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2010 MARCH–APRIL No. 373
March 23, 2010 [posted]

PubMed® Extends Its Reach — Biomedical Database Moves Back in Time to 1947

[Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an announcement published on the NLM Web site on March 23, 2010. To be notified of announcements like this, subscribe to NLM-Announces e-mail list.]

Harry Truman was President, gas cost 15 cents a gallon, the transistor was invented, and internationally renowned surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey was publishing articles on the US Army's World War II experience with battle injuries, military surgery, and the use of streptomycin therapy. Citations to these and more than 60,000 other articles indexed in the 1947 Current List of Medical Literature (CLML) are now available in the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) MEDLINE®/PubMed database.

When the original MEDLINE database made its debut in 1971, it contained citations to journal articles mostly published from approximately 1966 forward. NLM began to expand the retrospective coverage of the database in 1996, when more than 307,000 citations originally published in the 1964 and 1965 Cumulated Index Medicus® were made available as OLDMEDLINE. The Library has been moving steadily backward in time ever since.

Although 1947 may seem far back in the rear view mirror of history, important articles in biomedicine appeared that year and may hold vital lessons for research in the 21st century. "Some contemporary medical questions can only be answered by consulting the older literature," observed NLM Director Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg. "NLM is working to make the journal citations in older printed indexes electronically searchable, and our goal is to go back at least as far as World War II."

With the addition of the 1947 citations, the MEDLINE/PubMed subset now contains over 20 million citations produced during 63 years of indexing of the biomedical literature.

For additional information about the data conversion project, go to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/databases_oldmedline.html.

PubMed® Extends Its Reach — Biomedical Database Moves Back in Time to 1947. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Mar-Apr;(373):e8.

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