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Vol. LX, No. 19
September 19, 2008

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MedlinePlus Named Great Web Site

Even Government Computer News had to admit it: a decade ago, most federal executives saw the web as nothing more than an electronic brochure. Now, they’ve come to realize that it can be the primary form of interaction with constituents and that material launched on it for public benefit has to be lively, informative and easy to navigate.

Apparently,, the consumer-friendly site created by NLM with input from across the institutes and centers, meets those criteria. On Aug. 25, it was named a top 10 federal web site.

The GCN notice said, “When it comes to medical matters, people value straight talk above all else. The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus offers an astounding amount of medical information on a site that is easy to navigate.”

MedlinePlus, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October, gets 12 million unique visitors and 65 million page views each month. Its many resources include in-depth information on more than 750 health topics, over-the-counter and prescription drug information, a medical dictionary and encyclopedia and surgery videos. A consistent high scorer on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, MedlinePlus has also been praised by Newsweek for its ease of use. The site offers a Spanish language version ( and recently began offering materials in over 40 other languages.

As Government Computer News noted, “The web has other medical sites, but the backing of the NLM imparts an extra level of trust.”

2008 Final Bluebird Count Up from a Year Ago

The birds are back in town and that’s good news for NIH’s main campus, reports Lynn Mueller, Office of Research Facilities landscape architect. NIH has long employed an avian corps to protect the grounds from mosquitoes and other nuisance bugs without resorting to insecticides.

“I must again thank everyone for a much better year over last year,” he wrote in a recent email to his crew of volunteer bird census-takers. “The West Nile virus has apparently run its course, as the bluebird population is now going back up compared to the crash we witnessed in the number of fledglings reported last summer. For whatever reason(s), some trails were quite successful with even second nestings and others were totally shut out.” He vows to relocate some boxes over the winter and repair others to encourage more birds to make NIH their home next spring.

Here’s the final count for 2008: 29 bluebirds (totals in previous years: 14-2007, 37-2006, 36-2005, 31-2004, 16-2003, 13-2002); 6 Carolina wrens; 48 house wrens; 10 tree swallows; 24 chickadees; and an uncounted number of English sparrows.

Mueller also noted an increasing number of barn swallows nesting in MLP-7 and MLP-10. At least 7 nests (and 23 newborns) in MLP-7 and one nest with 4 little ones in MLP-10 have been spotted. “I’ll assume they all fledged,” he said. “Once the southeast pond is completed behind 38A, the Lister Hill Center, I suspect more swallows may be attracted to garage 7 with its proximity to the pond and good bug-hunting territory.”

Mueller said the generous addition of more than 144 young birds to the resident insect-eating bird population is accomplishing the mission of ridding the campus of many potentially disease-carrying pests.

“Once again,” he concluded, “we did not spray an ounce of insecticides on campus shrubs, trees or grass this season. I believe over the past 16 years our campus has become a well-balanced natural environment where the ‘bad’ bugs are balanced by a variety of predators.” NIHRecord Icon

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