National Research Council Canada, National Science Library
To browse other articles on a range of HSL topics, see the A-Z index.
The National Research Council Canada, National Science Library (CNSL), formerly CISTI, is one of the world's leading information providers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and medicine (or "STEM"). It is located in Ottawa, the nation's capital. As an institute aligned with the National Research Council (NRC), the CNSL is Canada's de-facto national science library providing library and information services to researchers in industry, academic, government and public sectors. As an entity separate from the Library and Archives Canada, the Library began as the library of the NRC and the National Science Library (1957). The library was changed to CISTI in 1974 and to the CNSL in 2015 to reflect its broader mandate; since 2010, its scope has diminished considerably. Some librarians believe the Library has moved away from its role as a national library.
Is CNSL our national science & medicine library?
Some librarians view the Canadian NSL as Canada's de-facto national library of medicine given its history of supporting health sciences libraries across the country. From the 1970s to 1995, specialized services to Canada's medical community were offered by the Health Sciences Resource Centre (HSRC). It was responsible for coordinating access to MEDLARS and DOCLINE, automated systems of the National Library of Medicine (U.S.) and the secretariat for the Committee on Health Sciences Information. It established an office to work with health partners on collaborative initiatives; resources were extended to subject disciplines in science and technology; it played an important role in research and development, and created information products and services for the sci/tech community. Currently it has three programs: National Science Library, the NRC Research Press (Canada's foremost scientific publisher, established in 1929), and Information Intelligence Services (IIS). The NRC Research Press publishes 16 journals including Genome and several others as well as 15 journals on behalf of scholarly societies. The newest program, Information Intelligence Services (IIS), draws on a comprehensive collection to offer analysis and technical intelligence to support research. These are offered by a national network of information specialists and technical analysts at NRC Information Centres at NRC institutes across Canada.
Committee on Health Sciences Information
The Committee on Health Sciences Information provides specialized advice to CNSL on its plans, priorities, programs and services. The Committee is made up of representatives from professional health library associations in Canada. Its policy is to collect all significant journals in the health sciences regardless of language or format. The collection has grown to over 10,000 medical serial titles, 3200 current medical serials, and 340 current pharmaceutical serial titles. It contains approximately 70% of the serials indexed in PubMed. Conference proceedings are a specialty and fully-catalogued. It provides Document Delivery through DOCLINE. The document delivery service is a responsive, efficient system that provides documents to health and hospital libraries across Canada.
Is CNSL Canada's 'National Library of Medicine'?
The answer to this question is an emphatic "Well, sort of". As mentioned above, the CNSL is Canada's de-facto national library of medicine. But the fact is Canada does not have its own national library of medicine in the way the United States has the NLM. Not through legislation or the vision of Canadian health librarians — current, emerging & past have replaced the existing library, which some feel is adequate for our needs yet others feel more can and should be done. Some Canadian health librarians worked towards a new vision for health information in Canada called the National Network of Libraries for Health / Réseau national des bibliothèques pour la santé including the Canadian Virtual Health Library / Bibliothèque virtuelle canadienne de la santé (CVHL / BVCS).