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Author: Cummings, Martin Marc, 1920-2011
Title: The Changing Character of Medical Literature, 1974 [I]
Occasion: Presented at the Medical Society of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
MMC Commentary: I recall making this presentation and dealing with the question of whether non-published documents should be indexed for computer search and retrieval. I argued that with limited funds it was more important to index and catalog the published literature, since this is what was inevitably made available on a worldwide basis and was the literature that could be discussed and debated on a scientific basis. In my previous positions as Chief of the Office of International Research at the National Institutes of Health, I often visited the world over to review problems of a global nature and particularly those that dealt with tropical diseases. The World Health Organization had a very good working library with a large staff and consultants who dealt with problems of public health and medical research. The statement I presented provided an analysis of the world's biomedical literature, by country of origin, language, and subject. It was clear that English was the primary language of medical science, and that many articles published in other languages are now abstracted in English. I was made a member of the WHO Medical Society. It was probably at this time that I received the WHO-OMS medal.
Subject terms:
International Cooperation
World Health Organization
History of Medicine
Computer Systems
MEDLINE
Medical Society of the World Health Organization
Billings, John S. (John Shaw), 1838-1913

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