PubMed Central: A Digital Archive of Medical History

Most people know PubMed Central (PMC) for its free, full-text archive of recent biomedical journals. If you love medical history, you’ll also find that PMC contains a gold mine of historical journal articles dating back to 1809.

Among the many fascinating items in the collection are:

Florence Nightingale National Library of Medicine
  • An article by Florence Nightingale on nursing reform (British Medical Journal, 1892).
  • An appeal for justice by Arthur Conan Doyle, related to the infamous case of the Parsi English solicitor George Edalji, which reflected contemporary racial prejudice (British Medical Journal, 1907).
  • An article by Walter Reed, on the transmission of yellow fever by mosquitoes (Journal of Hygiene [London] 1902).

This valuable digital collection is the outcome of the Medical Journal Backfiles Digitization Project (2004-2010), a partnership between the Wellcome Trust, the Joint Information Systems Committee, NLM, and a number of medical journal publishers.

~Jill Foust

*Parts of this article were reprinted from Circulating Now: From the Collections of the World’s Largest Biomedical Library blog, PubMed Central: Visualizing a Historical Treasure Trove.