NLM is challenging people to create innovative software applications that use the Library’s vast collection of biomedical data.

The NLM Show Off Your Apps: Innovative Uses of NLM Information Challenge is an initiative of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  This Challenge is open to individuals, teams of individuals, and organizations (collectively, "Entrants").  The purpose of this contest is to develop innovative software applications to further NLM’s mission of aiding the dissemination and exchange of scientific and other information pertinent to medicine and public health.  Eligible software applications must make use of NLM’s vast collection of biomedical data including downloadable data sets, APIs (application programming interfaces), and/or software tools.

View full rules

How to enter

Read and agree to the Challenge Rules.

Click the "Post a Submission" tab; log in, enter required fields, and submit. It's free to register to be a member of!

Submissions must meet the following requirements:

  1. Entrants must provide access to the software application, a detailed description of the software application, instructions on how to install and operate the software application, and system requirements required to run the application (collectively, “Submission”).
  2. The software application may be designed for the Web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, console, or any platform broadly accessible on the open Internet.
  3. Software applications must utilize NLM data from any publically available NLM data set or NLM API (application programming interface) and need not include all data fields available in a particular resource.  A non-exhaustive list of NLM Databases and Electronic resources can be browsed at: A list of available NLM APIs is available at:
  4. Software applications should meet objectives for federal compliance guidelines for information technology (see Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for more information:
  5. All Submissions must be available for evaluation by August 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM ET for judging purposes.
  6. Once a Submission is made, the Entrant cannot make any changes or alterations to any part of the Submission.
  7. Submission must not infringe any copyright or any other rights of any third party.
  8. A Submission may be disqualified if the software application does not function properly or does not function as expressed in the description provided by the user.
  9. Only winning Submissions will be available on the NLM Website for use by the public. All Entrants will retain all intellectual property ownership in their Submissions except the winning Entrants agree that their Submission will be available on the NLM Website for the free use and download by the public for a period starting with the announcement of the winners through December 31, 2011.


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All Submissions will be judged by a qualified panel selected by the NLM.

Judging Criteria

  • • Quality and Accuracy (data are presented accurately)
  • • Impact on Potential Users (data presented clearly to target audience)
  • • Usability (operation of program requires minimal training and has the potential for repeated, regular use)
  • • Innovative Design (creativity and originality of concept)
  • • Platform Neutrality (operates on major web browsers, systems, and mobile devices)
  • • Extensibility (potential for further development)
  • • Alignment with Section 508 Accessibility Guidelines (see standards at: