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Ann Surg. 2003 Dec;238(6 Suppl):S34-41.

Surgical textbooks: past, present, and future.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


The Sabiston Textbook of Surgery and other classic textbooks have been invaluable resources for generations of surgeons. Although they play an important role in medical education, printed textbooks often cannot meet the daily information needs of practicing surgeons because they are inaccessible, incomplete, unstructured, and out of date. Advances in communication technology have radically changed the creation and distribution of medical information. Many clinicians now seek evidence to support clinical decisions on the Internet and handheld devices. This article describes the evolution of surgical textbooks from printed volumes to versatile collections of knowledge that serve as both comprehensive resources and question-answering tools.

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