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Weekly News Digest

July 6, 2004 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

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PubMed Central to Offer Historical Medical Journals

An international agreement will expand the backfiles of historically significant medical journals and make them freely available via PubMed Central ( The Wellcome Trust, in partnership with the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) are joining forces to digitize the complete backfiles of a number of titles. The NLM, a part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will manage the project, host the archive, and ensure that the digital files are preserved in perpetuity. The Wellcome Trust is an independent, research funding charity in the U.K. The JISC is a committee of all U.K. further and higher education funding bodies.

With funding of £1.25 million (about $2.29 million; £750,000 from the Trust, £500,000 from the JISC), the project plans to digitize around 1.7 million pages of text. The list of journals to be digitized will include the Annals of Surgery, Biochemical Journal, Journal of Physiology, and Medical History. Digitization will begin in summer 2004 and the first titles will be online early in 2005.

In addition to creating a digital copy of every page in the backfiles, the digitization process will also create a PDF file for every discrete item (article, editorial, letter, advertisements, etc.) in the archive, and use optical character recognition (OCR) technology to generate searchable text. Although the project focuses on digitizing backfiles, publishers will also include new issues of the selected journals on an ongoing basis subject to an embargo period, as defined by each participating publisher.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine

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