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
Farewell to ELHILL - e7
MEDLINE Logs 10 Millionth
[Editor's note: The following article is reprinted in its entirety from the September 7,
1999 issue of the NIH Record. This journal is available on the Web at
MEDLINE, the world's largest medical database, covers the medical
literature from 1966 to the present. When it began, it covered 239
journals, and the NLM News bragged that it had "the capability of
supporting up to 25 simultaneous users."
On July 10 of this year, MEDLINE attained a major milestone when the
10 millionth journal citation was added to the database. Today,
MEDLINE lists references from about 4,300 of the world's most
respected medical and scientific journals. Full text can be accessed for
recent editions of several hundred of those publications. And the number
of searches? More than half a million each day.
"The occasion of the 10 millionth record in MEDLINE gives us an
opportunity to step back and reflect on what a staggering amount of
work this represents over the decades," commented NLM director Dr.
Donald Lindberg. "We owe thanks to a corps of dedicated NLM staff
who competently order and receive the journals, create the Medical
Subject Headings, index the articles, enter the data into MEDLINE and
maintain the database."
In the early days of MEDLINE, NLM staff worked with typewriters and
data forms to input citations into a punched card system. Today,
computers have streamlined operations dramatically. Input is now mostly
done by scanning articles, or by importing electronic data directly from
And what was the 10 millionth citation in MEDLINE? The article,
"Particulates from PTFE degradation in terrestrial and microgravity,"
appearing in Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, 1999
May;70(5):505-10. The article was indexed by an indexer working on an
NLM contract using the interactive online indexing system from her home
- another example of how things have changed since MEDLINE began.
As a result of NLM's cooperation with NASA, another recent
development, this citation also appears in SPACELINE, another of the
library's family of databases, since it provides information on the possible
breakdown of polytetrafluoroethylene-coated wires in spacecraft.
Originally, MEDLINE citations were updated once a month. Today,
MEDLINE is updated weekly and the bibliographic information for
not-yet-indexed citations is entered daily into PubMed, NLM's retrieval
engine for searching MEDLINE.
With the launch of free MEDLINE on the World Wide Web in June
1997, usage has skyrocketed. In the "MEDLINE for a fee" days, the
database reached a high point of 7 million searches annually. For "free
MEDLINE," the figure has already reached 16 million searches per
month, a number that continues to grow.
"Now that so much more medical information is freely available to the
public via the Internet and the Web," noted Lindberg, "the MEDLINE
core of information takes on new importance and even greater relevance
to the health of the public than when the system began with record