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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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June 23 marks the anniversary of two events of great cultural and political significance to the United States and, in particular, American women.

In 1960, the FDA formally approved Enovid for use as an oral contraceptive, making it the first approved birth control pill in the world. Enovid had been prescribed since 1957 as a treatment for menstrual disorders, but the FDA’s official recognition and approval of its contraceptive properties ushered in a new era of freedom and debate about reproductive rights. You can read more about the development of The Pill in Jonathan Eig’s The Birth of the Pill  and about its impact on American society in America and the Pill by Elaine Tyler May; we have both in our collection.

Representative Patsy Mink, a co-author of Title IX. The law was renamed after her in 2002 as the Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act

Representative Patsy Mink, a co-author of Title IX. The law was renamed after her in 2002 as the Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act

Twelve years later, on June 23, 1972, Congress passed Title IX as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It stated, in part that:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”

By banning sex discrimination in schools, Title IX has helped to expand educational and athletic opportunities to women. For Title IX’s 40th anniversary in 2012, The National Women’s Law Center collected a series of stories to honor the breadth its impact. Perspectives come from those who grew up before Title IX, like Alexa Canady, the first African-American woman neurosurgeon, as well as after, like Shree Bose, a prodigious teenage cancer researcher.

You can find the rest of the stories at “Faces of Title IX”.

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