Bulletin of Medical Library Association 55 (3), 338 (1967)

Communications to the Editor

Comments on an index to medical book reviews

To the Editor:

In the BULLETIN 55: 66, 1967, Ruth Atwood describes an experimental index to medical book reviews. She should be congratulated for having identified, through an extensive survey of M LA members, the need for an index which identifies book reviews appearing in the journals received in medical libraries.

Since a large number of medical libraries now subscribe to the Science Citation Index, it is important for all medical librarians to be aware, however, that the SCI already provides access to this information. Indeed, in 1966 alone, SCI indexed about 30,000 book reviews, of which I would estimate possibly half would be of interest to biomedical libraries. Indeed, the problems of medical librarians in evaluating books in such fields as bioengineering may indicate the percentage should be higher.

It may well be, as suggested by Atwood, that it spite of the availability of the SCI, a separate index to book reviews would be helpful as a desk reference work. The Institute for Scientific Information is ready to cooperate with MLA or any other group, in the preparation of such a work as a by-product of its journal indexing activities.

We might also mention that the inclusion of book reviews in the SCI-ASCA system is proving extremely useful and popular to ASCA subscribers who are alerted not only to the reviews themselves, but to the fact that certain books on topics of interest to them have, in fact, been published.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania