Magazine article Online

PubMed: A Winner on the Web for the National Library of Medicine

Magazine article Online

PubMed: A Winner on the Web for the National Library of Medicine

Article excerpt

PubMed is an experimental search system that provides free Web access to the entire MEDLINE database and to PREMEDLINE (recent citations that have not yet been indexed with MeSH terms). This new version of MEDLINE, developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), is a strong and capable search tool with many innovative features and responsive performance for an Internet interface. Access PubMed at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed or from http://www.nlm.nih.gov.

Since PubMed is part of NCBI's Entrez information retrieval system, you can search the molecular biology databases of Entrez in addition to MEDLINE. PubMed also links citations to full-text articles at the Web sites of participating publishersgreat for subscribers to such electronic journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

On June 26, 1997 the National Library of Medicine announced that both PubMed and Internet Grateful Med would be available free, with no registration required-greatly simplifying access for health professionals, scientific researchers, and the public.

ADVANCED FEATURES

While PubMed and Internet Grateful Med each have unique strengths, PubMed will be more attractive to scientists, professional searchers, and to others familiar with MEDLINE who are willing to spend some time reading the documentation. PubMed is easy to search from the Basic Search screen, which combines logical groupings of terms for you automatically. The Advanced Search screen, however, provides drop-down menus with searchable fields and Boolean capabilities (AND, OR, BUTNOT), and you can select or enter specific field designators, specify logical connectors, and build on an original query by adding subsequent queries.

But the Advanced Search interface can be confusing; for example, it requires multiple steps for nesting operations. Even from the Basic Search screen it is possible to enter your own Boolean connectors and field qualifiers to perform a complex search with good results. "Exploding" a MeSH subject heading is a lessevident PubMed option, but it is not optional at some other Internet MEDLINE sites, where exploding the broader terms may be either automatic or not possible at all.

Another unique feature is the Clinical Queries search screen with a menu for retrieving references that have been pre-filtered by type of clinical research methodology, i. …

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