In 1968, the publisher Williams & Wilkins sued the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for copyright infringement over the NLM's practice of sending other libraries single copies of journal articles at the request of researchers—a case reaching the US Supreme Court. In a split decision, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's decision that NLM's photocopying gave researchers necessary access to medical knowledge and did not violate copyright laws. No one then could envision how computer networks would change the way the world would access biomedical information.
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The Visible Human, a digital image library of the complete anatomy of 2 individuals who each willed their body to science, has wide-ranging applications in medical education, treatment planning, industry, and other areas.
ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry of clinical trials launched by the National Library of Medicine, is the world's largest clinical trials registry and the only such database to include summaries of trial results.
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