Blow Out the Candles! MEDLINE Turns 35

In October, the National Library of Medicine’s flagship database, MEDLINE, celebrated its 35th anniversary, marking some extraordinary milestones along the way. They include:

  • Expanding from 239 indexed journals in 1971 to 4,928 in 2006;
  • Going from (according to a 1971 NLM NEWS report) a planned network in 1972 that .”…can be reached by a local call in at least twenty major cities” to, in 2006, 77 million PubMed unique visits;
  • Dialing up MEDLINE, in 1971, with users paying terminal and telephone costs, to being able to access MEDLINE anywhere on earth for free, via the World Wide Web; and
  • Operating originally on an IBM 360/50 mainframe computer to running MEDLINE/PubMed on 20 Dell PowerEdge 1850 Servers, 2 CPU 8Gb RAM, with the Linux operating system in 64-bit mode