About Disaster Lit


Disaster Lit®: Database for Disaster Medicine and Public Health is the National Library of Medicine (NLM) database of links to disaster medicine and public health resources available on the internet at no cost.

Resources include guidelines, reports, proceedings, trainings, fact sheets, etc., for a professional audience.

NLM selects resources from over 1,400 non-commercial publishing sources, which supplement disaster-related resources from PubMed (biomedical journal literature) and MedlinePlus (health information for the public).



Disaster Lit includes links to grey literature from non-commercial sources. Grey literature is defined by the Grey Literature Network Service (GreyNet) as

“multiple document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business, and organizations in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing, i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.”

NLM has identified over 1,400 associations, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-government organizations (NGOs) as sources of resources for Disaster Lit. 

Disaster Lit links to each resource at its original source. It does not archive or store a copy of each resource.

It includes only English-language materials. If a resource is available in additional languages, its record will link to those.


NLM selects materials for a professional audience: those responsible for the medical and public health aspects of planning, mitigation, response, recovery, and research related to disasters and public health emergencies.

Disaster Lit does not include materials for a health consumer, or general public, audience. Materials for the public are available in MedlinePlus, which includes many disaster-related topic pages in English and in Spanish.


Publication Types 

NLM assigns one publication type to each item in Disaster Lit. See a full list of publication types in Record Structure, below.

As of early 2018, the three most common publication types are

  1. Guidelines/Assessment Tool
  2. Report
  3. Instructional/Training Material

Disaster Research Response (DR2)

Disaster Lit includes records for surveys, interview scripts, and other tools for use in data collection following a disaster. These records were first added in 2014 as part of the NIH Disaster Research Response Project (DR2).

One goal of the DR2 project is to create a repository of data collection tools that researchers may find useful after a disaster. This will reduce the time researchers spend writing their own data collection tools, or finding, selecting, and evaluating pre-existing tools.

These records include details on the content of the tools and their developers, as well as journal article citations noting their use in disaster research. Some of the tools and journal article citations may be available by paid subscription only (all other materials in Disaster Lit are no-cost).

To find these research tools, search Disaster Lit for DR2, or search the Disaster Research Response Data Collection Tools database. 


Record Structure

A record is created in Disaster Lit for each item added to the database. Records include the following descriptive information:

  • Title
  • Source: Original publisher of the item, based on best available information.
  • Date Published: Original publication date, based on best available information.
  • Format:
    • Image
    • PDF
    • Presentation Slides
    • Text
    • Video or Multimedia
  • Annotation: Description of the content of the resource.
  • URL
  • Authors: “Et al.” indicates additional authors.
  • Publication Type:
    • Bibliography/Resource List
    • Book/Book Chapter
    • Conference/Meeting Material
    • Database/Dataset
    • Dictionary/Glossary
    • Fact Sheet
    • Guidelines/Assessment Tool
    • Hearing/Testimony
    • Instructional/Training Material
    • Legal Document
    • Map/Atlas
    • Report
    • Web Page
    • Website
  • Access Notes: Indicates if special software is required, or includes any instructions necessary for accessing the resources. This field may also indicate:
    • This link is no longer available. The resource is no longer available at the URL in the record, and NLM has not been able to locate it elsewhere on the internet. NLM retains these records for historical purposes.
    • Site requires free registration. All resources are available at no cost, but some do require free registration.
  • ID: Unique identification number assigned to each record.
  • Includes Research Tools: If “Yes,” the resource includes data collection instruments that may be useful to researchers following a disaster. Many of these records are also part of the Disaster Research Response (DR2) project and can also be found in the DR2 Data Collection Tools database. 

Links to Resources

Some instructional/training materials require free registration as indicated by the note, 'Site requires free registration.'

Best efforts are made to keep URLs current. When an item can no longer be found at any URL, the record indicates 'The link is no longer available,' and the record is retained for informational/historical purposes.

Disaster Lit does not archive or keep copies of the full text of any material.

Disaster Lit links to both materials that are in the public domain and materials protected by copyright or licensing restrictions. Please consult the original source for copyright or licensing information.

Materials from the NIH Disaster Research Response Project (DR2) may have licensing restrictions and/or charge fees for some of the proprietary, copyrighted data collection tools. Some of the journal articles that describe the tools may be available by paid subscription only. Each record notes if there is a cost to access the tool, and if any journal articles are “Subscription required.”


Disaster Lit was developed by the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) through a contract award from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and was maintained by NYAM from 2002-2010. Disaster Lit is now managed by the Disaster Information Management Research Center, Specialized Information Services Division, National Library of Medicine.

Contact Us

Contact us at dimrc@nlm.nih.gov for questions or comments.