News Release

Thursday, October 27, 2011

NLM honors winners of software development challenge

Show off Your Apps: Innovative Uses of NLM Information.

Five innovative software applications that help researchers, health professionals, and the general public in their quest for medical and scientific information are the winners of the National Library of Medicine's first software development challenge.

The winning applications can help people learn about anatomy, help researchers find gene information in research literature, and help people sift through large amounts of scientific and medical information.

The winners will present and demonstrate their applications at an awards ceremony Nov. 2, 2011. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer Todd Park are scheduled to speak at the ceremony to be held, from 9:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. at the National Library of Medicine Lister Hill Center Auditorium, in Building 38A on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md. The event will be videocast live and later archived, at

The library's software development challenge, Show off Your Apps: Innovative Uses of NLM Information, solicited applications that used the library’s data to develop innovative ways for people to obtain and share scientific and medical information. Entrants could create a new app, or submit an existing one. An independent panel of judges chose five winners and five honorable mentions.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the world’s largest medical library and itself a pioneer and innovator in the use of technology to improve access to biomedical and health information. NLM provides a wide variety of information online by developing groundbreaking databases and software tools that enable people to explore medical literature, clinical trials, historical images, DNA sequences and much more.

Millions of people worldwide use the library’s free online resources every day. Additionally, for more than 40 years, the library has been making the data it compiles for its electronic resources available for use in systems produced by others. Academic institutions, government organizations, businesses, non-profits and individuals can use NLM data to develop their own products, tools and services.

"NLM was a leader in open data long before that term was coined," says Park. "Challenges like this one bring the library’s rich data sources to the attention of new groups of innovators."

"By making our data available for others to use, we spark more innovation and give taxpayers a bigger dividend on their investment," says Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., director of the NLM, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.


GLAD4U is a free, web-based tool to help researchers answer such questions as “Which genes are related to breast cancer?” GLAD4U (Gene List Automatically Derived for You) automates the process of creating gene lists. It makes use of the Entrez Programming Utilities of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of NLM. GLAD4U is the work of Jerome Jourquin, Ph.D., Bing Zhang, Ph.D., and Dexter Duncan with the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

iAnatomy is an electronic anatomy atlas available for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app enables people to learn anatomy interactively with the ability to zoom in on images for more detail. iAnatomy used data from the National Library of Medicine’s Visible Human Project. iAnatomy was developed by Anouk Stein, M.D., a radiologist and computer programmer in Phoenix.

KNALIJ, pronounced knowledge, helps researchers, students and health consumers visualize large amounts of data such as the information in NLM's repository PubMed. KNALIJ is a visualization tool built around the idea that the best pattern recognition system is a person’s own visual system. Presenting information in the form of visual, interactive maps can significantly improve researchers’ abilities to scan large amounts of information and dramatically reduce their time to discovery. KNALIJ was developed by Alan M. Finkel of iWakari LLC in Los Angeles and his partner Steven Melnikoff, Ph.D., honorary visiting fellow at The University of Melbourne, Australia.

NLMplus is a semantic search and knowledge discovery application that simultaneously searches 59 NLM databases to allow users to discover NLM’s rich content offerings in all areas of biomedicine and health. NLMplus was developed by Weizhong Zhu, Ph.D. and Antonio Zamora, of WebLib LLC in Bethesda.

Quertle is an innovative website for searching and investigating the biomedical literature. It is geared to active life science professionals, including researchers and health care providers, and is designed to save them considerable time and effort in finding the literature they need. Quertle simultaneously searches multiple sources of life science literature, including the National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE and TOXLINE. Jeff Saffer, Ph.D. and Vicki Burnett, Ph.D. of Boulder, Colo. led the effort to create Quertle.

Honorable Mentions

BioDigital Human Platform
The BioDigital Human is a web-based 3D platform that simplifies the understanding of anatomy, and disease. Interactive tools for exploring, dissecting and sharing custom views, combined with detailed descriptions derived from MedlinePlus provide a new visual format for patients, students and clinicians to learn about the body. The platform was developed by BioDigital Systems LLC in New York City.

DailyMedPlus provides online access to pharmaceutical information derived from several databases at the National Library of Medicine. The website is a comprehensive search engine that can be used by patients and healthcare professionals. DailyMedPLus was developed by a team at Medicos Consultants LLC in Baltimore.

Drug Diary
Drug Diary is an iPhone application that enables users to inventory their prescription and over-the-counter medications and maintain notes on their experiences. The application enables users to communicate medication reports to health care providers. The application uses NLM’s Rx Terms dataset and medication information from Drug Diary was developed by Jeff Rames, founder, Floodlight Software LLC, in Chicago.

Molecules is an iPhone, iPodTouch, and iPad application that provides 3-D molecular modeling. Molecules has a touch-based interface and uses information from NCBI’s Entrez and PubChem databases. Molecules is the work of Brad Larson, General Manager, Sunset Lake Software, LLC in Madison, Wis.

ORKOV is an iPhone and Android application that provides access to Orkov is a Greek term that refers to the Hippocratic Oath. The application is intended for use by medical researchers. ORKOV is the work of a team at Visual Soft, Inc., in Vienna, Va.

More information and links to the winners and honorable mentions can be found on the National Library of Medicine website at

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world’s largest library of the health sciences and collects, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. It is celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2011. For more information, visit the website at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®