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Editorials |

MEDLINE-Induced Blindness

Gerald L. Baum, MD, FCCP (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Author and Funding Information

Medical Director, Professor of Medicine, Israel Lung Association-Tel Aviv.

Correspondence to: Gerald L. Baum, MD, FCCP, Israel Lung Association, 16 Chovevei Zion Street, PO Box. 26401, Tel Aviv 63 346, Israel; e-mail: jbaum@post.tau.ac.il



Chest. 1999;115(5):1224. doi:10.1378/chest.115.5.1224
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Extract

One of the great leaps forward in medicine has been the database, MEDLINE, which has provided easy access to the world’s medical literature. With the advent of the Internet, this access is open free of charge to the entire world! Well, not exactly free, as it turns out.

In the pre-MEDLINE days, all of us scanning the literature in preparation of a paper, used the Index Medicus and struggled to find the references we needed, regardless of the dates of their publication. Now, however, MEDLINE has made our tasks easier by far, but it has limited us to work published from 1966 onward. This imposes on each investigator the need to search for work done previous to 1966 or to use the bibliography of the articles retrieved via MEDLINE. It is this latter activity which seems to have been lost. Now that 33 years of literature have accumulated in MEDLINE, it appears to many that all that we need to know and quote from the literature in order to publish the current paper exists in this easy-access form. As a result, original descriptions are often not quoted, and brilliant work done more than 33 years ago, deserving of recognition even today, simply disappears.


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