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David P. Dillard
05-10-2004, 01:48 AM
Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 14:28:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: David P. Dillard
To: NetGold
Subject: DATABASES: MEDICAL HEALTH BIOSCIENCES BIOLOGY PSYCHOLOGY :
MEDICAL: REFERENCE: Index Medicus Will Cease as Print Publication AND The
Research Impact of the Loss of Print Indexing

DATABASES: MEDICAL HEALTH BIOSCIENCES BIOLOGY PSYCHOLOGY : MEDICAL:
REFERENCE: Index Medicus Will Cease as Print Publication AND The Research
Impact of the Loss of Print Indexing

Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Health Research
Index Medicus Will Cease as Print Publication



On May fifth Gary Price included this statement about the publication
cessation of Index Medicus:

"The printed Index Medicus, started by John Shaw Billings in 1879 and
published for 125 consecutive years, will cease at the end of 2004. Once
an indispensable tool for health professionals and librarians, it is now a
seldom used alternative to PubMed and other Internet-based products that
contain the database from which Index Medicus has been generated for
nearly 40 years."

There is a link from the ResourceShelf to this more detailed announcement
from the United States. National Institutes of Health. National Library of
Medicine that produces Index Medicus and its online counterpart.

----------------------------------------------

May 4, 2004 [posted]
Index Medicus to Cease as Print Publication
Index Medicus to Cease as Print Publication. NLM Tech Bull. 2004
May-Jun;(338):e2.
U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894
National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services


he printed Index Medicus, started by John Shaw Billings in 1879 and
published for 125 consecutive years, will cease at the end of 2004. Once
an indispensable tool for health professionals and librarians, it is now a
seldom used alternative to PubMed and other Internet-based products that
contain the database from which Index Medicus has been generated for
nearly 40 years.

For years, Index Medicus has been invaluable in medical care, education,
and research, but use of the printed index declined slowly once MEDLINE
became available in 1971. Subscriptions to Index Medicus declined more
noticeably in the 1980s with the introduction of end-user searching and
dropped precipitously once MEDLINE was available free on the Internet in
1997. In 2000, NLM ceased publication of the annual Cumulated Index
Medicus. In that same year, the Government Printing Office recognized
PubMed as the definitive permanent source of MEDLINE data and no longer
required Depository Libraries to retain the printed Index Medicus.

By 2003, the number of subscribers to the monthly Index Medicus fell to
155 and even for countries in the developing world demand for the
publication is almost non-existent. The lack of use of Index Medicus is a
natural result of free world wide availability of more complete, current,
and easily searched electronic versions of the NLM's authoritative
indexing data.

Although the printed Index Medicus will cease, journals recommended for
inclusion in MEDLINE by NLM's journal selection advisory committee will
still be distinguishable from other journals in PubMed. NLM will continue
to produce the annual Black and White printed MeSH tool and also expects
to continue the printed List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus, perhaps
expanding its coverage to all indexed MEDLINE journal titles. NLM also
will continue its indexing practice of starring MeSH terms as the main
point of an article. Even though the printed Index Medicus (which lists
citations under their starred headings only) will cease, there is still a
need to designate the main points of an article for online retrieval.

For those users who do not wish to rely solely on PubMed access to NLM
indexing data, there are numerous other Internet versions of MEDLINE as
well as several commercial CDROM products. The MEDLINE data are available
free under a license agreement should any company wish to publish a
printed product.

For many years, NLM has considered the MEDLINE database to be the
definitive version of its indexing data, and the Library is firmly
committed to ensuring the integrity and availability of the data via its
online systems. MEDLINE data are backed up each night and after one month
the data is stored off site. In addition, NLM is currently establishing a
remote site for critical NLM systems, including the indexing data creation
and maintenance system and the complete version of PubMed. If necessary,
users will be switched over to full searching of PubMed at the remote site
without any interruption in access.

----------------------------------------------

The trend for libraries to replace print indexes with online databases is
not without problems. I certainly do not advocate the use of print
indexes instead of online databases, but I also do not favor the idea of
replacing print indexes by the exclusive access to online products for
several reasons.

