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Citation Database and MedTrans MEDLINE to text translator

  • Introduction
  • Database Files
  • MedTrans
  • History
  • Rev: 01 Nov 2004.


    Since the mid 80s I've used a flat-file database, FileMaker Pro, to store literature citations. I used it for several years on the Mac, then moved to the Windows version.

    I could use Reference Manager, EndNotes, or any one of a number of dedicated bibliographic software packages. I've stayed with a generic flat file database for a number of reasons. I can customize it any way I want. It provides features that commercial programs may omit, such as AppleScript support. The data can be moved to any platform with a flat-file database that can manage very large text fields. I don't need to fear software obsolescence.

    I also wrote a crude, but effective, utility to translate MEDLINE formatted text into a form that can be imported by a flat-file database (see MedTrans). Most of the citations in the database were not entered manually; they were downloaded from a Grateful Med search (for info on Grateful Med and MEDLINE visit the National Library of Medicine).

    FileMaker has some nice features. It has excellent representation and publication features. It can handle up to 32K text fields. Windows/WinOS2 and Macintosh versions are available and they use identical file formats. (Windows users will have to adjust for the inevitable Mac/Windows font differences.)

    Database Files

    I've provided my article database here in two forms, as an empty shell (clone.fm) and as the full database (artfile.fm). You may download and use either. I use FileMaker/Mac, but here I've adopted Windows' naming conventions for compatibility.


    MedTrans is a small C utility I wrote in 1991 that translates a MEDLINE (or other MEDLARS) formatted text file into a tab-delimited (Mac version) or ascii-delimited (DOS version) file. It is truly ugly -- command line on both platforms. On the other hand, it's ANSI C and ought to comile under Linux. The documentation is very old.


    Author: John G. Faughnan.  The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. Pages are updated on an irregular schedule; suggestions/fixes are welcome but they may take weeks to years to be incorporated. Anyone may freely link to anything on this site and print any page; no permission is needed for citing, linking,  printing, or distributing printed copies.