agricultural Libraries Network (AGLINET) in 1971 and moved into a new building in 1983. In 1987 the building was subject to an arson attack requiring extensive remodeling, although none of its 300,000 items were lost.
In 1999 the German Science Council recommended Bonn University's agricultural library be merged with the ZB MED. The subject areas of nutrition and the environment were incorporated in 2001 followed by agriculture in 2003. Since then ZB MED operates as ZB MED Medicine. Health. at the site in Cologne and ZB MED Nutrition. Environment. Agriculture. at the site in Bonn.
The book collection primarily consists of German and English-language volumes, while journals are acquired in all languages and from all countries. The library is a particular specialist in the acquisition of "gray literature", difficult to obtain and not available via the standard book or journal trade. As of 2011, it holds:
- 1.5 million books
- 9000 journal titles (196,000 articles delivered annually)
- 25 million documents
The library's physical collection spans over 38 km of bookshelves.
Users are primarily students, doctors, scientists and industry clients, although the library is open to general public. There is no charge for using the library buildings or borrowing books. The library also provides access to its collections via its own online portals for searching, full-text reading and ordering hard copies. Access to full text journal articles is also available through the Electronic Journals Library (EZB)  Since December 2010 all the catalog data of ZB MED is freely licensed under CC0.
Open access publishing
ZB MED operates or participates in several large open access initiatives.
- ElliNET is a service developed and operated by ZB MED which offers authors the opportunity to publish scientific texts, medical journal articles, conference materials and research reports in accordance with open access principles. Works can be published, archived and accessed without restriction and there is no charge. ElliNET also serves as the institutional repository for the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne as well as its graduate and post-graduate programs.
- German Medical Science (GMS), co-founded by ZB MED in 2003, is an open access peer-reviewed publications platform where authors retain copyright and dissemination rights.
- CKAN is used by ZB MED to further extended its open access philosophy by registering datasets on journal articles. In 2011 it published datasets on 650,000 articles from about 650 German-language journals. 90% of the data wasn't part of the MedLine data set. It published further datasets on over 9,000 articles from 200 journals in the applied life sciences.
As a member of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community, ZB MED is charged with providing infrastructure facilities for science and research funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). It operates two Web portals which function as virtual specialist libraries: MEDPILOT  (for medicine) and GREENPILOT  (for nutrition, environment and agriculture). In 2009, GREENPILOT was given an award as a “Landmark in the Land of Ideas” by the President of Germany.
ZB MED partners with a variety of national and international libraries, institutions and associations.
Goportis library network
It works directly with the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) and German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) on developing and operating online search services, licensing agreements, document preservation efforts and data storage.
It is also the official European supplier for full-text articles through the PubMed bibliographic database operated by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) – the world's largest medical library. It is also partnered with the Agricultural Information Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (AII/CAAS), including a reciprocal agreement on mutual assistance in case of catastrophic events.
ZB MED has over 30 additional cooperative arrangements, including:
- Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany (AWMF)
- DataCite e.V.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI) 
- Leibniz Association
- US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- World Health Organization (WHO) 
- German National Library of Economics
- German National Library of Science and Technology
- List of libraries in Germany
- German National Library of Medicine retrieved 21-May-2012
- ZBMED Channel, retrieved 23-May-2012
- DataCite Archived 2013-01-22 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 23-May-2012
- Theime Publishing Group license with ZB MED online retrieved 23-May-2012
- History of the ZB MED Archived 2011-12-08 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 23-May-2012
- University of Bonn Faculty of Agriculture (in German) retrieved 23-May-2012
- Miriam A. Drake (ed.): Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, First Update Supplement CRC Press; 2nd edition (June 2, 2005) ISBN 978-0849338946
- ZB MED Information for Visitors Archived 2012-06-06 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 23-May-2012
- Electronic Journals Library (EZB) ZB MED holdings online, retrieved 23-May-2012
- Heike Grelka: Die ZB MED unterstützt mir der Freigabe ihrer Katalogdaten eine stärkere Integration der Bibliotheken ins Web (Informationsdienst Wissenschaft, 2010) idw-online (in German) retrieved 23-May-2012
- ElliNET – The ZB MED’s Document and Publication Service Archived 2012-07-20 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 23-May-2012
- Ulrich Korwitz: German Medical Science open access publication system (Berlin: Humboldt-Universität, 2007) Online retrieved 23-May-2012
- Adrian Pohl: ZB MED Publishes Open Article Data in Medicine and Life Sciences Open Knowledge Foundation, 06-Sept-2011 Online retrieved 23-May-2012
- Dagmar Giersberg: Rhineland Giant – The German National Library of Medicine (Bonn: Goethe Institute, 2010) Online retrieved 23-May-2012
- Bettina Kullmer: Ausgezeichnet: GREENPILOT wird "Ausgewählter Ort im Land der Ideen". (Informationsdienst Wissenschaft, 15.05.2009) idw-online (in German) retrieved 23-May-2012
- German National Library of Science and Technology - Goportis retrieved 28-May-2012
- German National Library of Medicine Partnerships Archived 2011-12-08 at the Wayback Machine (in English) retrieved 23-May-2012
- AII/CAAS and ZBMED Fields of Co-Operation retrieved 23-May-2012.
- DIMDI’s National and International Cooperation Partners  retrieved 23-May-2012
- Interdisciplinary Network of Infrastructure Facilities (IVI) at the Leibniz Association retrieved 25-may-2012.
- WHO Documentation Centers retrieved 23-May-2012
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