Indian MEDLARS Centre : Internet and biomedical information for the Indian medical professional
Pandita, Naina and Dash, Shefali S. (2003) Indian MEDLARS Centre : Internet and biomedical information for the Indian medical professional. In: Mednet 2003, 3-5 Dec 2003, Geneva, Switzerland.
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The Indian medical professional is dependent for current information on his institutional library, which may or may not have Internet facilities. The Indian MEDLARS Centre (IMC) set was up in 1986 with the objective to meet the ever-increasing information needs of the medical professionals. The professionals, who earlier had to look up printed resources available in their libraries could avail the services of IMC, which opened up vistas of information access for these professionals by providing information from National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) MEDLARS databases. With the Internet making in-roads, information became freely available at the click of the mouse. At this stage IMC shifted its focus from “content providers” to “content generators” and developed services, accessible over the Internet, for the Indian medical professionals. A bibliographic database of 75 peer reviewed Indian biomedical periodicals was developed, which included journals not covered by any other international database. This database, IndMED, is accessible free of cost from IMC’s website, http://indmed.nic.in to the professionals within and outside the country. Simple and advanced search modes have enabled comprehensive information retrieval by professionals. With indexing of journals being done using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) this database has been designed on the same format as NLM’s MEDLINE database. IMC has also developed a Union Catalogue of Indian Biomedical Periodicals, which provides the holdings data of 188 biomedical libraries in the country and this is accessible free of cost from http://uncat.nic.in. This database can be searched by journal names or library names and provides details of the availability of the journals in these libraries. The Centre is in the process of developing an online full-text database of Indian biomedical periodicals covering the 75 journals indexed in IndMED. This database, medIND (http://medind.nic.in) would also be accessible free of any charge to the medical professionals and would serve as the one-point access to all peer reviewed Indian biomedical literature. The Centre’s website, in addition to providing access to the Indian biomedical literature, also serves as a portal to biomedical websites and e-journals. This includes links to NLM databases and other sites, which are of relevance not only to the professional but also to the consumer, medical library professionals and nursing professionals. IMC conducts training programmes in information retrieval techniques that make the medical professionals more proficient in searching the biomedical resources available over the NET; the training material can be downloaded from IMC’s website with a CD version also being made available. In this manner the Indian MEDLARS Centre continues to serve the needs of the medical professionals as well other health care professionals using the Internet as the medium for information dissemination. IMC’s multi-faceted services have made available Indian as well as international biomedical information available at the click of a mouse thereby saving the time of the busy professionals. This has directly or indirectly had an impact on health care services not just in major cities but also in remote areas of the country.
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