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 May 20, 2004 [posted]
 NLM Technical Bulletin Index Redesigned

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or the first time since the NLM Technical Bulletin (TB) went online in 1997, the Technical Bulletin Index has undergone a significant redesign. The new format is intended to make searching the Index less cumbersome for current TB readers.

Two Indexes in One
Formerly known as the Cumulative Index, the TB Index is now divided into two indexes: the Current Index, which covers entries from Technical Bulletin issues published from 1997 through the present; and the 1979-1996 Index, which, as the name suggests, covers entries from issues published from 1979 through 1996.

Main Index Page
The NLM Technical Bulletin Index page has a new look. It is divided into two sections. The first section contains a letter bar linking to pages within the Current Index (1997-Present), as well as a description of the Current Index. The second section contains a letter bar linking to pages within the 1979-1996 Index, a description of the 1979-1996 Index, and instructions on how to order back issues of the Technical Bulletin–those published in printed form–in hard copy.

Current Index (1997-Present)
The entries found in the Current Index (1997-Present) reference HTML-based issues of the NLM Technical Bulletin that can be accessed directly from links next to the Index entries. These entries have been updated and added to, in order to make the Current Index as comprehensive as possible.

Changes made in developing the Current Index include:

  • Correcting spelling and grammar errors;
  • Removing inaccurate entries;
  • Ensuring that each link leads to relevant note or article;
  • Tightening entry hierarchies and deleting redundancies;
  • Making entry formats consistent;
  • Removing unnecessary levels of indentions;
  • Hyperlinking see and see also references to their counterparts;
  • Reviewing articles and notes to ensure they are adequately indexed;
  • Adding access points.

The Current Index will continue to change and grow as each new issue of the Technical Bulletin is published.

1979-1996 Index
Most of the entries found in the 1979-1996 Index reference paper-based issues of the NLM Technical Bulletin that are not available in electronic form. Electronic versions of the NLM Technical Bulletin exist only for those issues published between May 1993 and the present. Issues published from 1993 through 1996 are available in PDF format.

In moving the 1979-1996 entries from the original Cumulative Index into their own 1979-1996 Index, we made certain superficial changes and corrections. For the most part, however, we have not altered entries in the 1979-1996 Index, so users will still find some redundant entries, awkward hierarchies, and other inconsistencies. We intend to tighten up the 1979-1996 Index as resources become available; however, for the time being, it will remain fairly static.

The most notable difference to the 1979-1996 entries is that, whereas the earliest of these entries (1979-1993) used to link to a message describing how to order print copies of the original TB articles, they no longer do. We made this change to avoid misleading users with hyperlinks, which suggest that users can instantly access the article referenced, but that directed them to a generic message instead. Now, the 1979-1996 Index provides hyperlinks only with those entries that reference online-accessible TB articles. The instructions on how to order back issues of print copies now appear on the bottom of each 1979-1996 Index page.

To obtain copies of issues prior to the May-June 1993 issue, you should send a message, including your mailing address and the issue that you wish to receive, to

Letter Bar Links
The letter bars at the top and bottom of each Index page will lead users to pages within that specific Index: for example, if a user is looking at Letter B in the Current Index and chooses G from the letter bar, he or she will link to Letter G in the Current Index. If the user then wants to search through the 1979-1996 Index, he or she must return to the NLM Technical Bulletin Index page.

Accessing the Index
The NLM Technical Bulletin Index can be accessed in the following ways:

By Julie Stetson
MEDLARS Management Section

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Stetson JS. NLM Technical Bulletin Index Redesigned. NLM Tech Bull. 2004 May-Jun;(338):e5.


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Last updated: 13 April 2012