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[Correspondence] The language of biomedical sciences

The first 12 volumes of the Index Medicus, first published in 1879 as “a monthly classified record of the current medical literature of the world”, consisted of 20 169 articles, 4781 of which came from American publications, 4608 French, 4027 German, 3592 English, 1210 Italian, 703 Spanish, and 1248 from other countries.1 Science was, clearly, a multilingual affair at that time. This first medical database suffered some disruption until 1964, when the National Library of Medicine took responsibility of the database and developed the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (MEDLARS).

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