Firefighters in protective suits reviewing information on a mobile device
 Infrared satellite of a hurricane
A physician, nurse, or other health care worker checking information on a mobile tablet using a stylus

Welcome to Disaster Health Information Sources: The Basics

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the essential resources needed to provide health-related information services for supporting disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

We will cover key sources from the U.S. National Library of Medicine® (NLM), federal and nonfederal agencies, and international organizations. Tools for locating, organizing, and disseminating disaster health information will also be covered.

This self-paced course fulfills one of the requirements of the Medical Library Association (MLA) Disaster Information Specialization, Basic Level. Students will earn three MLA continuing education (CE) credits.

Note: After reviewing the information on this page, please be sure to complete the pre-course evaluation on the next page before continuing with the course.

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Continuing Education Credits

If you are taking this course for Medical Library Association credits, please register and complete the class through our free online registration system.

Topics Covered in this Course

This course is divided into the following sections. Use the Next and Back buttons at the bottom of the page to move through the course.

  1. Introduction: Disasters and Disaster Management
  2. Disaster Health Information
  3. Categories of Disaster Health Information
  4. Information Sources for Preparedness
  5. Information Sources for Response
  6. Information Sources for Recovery
  7. Assessing Literature
  8. Conclusion

Each section is a single page of content and activities that help reinforce the topics covered. For more information on additional ways to navigate the course, see the "Getting Around" section below.

Each section is summarized with key points, which are the most critical take-home messages of the material.

Throughout this course, the National Library of Medicine will be referred to using the acronym NLM and the Disaster Information Management Research Center will be called NLM Disaster Health.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe basic terminology and concepts related to disaster health information
  • Recognize when disaster health information is needed
  • Distinguish categories of disaster health information
  • Identify sources to locate disaster health information
  • Demonstrate strategies to assess disaster health information
  • Find more resources on disaster health information

Using this Course

Getting Around

There are a variety of ways you can navigate this training. You can:

  • Click the Back and Next buttons at the bottom of each page to move through the material
  • Use the Menu button in the upper right corner of each page to access the main sections or contact support
  • Press the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys on your keyboard to move through the material
  • Use a combination of the above methods to explore the course contents


At the top of each page, links will indicate where the current page falls within the overall course. You can also click these links to return to this homepage or to the section that contains the page.


Throughout the course, you will encounter links. Any link denoted with an External Link icon (Exit disclaimer) points to a resource outside of this course and will typically open in a new tab or window. All other links are to other areas within the course.

Additionally, clicking on an image will open a larger view of the image in a pop-up box within the page.

Getting Help

If you need assistance using this course or have questions or comments about any of the content presented here, please select the About / Getting Help option from the upper right menu.