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J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 2008 Sep;38(3):259-64.

The James Lind Library: explaining and illustrating the evolution of fair tests of medical treatments.

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James Lind Initiative, Oxford, UK.


The James Lind Library ( has been established to improve public and professional general knowledge about fair tests of treatments in healthcare and their history. Its foundation was laid ten years ago at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and its administrative centre is in the College's Sibbald Library, one of the most important collections of historic medical manuscripts, papers and books in the world. The James Lind Library is a website that introduces visitors to the principles of fair tests of treatments, with a series of short, illustrated essays, which are currently available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. A 100-page book-- Testing Treatments--is now available free through the website, both in English and in Arabic and Spanish translations. To illustrate the evolution of ideas related to fair tests of treatments from 2000 BC to the present, the James Lind Library contains key passages and images from manuscripts, books and journal articles, many of them accompanied by commentaries, biographies, portraits and other relevant documents and images, including audio and video files. New material is being added to the website continuously, as relevant new records are identified and as methods for testing treatments evolve. A multinational, multilingual editorial team oversees the development of the website, which currently receives tens of thousands of visitors every month.

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