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The only comment I would add to the description of the differences Tom
Mead lists between Medline and Embase is that the studies I can recall
seeing put the overlap rate for journal titles much lower than 60%.  My
recollection is that only about 33% of the titles the two indexes cover
are shared.
 
This gap, in my practical experience of searching the two, doesn't always
show up.  What I mean by that curious statement is that when you are
searching the literature for things like drug trials for pathologic
conditions common in North America and western Europe, you frequently see
very little difference in the retrieval.  Both services cover the major
medical titles in which authors prefer to publish if they are looking for
recognition.
 
On the other hand, when searching for physiotherapy, or alternative
therapies of any kind, or for drugs, conditions or treatments not
commonly used/encountered or known in North America, you get surprisingly
interesting and different material from Embase.
 
Remember, each index is a creature of its own political/social and
professional environment, and those environments are different.  Europe
is NOT a lot like the U.S. in many ways.  When Elsevier decides which
journals to include in Embase, there are different forces in play than
those which operate when NLM prunes or adds to its list of journals
covered in Medline.  These considerations explain to me quite a lot about
why the coverage of the two indexes is different.
 
Further documentation and study is needed to explain why Embase is
better, in some respects, than Medline.
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Tom Flemming                    Internet: [log in to unmask]
Health Sciences Library         Ariel: 130.113.181.186
McMaster University             Voice: (905) 525-9140  x22321
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Hamilton, ON   L8N 3Z5
 
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