The first is in the area of topic selection. Students need to produce
papers. Their minds may be blank regarding any topic in a subject area or
what topics would be interesting and possible as research issues. To get
anything out of a computer, database, search engine and the like, one must
put something into that computer. It is very hard for someone totally
unsure of the topic they wish to research to come up with intelligent
input to produce lists of documents that may be used for topic ideas.
As libraries eliminate and the producers of databases and indexes cease
publication of print counterparts to online databases, the availability of
tools that one may flip through and browse to see the literature produced
in a field will become increasingly sparse. It is a regular practice for
me to take students to print indexes when they have no clue what topic
they want to work with for an assignment and have them look through
appropriate indexes with the suggestion that they take notes for topic
ideas and use the notes to make a selection. Once the selection is made,
the student can then be guided in the use of databases to produce
pertinent sources for the study of the research assignment.

Many academic and public libraries restrict the use of databases to the
members of the library including students, faculty and staff at colleges
and the borrowing card holders at some public libraries. This limits
those who are living away from their colleges such as distance education
students and those who are traveling and perhaps travel a great deal of
the time on business trips. There never has been a problem with
"outsiders" using print indexes at any library that lets them through the
door, but the computer tools and the use of the work stations in a library
that facilitate their use are often a restricted resource the use of which
is a right accorded only to library or institution members. This is a
form of a geographically or a status based digital divide. The
elimination of print indexes exacerbates the seriousness of the limited
access to online subscription services at institutions that prescribe a
specific user group access to these tools.

Learning how to use complex online databases can be facilitated by
observing the nature of the print index and how it is structured. The
role of the paragraphs in a record in the PsycInfo database is clearer if
one has seen how the print index is arranged. The index is arranged by
subject headings called descriptors. The individual entries in the index
have a series of subject headings called something like key concepts.
Descriptors are only those terms that are used in the database thesaurus
of subject headings for PsychInfo, while key concepts may include jargon,
terms and phrases found in the article and not used as descriptors in the
database. Seeing how this plays out in print will give the searcher a
much better understanding of how to employ this key concept field in
online searches. Similarly, browsing through the "Medical Subject
Heading" or MeSH hierarchical trees in a print volume of each years index
will give the online user of Medline or PubMed (a specific version of
Medline) a better understanding of how the database works.

Finally, should we get into the issue of the inability of many
institutions to afford many online products again adds to the digital
divide or better yet the knowledge divide when print indexes are
eliminated. The loss of Index Medicus in print is a serious loss to the
world of medical knowledge in at least my considered opinion.

Those interested in this topic may find a post that I made some time ago
to be worth a look.

Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 07:11:32 -0500
Reply-To: Exercise and Sports Psychology

Sender: Exercise and Sports Psychology

From: "David P. Dillard"
Subject: OPINION: Comparing Physical Education Index With Sports
Discus





While on the subject of Index Medicus and PubMed, here are some sources of
searching tips for the use of PubMed

Home Page for the PUBMED Database


PubMed FAQs


PubMed Tutorial


PubMed at the UWPubMed at the UW. Instructional Video Clips


Search Tips for Bioethics at NLMSearching for Bioethics
materials in PubMed and LOCATORplus.
Using the Bioethics Subset When Searching PubMed.


PubMed@UCSF QuickGuide: Advanced TipsPubMed@UCSF
Advanced Search Tips.


EBM Fact Sheet - Using PubMed to Search for Evidence
PubMed Clinical Queries
Evidence-based Medicine Resource Center
Fact Sheet


PubMed Search TipsJEFFLINE is produced by
Academic Information Services and Research (AISR).


MEDLINE / PubMed
HOW TO DO A BASIC SEARCH IN PubMed


PubMed Search TipsPubMed Tips for Searching MEDLINE.


BioMed Central | PubMed Boolean Search


Medical Search Engines - Reviews and Search Tips -
Suite101.com
How to find medical information using Medline, PubMed,
Internet Grateful Med, InteliHealth, WebMedLit, and
MDX Health Digest.
Practical search tips. ...


GlycoScience.org--The Nutrition Science Site:
Search HelpPubMed Search Tips.


PubMed Information: SearchPubMed Search Engine.


Search Tips... One category is titled Ten Essential Search Tips.
A sub-category under
"Don't Make Dumb Mistakes" is
"Seven Stupid Searching Mistakes". ...
PubMed AND NLM Gateway. ...


PubMed Search Tips


Penn State Faculty Research Expertise Database (FRED)


Basic Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice Resources


Searching for Bioethics Materials in PubMed and LOCATORplus
Using the Bioethics Subset When Searching PubMed



Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584
jwne@astro.temple.edu




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