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MEDLINE in the UK: pioneering the past, present and future

Pritchard, Stephen James and Weightman, Alison Lesley 2005. MEDLINE in the UK: pioneering the past, present and future. Health Information & Libraries Journal 22 (Supp.1) , pp. 38-44. 10.1111/j.1740-3324.2005.00586.x

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This article provides a brief history of the development of the medline database and its huge impact within the UK, from its inception to the present time. The origins of medline can be traced back to a collection of books in the US Surgeon General's Office during the American Civil War and John Shaw Billings’ decision, during 1867, to make this Library as complete as possible. From these beginnings, Index Medicus was developed in the early years of the 20th century, and electronic versions of the database began with the computerized on-demand search service MEDLARS in 1964 and then via CD-ROM and Internet Grateful Med to the web-based and free-to-all service, PubMed, in 1997. The response to PubMed was immediate and startling with usage increasing from 7 million searches per annum in 1996 to 400 million searches per annum in 2001 and the service continues to improve. medline providers are now offering mapping of natural language queries to the sophisticated indexing vocabulary (Medical Subject Headings, MeSH) and the provision of specific filters for different types of publication to improve searching efficiency, as well as links to full-text versions of the papers where available. The next steps are likely to involve an increased blurring of database and full-text boundaries, incorporating seamless access to the best available evidence within medline and a wide range of other information resources within a single search and to an increasing amount of full-text via various open-archive initiatives. As ever, the US National Library of Medicine is in the vanguard of research and further applications of its medline database for users within the UK will be awaited with great interest.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Information Services
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 1471-1834
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:58

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