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November 3, 1993

Using MEDLINE to Solve Clinical Problems-Reply

JAMA. 1993;270(17):2053-2054. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510170043024

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In Reply.  —The NLM does not plan to cope with progress in science by putting on-line the entirety of its holdings. Even so, during the past 5 years, 300 new journal titles have been added to MEDLINE and the average number of articles indexed has increased from 250 000 to 400 000 per year.With respect to MEDLINE and Index Medicus specifically, as Dr Fink suggests, NLM is "highly selective" in choosing publications for inclusion. Our goal is to include only journals of high quality and relevance to the science and practice of medicine. Our choices are informed by the judgments of expert advisory bodies who in turn seek formal opinions from professional societies and associations. As in the similar process for reviewing research grant proposals, the great majority of items approved are truly worthy, yet not all worthy items are selected for inclusion, and an error in judgment occurs