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December 1995

Books, Books, Books

Author Affiliations

Ithaca, NY

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(12):1582. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100120114033

The Editorial in the February 1995 issue of the Archives1 provided well-intentioned, but limited, comparisons of electronic and printed media. Dr Farrell correctly observed that the torrent of new books and journals is overwhelming, in terms of cost and storage space, the resources of both institutional and individual subscribers. Continued reliance on printed material offers no solutions to this problem. Electronic databases, by contrast, already organize and retrieve information more effectively than traditional print methods. MEDLINE, for example, transforms the mechanics and context of a data search from an extended struggle through discordant bibliographies to a quick pinpointing of relevant facts. Not only is electronic data retrieval more complete but, since physical presence in a library is not required, it can be accomplished from any site. Moreover, all the information can be stored economically in a few computers instead of requiring redundant expensive storage sites. Likewise, there is no

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