Medical Journals Web Sites

By Smith, Stephen E. | Information Today, October 1999 | Go to article overview

Medical Journals Web Sites


Smith, Stephen E., Information Today


Take a tour of some valuable indexes to medical literature online

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of medical journals have established some kind of presence on the Internet. Most "established" print journals offer only tables of contents and abstracts. A relative few provide access to full text of selected articles. Many, however, have begun to provide access to full text of current and archive issues to subscribers.

If you are looking for an individual journal, it is pretty easy to find it by searching on its title using a reliable medical search engine. If you are looking for online journals in the broader sense, trying to find a collection of reliable content on a particular subject or in a particular medical specialty, your task becomes infinitely more difficult.

Contributing to the difficulty is the fact that there are no clear identifiers to say which of these online journals merely have a cover sheet with subscription and publisher information, which offer archived tables of contents, which add to that by posting abstracts, and which offer some or all of their content in full text.

Everyone understands the business needs that restrict readership to subscribers. Still, for the Net researcher, there is nothing like finding a reliable information depot that is freely accessible to all.

Regardless of what your particular needs are, a complete and annotated directory of journals offering information online would be valuable. Unfortunately, there isn't such a listing. Well, let's rather say that there are several, but none completely fills the void. In this month's Medical Line, we'll tour some of the more valuable indexes to medical literature online. If medical literature on the Web is of value to you, the sites below are all worth getting to know.

Emory MedWeb

Birthed by the librarians at Emory University, MedWeb (http://www.medweb.emory.edu/medWeb/default.htm) is an extensive Internet biomedical catalog. Begun in 1994, the site has long been one of the most extensive listings of biomedical information on the Internet. In fact, the listings became so extensive that they began to lose their usefulness in that it became more difficult to find pertinent information among the volumes of sites listed. Additionally, the listings have not been updated since 1998 and are beginning to show their staleness. Emory is still investing in the project though. The lists have been converted to a database with a search engine, and apparently there is an effort to bring the index up to date.

While the index is showing its age and lack of updating, Emory MedWeb is still of significant value in finding medical journals on the Web. There are a host of biomedical journals indexed: 993 to be precise. You can find these by entering "journal" rather than a subject in the search box. Most of the listings actually are journals, although a few offer information about journals, journal reading, and so forth. To find journals on a specific subject or topic, enter "journal [subject]." For example, you can find cardiology journals by typing "journal cardiology." Some care is needed here. If you type in "cardiology journals" or "journals on cardiology" or "journals and cardiology" you won't get the full results list you get with "journal cardiology."

Although the results are, as mentioned, somewhat out of date (as a comparative search on "cardiology journal" on Alta Vista will show), MedWeb is still worth a visit and a bookmark. A great feature of the site is that it rarely includes listings of low value. You'll find links to journal home pages listing only subscription and publisher information, but you won t find spurious information, as you will on general Web search engines.

The best features of MedWeb are the annotations and the extent of the listings. Each link has a description of what it is, plus who provides it and what exactly is being offered.

Science. …

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