What is open metadata?

The Virtual Health Library (VHL) provides access to several sources of bibliographic information, such as LILACS, Medline and reference databases at national, thematic and institutional levels in health sciences. The technical-scientific documents available in these information sources are described by bibliographic metadata, following the LILACS methodology, which allow the identification of the document’s title, authors, abstract, DeCS/MeSH descriptors, affiliation of the authors, year of publication, scientific journal, etc.

Making this bibliographic description metadata available in an open format (still in beta version) is yet another action by BIREME/PAHO/WHO aiming at democratizing access to health information, aligned with open science initiatives.

Why and how to use?

The main objective of this portal is to allow the metadata of the VHL information sources to be reusable, which means that it can be downloaded in open formats and used by any user in infometric studies, research, bibliographic reference managers, etc.

Open metadata is available through the VHL search interface and can be obtained using the export options of the interface itself or through its API calls with specific parameters (in beta version).

More details on how to use


In the current beta version, open metadata is available in formats: JSON, XML, RIS, CSV e RSS.

The data fields available in the beta version are part of the VHL search indexes, which are generated from the main bibliographic description metadata of the documents indexed in the health sciences information sources. These fields are the result of metadata processing to optimize the available information retrieval process. More details on available data fields.

To use the open metadata of the VHL’s information sources, it is necessary to know and agree with the Terms and Conditions of Use and the Privacy Policy.

Yes. To download metadata manually, through the search interface, the maximum amount allowed per export is 50,000 records. For larger quantities, the collection must be performed through a programmatic call (script), whose limit is 100 records per request.