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Archive for the ‘Search Tools’ Category

NLM Releases Extensible Markup Language (XML) for IndexCat™ Data

The National Library of Medicine has announced that Extensible Markup Language (XML) data from the IndexCat™ database is now available for free download. Released with a Document Type Definition (DTD) that allows researchers to validate the data, this new XML release includes the digitized content of more than 3.7 million bibliographic items from the printed, 61-volume Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, originally published from 1880 to 1961. The XML describes items spanning five centuries, including millions of journal and newspaper articles, obituaries, and letters; hundreds of thousands of monographs and dissertations; and thousands of portraits. Together, these items cover a wide range of subjects such as the basic sciences, scientific research, civilian and military medicine, public health, and hospital administration.

The NLM release of the Index-Catalogue in XML format opens this key resource in the history of medicine and science to new uses and users. It is one of the monuments of the Library’s longstanding, systematic indexing of the medical literature, an effort which William Henry Welch (1850-1934), the great pathologist and bibliophile, considered to be “America’s greatest contribution to medical knowledge.” This indexing, begun by John Shaw Billings in the nineteenth century at the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, United States Army (known today as the NLM), eventually created two distinct products: the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, United States Army, and the Index Medicus, forerunner of MEDLINE®, and now the largest component of PubMed

Released alongside the IndexCatalogue XML are an integrated XML file and associated DTD for two collections developed from the electronic database of A Catalogue of Incipits of Mediaeval Scientific Writings in Latin (rev.), by Lynn Thorndike and Pearl Kibre (eTK), and the updated and expanded version of Scientific and Medical Writings in Old and Middle English: An Electronic Reference (eVK2), edited by Linda Ehrsam Voigts and Patricia Deery Kurtz. Also available via the online IndexCat, these resources encompass over 42,000 records of incipits, or the beginning words of a medieval manuscript or early printed book, covering various medical and scientific writings on topics as diverse as astronomy, astrology, geometry, agriculture, household skills, book production, occult science, natural science, and mathematics, as these disciplines and others were largely intermingled in the medieval period of European history. The NLM release of these resources in XML format joins many other freely downloadable resources, including the XML for MEDLINE®/PubMed® data, which includes over 22 million references to biomedical and life sciences journal articles back to 1946, and, for some journals, much earlier.

The release also coincides with the NLM’s participation in “Shared Horizons: Data, Biomedicine, and the Digital Humanities,” an interdisciplinary symposium exploring the intersection of digital humanities and biomedicine, being held April 10-12, 2013, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland, and Research Councils UK. Shared Horizons will create opportunities for disciplinary cross-fertilization through a mix of formal and informal presentations, combined with breakout sessions designed to promote a rich exchange of ideas about how large-scale quantitative methods can lead to new understandings of human culture. Bringing together researchers from the digital humanities and bioinformatics communities, the symposium will explore ways in which these two communities might fruitfully collaborate on projects that bridge the humanities and medicine around the topics of sequence alignment and network analysis, two modes of analysis that intersect with “big data.” All Shared Horizons sessions will be live-streamed with a monitored back channel for the public to post/tweet comments. Recordings of all talks will also be posted to the Shared Horizons website, with the ability to comment pre- and post-event.

First Look at Key Demographic Characteristics of New Congressional Districts

For the first time, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey is providing access to detailed demographic data on congressional districts for the 113th Congress. These statistics include age, education, occupation, income and veteran status. They are accessible via Easy Stats, the Census Bureau’s new online tool offering quick and easy access to American Community Survey data. These statistics are drawn from the most recent one-year American Community Survey sample, tabulated for redistricted congressional districts of the 113th Congress. Easy Stats provides statistics on a wide range of topics, such as income, occupation, housing and education, down to the local level, including states, counties, cities and towns, and now, congressional districts.

I tried Easy Stats and obtained useful demographic data for sample counties that I was able to export into an Excel spreadsheet! Consider using this tool when you are applying for funding for your communities!

The official press release is from the US Census Bureau.

Improve Your Google Search Skills!

