MEDLINE computer with Medical Subject Headings book, circa 1974 Image source:  U.S. National Library of Medicine Digital Collections

MEDLINE computer with Medical Subject Headings book, circa 1974
Image source: U.S. National Library of Medicine Digital Collections

Now an indispensable resource, it is hard to believe that PubMed is only 20 years old. First released in January 1996, PubMed was initially an experimental database. One year later, the word ‘experimental’ was dropped and, at a Capitol Hill press conference on June 26, 1997, free web access to MEDLINE through PubMed was officially announced. The press conference featured a demonstration of PubMed by then Vice President Al Gore (anyone remember him?) and a variety of stories from peoples whose lives had been affected by access to MEDLINE (Press Release – Free MEDLINE).

Prior to the launch of PubMed, users had to register and pay to search MEDLINE. Approximately 2 million PubMed searches were executed during the month of June 1997. In April 2015, 3.5 million searches per day were performed in PubMed. PubMed has come a long way over the past 20 years, and will continue to change in the upcoming years (PubMed Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary).

 

Post contributed by Laura Pavlech

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