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October 23, 1991

Searching Question: On-line or CD-ROM?-Reply

JAMA. 1991;266(16):2224. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470160055026

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In Reply.  —Mr Nelson points out the existence of additional avenues to MEDLINE data, and I fully agree that CD-ROM products might contribute to the new standard of information arising in medicine. It was not my intention to review all methods by which one may make use of MEDLINE and related databases while describing PaperChase. Specifically, I have not attempted to weigh the relative merits of on-line vs CD-ROM systems.A professional biomedical librarian certainly can be an ally in identifying useful information. However, in many settings, biomedical librarians will not be available on a 24-hour-a-day basis when clinicians and other scholars may need access to the literature around-the-clock, 7 days a week.The kind of browsing that Nelson rightfully praises in the CD-ROM environment also occurs on-line and, in fact, is often very instructive both in immediate yield of desired citations and in improving technique for future searches.Nelson