Index Medicus (IM) is a curated subset of MEDLINE, which is a
bibliographic database of life science and biomedical science
information, principally scientific journal articles. From 1879 to
Index Medicus was a comprehensive bibliographic index of such
articles in the form of a print index or (in later years) its onscreen
equivalent. It was begun by John Shaw Billings, head of the
the Surgeon General's Office, United States Army. This library later
evolved into the
United States National Library of Medicine
United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). In
the 1960s, the NLM began computerizing the indexing work by creating
MEDLARS, a bibliographic database, which became MEDLINE. Index Medicus
thus became the print presentation of the
MEDLINE database's content,
which users accessed usually by visiting a library which subscribed to
Index Medicus (for example, a university scientist at the university
library). It continued in this role through the 1980s and 1990s, while
various electronic presentations of MEDLINE's content also evolved,
first with proprietary online services (accessed mostly at libraries)
and later with CD-ROMs, then with
Entrez and PubMed. As users
gradually migrated from print to online use,
Index Medicus print
subscriptions dwindled. During the 1990s, the dissemination of home
internet connections, the launch of the Web and web browsers, and the
PubMed greatly accelerated the shift of online access to
MEDLINE from something one did at the library to something one did
anywhere. This dissemination, along with the superior usability of
search compared with use of a print index in serving the user's
purpose (which is to distill relevant subsets of information from a
vast superset), caused the use of MEDLINE's print output, Index
Medicus, to drop precipitously. In 2004, print publication ceased.
Index Medicus and Abridged
Index Medicus still exist
conceptually as content curation services that curate
into search subsets or database views (in other words, subsets of
MEDLINE records from some journals but not others). This filters
search results with a view toward excluding poor-quality articles
(such as by excluding junk journals), which is often helpful depending
on the needs of the user.
2 Journal selection
3 See also
5 External links
Index Medicus publication began in 1879 and continued monthly through
1926, with a hiatus between 1899 and 1902. During this hiatus, a
similar index, the Bibliographia medica, was published in French by
the Institut de Bibliographie in Paris. The
Index Medicus was
amalgamated with the American Medical Association's Quarterly
Cumulative Index to Current Literature (QCICL) as the Quarterly
Index Medicus (QCIM) in 1927 and the AMA continued to
publish this until 1956. From 1960 to 2004 the printed edition was
published by the National
Library of Medicine under the name Index
Index Medicus (IM/CIM). An abridged version was
published from 1970 to 1997 as the Abridged Index Medicus. The
abridged edition lives on as a subset of the journals covered by
PubMed ("core clinical journals").
The last issue of
Index Medicus was published in December 2004 (Volume
45). The stated reason for discontinuing the printed publication was
that online resources had supplanted it, most especially PubMed,
which continues to include the Index as a subset of the journals it
Inclusion into the Index is not automatic and depends on a journal's
scientific policy and scientific quality. These criteria are
evaluated by the "Literature Selection Technical Review Committee" and
the final decision is made by the NLM director. The review process
may include outside reviewers and journals may be dropped from
^ a b c d "FAQ:
Index Medicus Chronology". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ "History of Historical Collections - History of Medicine - National
Library of Medicine". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
Index Medicus Ceasing Publication". Retrieved
^ "FAQ: Finding a List of Abridged
Index Medicus or Index Medicus
Journal Titles". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
Index Medicus - NLM Technical Bulletin to Cease as Print
Library of Medicine - NLM Technical Bulletin.
2004-05-04. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
^ "Number of Titles Currently Indexed for
Index Medicus and
PubMed". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
^ a b "How are journals selected for
Index Medicus and MEDLINE?".
^ "LSTRC". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
Index Medicus (AIM or "Core Clinical") Journal Titles".
Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health.
2003-07-09. Retrieved 2017-09-26.
NLM Catalog Search Limits The "Journal Subsets" limit provides the
Index Medicus journals (IM)" and "Core clinical journals
(AIM)" to restrict search results to journals contained in Index
Medicus and Abridged Index Med