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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin 1997 Nov-Dec; 299



In This Issue:

dot TB on the Web

NCI's CancerNet Web Site

Transitioning from ELHILL to PubMed

NLM Classification, 5th Edition, Additions and Changes, List 2 [corrected 1998/03/26]

Technical Notes


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Welcoming in the Technical Bulletin on the Web

Along with the New Year, NLM welcomes in its new electronic NLM Technical Bulletin. We hope that you will continue to read the articles and give us your feedback on our new look and feel as we enter the era of Web-based electronic information.

The Technical Bulletin on the Web

The Technical Bulletin will now be published electronically in HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) format via the NLM Web site, http://www.nlm.nih.gov, beginning with the next issue, January-February 1998. The November-December 1997 issue is the last issue to be printed on paper and mailed to readers.

The name of the publication will not be changing and the issue numbers will continue sequentially without interruption. However, articles will now be numbered rather than having page numbers and they will have an electronic indicator "e" before the article number. For example, the first article in each online issue will be e1 and the second article will be e2.

Finding the Technical Bulletin on the Web

From the NLM Web site, under the heading Our Publications; click on More Publications; click on NLM Technical Bulletin. You can then bookmark the URL for quick and easy future use. The specific URL address for the electronic Technical Bulletin is: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/tb.html. You will still be able to download older issues of the Technical Bulletin in PDF (portable format document) and PostScript format.

Advantages of the Technical Bulletin on the Web

  • Readers will have new information in a more timely manner - no more waiting for a complete issue to be cumulated and printed to find out about a new feature or other newsworthy information. New articles and Technical Notes will be published electronically as they become available.

  • There will be electronic links to related material. If an article or Technical Note refers to a fact sheet, an item in the index, or any other material available on the Web, a link will be available (words will be underlined and a different color) and all you have to do is click on the link and the relevant material will appear on your Web browser.

  • No more issues lost in the mail or on your desk. We receive several claims each month for issues never delivered; now the issue will always be as near as your computer.

Getting Around in the Web-based Technical Bulletin

Because each article will be in HTML format rather than a PDF or PostScript file you will be able to print a selected article right from your browser rather than downloading the entire issue. Reminder: The Technical Bulletin is not copyrighted and is freely reproducible.

All articles and Technical Notes published within the two-month time frame of an issue will then be compiled into one bimonthly issue and assigned an issue number. Completed issues will be easily distinguished by a dark icon. An issue that is in progress will be marked by a grayed-out icon.

Please note that beginning in 1998, new issues will no longer be available in the PostScript or Acrobat® PDF formats. However, the May-June 1993 through November-December 1997 issues, originally printed on paper, will continue to be available as downloadable PostScript and PDF files.

Alternatives to the Technical Bulletin on the Web

For users who do not yet have Web access, the following alternative methods of disseminating information will be available:

  1. The complete table of contents for each issue of the Technical Bulletin will be posted in the newsletters published by the Regional Medical Libraries (RMLs). The RMLs will also be selecting and adapting material from the Technical Bulletin that is relevant for their particular audiences and publishing this information in their regional newsletters. You may call 800-338-7657 to reach your RML and asked to be placed on the mailing list for the newsletter for your region.

  2. The online NEWS in ELHILL will have a notice of each updated issue.

  3. The complete table of contents for each issue will be posted in ELHILL and available with a $INFO command.

If you do not have Web access contact your RML. NLM and the RMLs are developing plans to assist all NN/LM hospital library members to obtain Web access.

The End of an Era

This is the final printed issue of the National Library of Medicine's Technical Bulletin. After 28 years the editorial staff has put the printed version to bed for the last time. The library has seen much growth and many changes over the years.

The first issue of the Technical Bulletin stated that the publication was "Established for the following purposes:

  1. to communicate technical and management information among those with a need to know about MEDLARS and network developments, and

  2. to enable MEDLARS and network staff to interact with NLM staff and each other on matters affecting their operations."

The overall purpose of the Technical Bulletin hasn't changed drastically, although the audience for this information has expanded tremendously since the earliest issues of this publication. And now the means of distributing this information is being updated to take advantage of the amazing changes in technology that have emerged in just the last few years. NLM will continue to keep its users informed of searching and system changes that will be happening in the future.

The Name Game

The name of the Technical Bulletin has been changed several times since it was first published. As a monthly publication, in May 1969 it was titled MEDLARS/Network Technical Bulletin.

In April 1977 the Library Network/MEDLARS Technical Bulletin and the TOXLINE Technical Bulletin merged to become the NLM Technical Bulletin.

Milestones During the Life of the Printed Technical Bulletin

  • October 1971, MEDLINE had 22 users and 147,000 citations from 236 journals.

  • September 1972, MEDLINE Reference Manual was made available.

  • In April 1985, a contractor was hired to do the printing and mailing of the Technical Bulletin.

  • The June 1985 issue appeared in a new 2-column format using a new typeface and incorporating other design changes.

  • The September 1986 special commemorative issue celebrated 15 years of MEDLINE.

  • In 1986 the Library introduced Grateful Med, a user friendly software package that allowed the user to search the MEDLARS system without knowing the ELHILL command language. An important feature of Grateful Med was Loansome Doc. Loansome Doc made it possible to order full text of journal articles.

  • July 1989, Gold Standard Searches began. Searchers could match wits against NLM staff on a search strategy formulation. The winner received a prize.

  • The July-August 1990 issue began bimonthly frequency.

  • The September-October 1991 issue was the first issue prepared on a Macintosh computer using desktop publishing software. This gave the publication a new look.

  • The November-December 1991 issue contained the first compliment/complaint form to be continued in every issue until a redesign in May-June 1996.

  • The May-June 1993 issue was the first issue available in electronic format, as well as paper. PostScript and PDF files were put on the NLM Web site for users to download.

  • For the May-June 1996 issue the publication was re-designed to a 3-column format with new fonts and an up-to-date look.

  • In April 1996, Internet Grateful Med (IGM) was born making it possible for users to now search via the World Wide Web.

  • PubMed was introduced in 1997, offering free searching via the World Wide Web. IGM searching was also made free at this time.

  • In 1997 the MEDLARS system had 170,000 User ID codes. In June, when searching was made free via Web-based access the number of codes dropped to 119,000, at the same time the number of searchers and searches increased.

  • MEDLINE and all its Backfiles contain over 9 million citations from 3,854 indexed titles and they are searchable in one file using PubMed.

Cumulative Index

The Technical Bulletin cumulative index will also be available electronically on this Web site. The index covers 1979 to 1994. Future indexes will includes links to the cited HTML-formatted article if it was published in January-February 1997 or later.

Indexes for 1995-1997 are not yet available. However, an e-mail link will be available from the Index page so that you may send a message if you are trying to locate a subject and it cannot be found in 1979 to 1994. NLM staff will respond to these messages.

We would like to thank all of the editors of the Technical Bulletin, past and present, and all contributing authors who have made the Technical Bulletin a useful tool for MEDLARS searchers.

--prepared by Mary Herron
MEDLARS Management Section
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Last updated: 18 April 2012