A bit of history

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As it turns 50-year old in 2017, BIREME, a specialized center of PAHO/WHO, celebrates its important journey of effective contribution to the flow of scientific and technical information in health in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, as well as the consolidation of its mission to contribute for the development of health by means of strengthening, expanding, disseminating  and producing networks of sources of information about health sciences.

From physical to virtual to democratize information

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From the need to create the Regional Library of Medicine to meet the demand of Latin America medical researchers and students for bibliographic services towards the establishment of the Virtual Health Library (VHL), BIREME reaffirms its commitment to contribute for the development of health of populations in the Region, by means of technical cooperation among the countries, aiming to promote and democratize production, access and use of information on health.

History of the governance

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Since it was established, BIREME has relied on the support of Committees to exercise its governance, regarding scientific aspects as well as managerial and administrative ones. Such committees count on the presence of representatives from PAHO/WHO member countries, as well as on specialists in information and knowledge management. The Advisory Committee and the Scientific Committee are currently in operation, making recommendations to strengthen BIREME’s management and technical cooperation program. Read here and learn more about the dynamics of the committees along the Center’s history.

Contributing to the evolution of information

The history of BIREME is marked by four successive periods characterized by the technical and scientific information models adopted. Each new model incorporates its preceding model, thus enabling the Center to evolve while keeping its functions. The first period started in 1967 with the creation of BIREME as a Regional Library of Medicine, then goes on to the launch of the VHL, in 1998, and evolves to the present time, keeping the internet as the main platform for cooperative production and sharing of sources and flows of scientific health information.

The technological evolution

BIREME’s development is characterized by the way information technologies evolved, considering its capacity to use and enhance its functions, developing innovative products and services, and exercising its mission to democratize access, publication and use of information, knowledge, and scientific evidence in health.

Cooperation networks as working strategy

The networking strategy has been a practice maintained throughout the history of BIREME, from its start and during its 50 years of existence. Some of the highlights in this journey include the regional coordination of the Virtual Health Library (VHL), LILACS, and other complementary networks, together with national and institutional supporters. Many Directors coordinated the Center with different strategies and workstyles; however, support to strengthening networking was a common denominator for them all. This is still true in the administration of its current Director, Dr Diego Gonzalez Machín.