Following are some tips for faster, more focused search results using Google:

  • Exclude terms. If you are looking for information on the term “myocardial,” but not “myocardial infarction,” place a minus sign in front of the word you wish to exclude, e.g., myocardial -infarction.
  • Site search. Limit your search to a single website or a specific group of sites, by using site: followed by a Web address or ending. For example, entering “stroke site:gov” as the search will provide information about strokes from government agencies, including MedlinePlus!
  • Wildcard search. Use the asterisk to substitute for any word in a phrase. This can be especially useful for identifying a particular fact or even finding a missing word in a song lyric! Put phrases in quotes; for example, “Las Vegas is in * county.”
  • Math and conversions. Enter a math problem into Google Search, and it will give you the answer (use * for multiplication and / for division). It will also convert currencies and temperatures. For example, enter “$100 in euros.”
  • Definitions. Place the word “define” before any word, for example “define popliteal,” and Google provides a definition at the top of the results list. You can also enter “movies” or “weather” before a ZIP Code or city name to see a list of films playing nearby or a weather forecast for that area.

ToxSeek Discontinued as of March 23rd, 2012

NLM has decided to end its support for ToxSeek. For ten years the National Library of Medicine has supported ToxSeek, a research project involving natural language processing and semantic technology. This federated-search engine helped users to search across diverse biomedical and environmental health resources and provided a method for locating information resources on topics related to toxicology and environmental health. Since there are now several comparable alternatives for users needing a federated search, such as Science.gov, NLM will realign the resources to support other mission-critical programs.

ToxSeek will not be available after March 23rd, 2012. Please direct any questions to tehip@teh.nlm.nih.gov.

Google Realtime Search

Google Realtime Search allows you to keep up with developments as they happen from Twitter, Facebook, and blogs around the web. Go to http://www.google.com/realtime and conduct a search on a topic of interest. The results will appear on a constantly refreshing screen so you can see new updates as they happen. You can also access Realtime by clicking “More” from the regular Google menu.

NIH adds first images to major research database!

“The National Institutes of Health has expanded a genetic and clinical research database to give researchers access to the first digital study images. The National Eye Institute (NEI), in collaboration with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), has made available more than 72,000 lens photographs and fundus photographs of the back of the eye, collected from the participants of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). These images are now accessible to scientists through NCBI’s online database of Genotypes and Phenotypes, known as dbGaP, which archives data from studies that explore the relationship between genetic variations (genotype) and observable traits (phenotype).” Open-access AREDS data and a link to apply for controlled access to individual level data, including the new images, can be found on the NEI-AREDS study page.

“The availability of AREDS images through dbGaP may transform the way we conduct vision research,” said NEI director Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D…

View the NIH News article here.

NIHSeniorHealth Toolkit for Trainers – Updated Modules Now Available

Updated training modules have been added to the National Institute on Aging’s Toolkit for Trainers, a free resource that can be used to help older adults find reliable online health information on their own. The Toolkit offers free lesson plans, student handouts, glossaries, trainer tools and an introductory video and can be used in libraries, senior centers, community colleges, and retirement communities.

The updates appear in modules 6-8 and reflect recent design changes to MedlinePlus, one of the websites featured in the training.

Indian Health Service Creates Best Practices Inventory

The Indian Health Service (IHS) is developing an inventory database of Best Practice, Promising Practice, Local Effort, Resources, and Policies occurring among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, schools, work sites, health centers/clinics, and hospitals. The database is available through the IHS Online Search, Consultation, and Reporting (OSCAR) System. The purpose of the inventory is to assist the AI/AN communities with getting the information and health services they need and highlighting the great work being done in the field. Users have the option of searching the database or submitting content electronically.

New MedlinePlus FAQ for Finding Favorite Resources on the Redesigned Home Page

At first glance, it might not be obvious where a favorite resource from the old MedlinePlus has moved to on the newly redesigned site. The National Library of Medicine released a new FAQ to help users find the familiar links – Where can I find my favorite link from the old homepage on the new homepage? You can click on a link on the old homepage to see where it’s moved to on the new homepage. If you haven’t visited the new MedlinePlus yet, check it out. And send your questions and comments to the MedlinePlus team via the Contact Us link that appears on every page.

Learn About QR Codes

Alison Aldrich, Technology Outreach Coordinator at the NN/LM Pacific Northwest Region, published a terrific article last week in PNR’s “Dragonfly” newsletter called “QR Codes: They’re Everywhere.” Head on over to Dragonfly to read the article and try out this fascinating technology: http://nnlm.gov/pnr/dragonfly/2010/06/08/qr-codes/.