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MEDIS Library System

Arch Surg. 1987;122(8):959. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400200109030.
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To the Editor.—On-line information services vary considerably in flexibility and complexity. As the keynote speaker at Oregon On-Line 1986,1 I had an opportunity to test the MEDIS search system.2 As an experienced medical library specialist, I found much to be desired. Unless an individual is fluent in the controlled vocabulary of MEDLARS (MeSH), MEDIS searches can result in both incomplete and misleading retrievals. In addition, knowledge of data base idiosyncrasies ("unwritten" sets) is required to perform truly complete searches. Health care information needs to be as complete and accurate as possible if it is to be useful in decision making for actual patient care. Most physicians have neither the time nor the inclination (for good reason) to develop expertise on even "user-friendly" systems.

At Sacred Heart General Hospital, Eugene, Ore, the medical library staff has perfected techniques that allow delivery of on-line bibliographic data via electronic mail


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