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October 1962

Textbook of Endocrinology

Arch Intern Med. 1962;110(4):542-543. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620220134022

Several mathematically inclined gentlemen have recently designed a computer-centered system to help solve the problems of the inflationary expansion of medical knowledge. One machine is MEDLARS—"Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System." Medlars will store and retrieve information and, on command or entreaty, deal out nicely organized facts like a poker player in the Old West. I admire these gentlemen for their ingenuity and optimism, while trying to banish from my mind my surly suspicions of machines, for it does not take a genius to predict what may happen. One possibility is that Medlars will produce such a mountain of uncritical information that we will have to struggle through reviews on how to keep up with machines which are helping us keep up. Some bright spark will probably organize a new journal, and medical schools will be able to add a new subject to the curriculum. Another possibility is that Medlars

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