Creating Electronic Research Libraries

Albert Hybl Dept of Biophysics SM hybl at mbph.UUCP
Thu Dec 21 09:43:08 EST 1989

The following e-mail message supports my assertion that creating
electronic research libraries is technically feasible:
>The fundamental problem is obtaining this information in electronic
>form.  Everything else is easy.  ---rick

Some of the information already exists in electronic form; Inertia,
Policy, Money, Politics are the real obstacles.  The Health Science
Library (HSL) at UMAB provides a mini Med-Line service called MaryMed.
At present the MaryMED data base is updated at most once or twice a
month from magnetic tapes obtained from NLM.  The following is a

}    The MaryMED database contains citations to English language
}    articles in journals owned by the [HSL] Library.
}    Contents of the MaryMED database: [Wed Dec 20 15:32:53 EST 1989]
}      JAN-DEC 1989 Updates  228,699 citations
}      JAN-DEC 1988 Updates  205,489 citations
}      NOV-DEC 1987 Updates   33,164 citations
}                            -------
}                            467,352 citations

MaryMED averages roughly 600 citations a day while usenet generates
about 2000 messages.  The average MaryMED citation is about
1,500 bytes; the average usenet message is 2,358 bytes long.  Usenet
moves over 4 megabytes per day while MaryMED processes less than 1
megabyte per day.  The usenet distributes messages among various
branches and twigs of its newsgroups tree structure.  The NLM likewise
allows searches based on a tree structure of Medical Subject Headings.
The USENET allows cross posting of a news article.  MaryMED articles
have many keywords associated with the reference that would be amenable
for cross posting.

MaryMed citations are limited to the HSL journals published in English 
and abstracted during the past two years.  I would prefer a more
complete search.  The restriction to the current two years is both
too long and too short.  It is too short when initiating a search on
a new subject where it is desired to locate reference 10, 20 or more
years old.  It is too short for the user wanting to search only the
most recent month or two.  MaryMed is a giant step forward for the
HSL but only a small step toward an electronic research library.

Albert Hybl, PhD.             UUCP  Office: uunet!mimsy!mbph!hybl
Department of Biophysics              Home: uunet!mimsy!mbph!hybl!ah
University of Maryland        Bitnet: hybl at umbc1         CoSy: ahybl
School of Medicine            Phone Office: (301) 328-7940
Baltimore, MD  21201                  Home: (301) 243-1710
Responders--DO NOT USE:  hybl at  or  ah at 

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