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Searching PubMed on a Mobile Device

Home page of PubMed Mobile Beta

New from NLM: PubMed Mobile

This post describes three mobile sites and three apps for searching PubMed on smartphones and other mobile devices.

Last week, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine launched PubMed Mobile Beta, a mobile-friendly, simplified Web interface to the basic functions of PubMed. Search results can be limited to Free Full Text or Review articles. Tapping the title of an article opens a screen with that article’s abstract, PMID number, a free full text link if one is available, and a list of links to related citations. PubMed Mobile Beta does not  work with LinkOut. However, if your library uses a proxy server, users accessing PubMed Mobile with your proxied URL should have access to subscription e-journal content. NCBI welcomes your feedback about PubMed Mobile Beta.  Write to the PubMed Help Desk with your comments and suggestions.

PubMed for Handhelds is an earlier project (launched in 2003) from a different division of NLM, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications. PubMed for Handhelds gives some interesting search options that are not available in other PubMed interfaces. These include PICO (Patient/Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome – a formula for structuring clinical questions), natural language searching, and disease associations.

NCBI makes PubMed data available to third-party developers to build alternative search interfaces. PubGet is an example of one of these third-party tools, and it has a mobile version. PubGet’s goal is to get searchers from citations to PDFs as seamlessly as possible. Register your institution and PubGet will customize search results to reflect your library’s holdings. On PubGet Mobile, it’s especially easy to browse the latest tables of contents from popular journals.

PubMed Mobile Beta, PubMed for Handhelds, and PubGet Mobile all work through the web browsers so can be used on most any mobile device with internet access. PubMed mobile applications, on the other hand, are specific to certain operating systems and must be installed. Mobile apps offer some advantages over mobile sites, such as making content available offline.

For iPhone/iPod/iPad, try PubMed Clip or PubMed on Tap. Both will save search history, allow for offline access to search results, and email results in RIS format for citation management software. Both cost $2.99. PubMed Clip makes it easy to share citations on Facebook and Twitter or to bookmark them using Evernote. PubMed on Tap supports EZProxy and provides links to Loansome Doc for ordering full-text articles.

For Android phones, try PubMed Mobile (free) by CRinUS, or PubMed Mobile Pro for $2.99. It provides advanced search options, saves citations and searches and allows users to comment on abstracts and see comments left by others.

iMedicalApps is a great source for reviews of mobile medical applications. The contributors are medical students and resident physicians from a variety of disciplines. Bookmark or subscribe to iMedicalApps to keep up with the latest developments.

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