In 1899, the American drug manufacturer Merck & Co. first published a small reference book for physicians and pharmacists titled Merck’s Manual of the Materia Medica. It was meant as an aid to physicians and pharmacists, reminding doctors that “Memory is treacherous.” Compact in size, easy to use, and comprehensive, The Merck Manual (as it was later known) became a favorite of those involved in medical care and others in need of a medical reference.
Over the years, each subsequent edition of the book grew in size and scope to become one of the most widely used comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers. As The Manuals evolved, they continually expanded the reach and depth of their offerings to reflect the mission of providing the best medical information of the day to a wide cross-section of users, including medical professionals and students, veterinarians and veterinary students, and consumers. Today under Merck Publishing Group, The Manuals, both professional and consumer, have been translated into 17 languages.
In 2014, the decision was made by Merck Publishing Group to move to digital-only publications. Continuously updating the content digitally allows The Manuals to keep pace with the current rapid advances in medical information. Digital publication also allows The Manuals to include all manner of multimedia and frees them from the need to fit information within the confines of bound books.
Over the years, we have received four editions of different Merck Manuals, all having been reviewed. The Merck Veterinary Manual, 11th edition, Aiello (Merck Publishing Group, 2016) and The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 20th edition, Porter et al. (Merck Publishing Group, 2018) have been selected by health sciences librarians as Essential Purchase Titles on the Doody’s Core Titles list, under Veterinary Medicine and General Medicine respectively.