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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin. 1999 September-October; 310

In This Issue:

Technical Notes - e1

Searching POPLINE on Internet Grateful Med - e2

Highlights of the New Beta Version of PubMed - e3

MEDLINE Logs 10 Millionth Journal Citation - e4

NLM Online Training Program - 2000 - e5

Images from the History of Medicine - e6

dotFarewell to ELHILL - e7

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Farewell to ELHILL

An Era Ends
An era ended on September 30 as NLM halted public access to MEDLINE and other databases via the ELHILL retrieval system. There has been considerable positive response to the beta version of PubMed that provides many features that the command language systems offered.

As David Kenton, ELHILL System Manager, said, "It's time to turn down ELHILL's flame and wish PubMed the same success and longevity."

For nearly 30 years, hundreds of NLM employees and contractors have supported ELHLL access and I think we can all be proud of its success. Thanks for the memories.

--Submitted by Sheldon Kotzin
Chief, Bibliographic Services Division
Farewell COMMENTs
Five long-time ELHILL users sent us a farewell message using the ELHILL COMMENT command on the last day of billed access.

Good-bye, ELHILL! I'll miss you!

I've been using ELHILL since 1977 (gasp) and am about ready to retire, too.

It's been great! So long ELHILL, I'll miss you.

If anybody gets this, goodbye old ELHILL! Old you are, but those who know you will miss you.

So long! Farewell! Auf Wiedersehn! Adieu! Adios!
Will miss you ELHILL!
Submitted by Michelynn McKnight
Final Thoughts
Several months ago we asked early ELHILL pioneers to send us their thoughts on the retiring mainframe system. Thoughts were still coming in on ELHILL's final day.

Maintaining and developing ELHILL over the last 20-odd years has been an interesting experience. Collaborating across the Atlantic, with the occasional 2 or 3 week trip for one or other of us so we could work side-by-side when a major project came up. I certainly would not have predicted, when I started with ELHILL, that we could have worked like that. But it has been very fruitful: especially when we've had to put new ideas in writing to each other, giving us new insight into solutions to problems. I particularly recall the UUSF (Profile storage file) structure, where a couple of rounds of bouncing ideas back and forth led to a file structure that lets ELHILL manage hundreds of thousands of user IDs with very low overhead.

Over its life, ELHILL has had all kinds of functions added that its creators could hardly have envisaged, from the PROFILE command to the Multi-file and Sort facility; from dealing with 4-Gigabyte databases to handling 800 character sets. It is a tribute to the original programmers that we've been able to extend it so much. (But then everyone knows that...)

--Submitted by Fred Bone
Axis Resources
Bibliographic Systems Consultant to the British Library

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Last updated: 18 February 2004