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Archive for the ‘Search Tools’ Category

NLM and FDA Launch Public Access to Global Unique Device Identification Database

The FDA, in partnership with the National Library of Medicine, has announced that data submitted to FDA’s Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID) is now publicly available through a website called AccessGUDID. By using AccessGUDID, anyone can search or download information that device labelers have submitted to the GUDID about their medical devices. Because the UDI system is being phased in over the next several years, labelers are currently submitting data on only the highest risk medical devices, a small subset of marketed devices. But as the system is implemented according to the UDI compliance timeline, the records of all medical devices required to have a UDI will be included.

With the launch of this beta version of AccessGUDID, everyone is encouraged—health care systems, clinicians, patients, researchers, industry and others—to explore its contents, assess its functionality and provide feedback. This feedback will shape future enhancements, including advanced search and web services. To submit feedback, use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the AccessGUDID landing page or the FDA UDI Help Desk.

NLM Classification Updated, April 30, 2015

The online National Library of Medicine Classification has been issued in a newly revised edition as of April 30, 2015.

Summary Statistics for the 2015 NLM Classification

  • 75 class numbers added
  • 132 class number captions or notes modified; indentation levels changed; schedule headers revised
  • 3 class numbers canceled
  • Table G numbers (Geographic notation):
    • 1 caption modified: GS3—Scandinavia was changed to Scandinavia and Nordic Countries
  • 131 index main headings added (23 from 2015 MeSH)
  • 459 index entries modified
  • 43 index headings deleted

NLM Announces OAI-PMH Service for History of Medicine Images Database

The National Library of Medicine has announced an Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) service for its Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) database, which provides access to over 70,000 images from the NLM’s world-renowned historical prints and photographs collection that illustrates the social and historical aspects of medicine from the Middle Ages to the present. The new service provides access to the metadata of all items in IHM, opening this database to new uses and new users, and enhancing interoperability with other institutions. OAI-PMH is a standard developed by the Open Archives Initiative for harvesting metadata from digital resources.

Images from the History of Medicine logo.

Encompassing portraits, photographs, fine prints, caricatures, posters, and other graphic art, IHM includes subjects ranging from medieval astrology to 19th century slum conditions to World War I hospitals to the international fights against drug abuse and AIDS. Also included in IHM are the hundreds of images from the freely-available book Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine, which showcases the world’s largest medical library and its remarkable collections. IHM via OAI-PMH joins two other NLM OAI-PMH services that provide access to biomedical information; Profiles in Science®, an extensive digital project of the Library that provides online access to archival collections of twentieth-century leaders in science, medicine, and public health; and the life sciences repository PubMed Central (PMC), which currently contains 3.3 million articles from medical journals dating from the early nineteenth century to the present.

MedlinePlus Releases New Responsive Web Design Interface!

New responsive design of MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en Espanol

MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español are now available with a fresh look and feel and a completely redesigned web site. The new release uses responsive design for ease of use on any device, whether that is a desktop monitor or mobile touchscreen. Responsive pages automatically change their layout to fit your screen. Further details are available by visiting the NLM announcement page.

Since this latest version enables all users to access a layout of optimized for their device, there is no longer a need for the separate mobile ( sites. These sites are now retired, and visitors to them will be redirected to the new version of NLM invites you to try out the MedlinePlus full responsive design on your smartphone, tablet or desktop. A two-minute tour of the redesigned site is also available in English and Spanish. Feel free to send your feedback and comments about the new design via the “Contact Us” link that appears on every MedlinePlus page.

NLM Announces the Addition of the Michael E. DeBakey Papers to Profiles in Science

Now available from the National Library of Medicine is an extensive selection from the papers of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey on Profiles in Science®, an extensive digital project of the Library that provides online access to archival collections of twentieth-century leaders in science, medicine, and public health. The Michael E. DeBakey Papers Profiles in Science site features correspondence, published articles, travel diaries, interviews, and photographs from the Michael DeBakey Papers held by the National Library of Medicine. Visitors to Profiles in Science can view photos from DeBakey’s childhood and early career, correspondence with surgical colleagues during World War II, and the journal he kept on a trip to Russia to supervise President Boris Yeltsin’s bypass surgery in 1996. An in-depth historical narrative leads to a wide range of primary source materials that provide a window into Dr. DeBakey’s life and major contributions to vascular surgery, medical education, and health care policy. Visitors may also search and browse the collection, consult a brief chronology of DeBakey’s life, a glossary of terms specific to the collection, and a page of further readings.

Michael E. DeBakey (1908–2008) was a legendary American surgeon, educator, and medical statesman. During a career spanning 75 years, his work transformed cardiovascular surgery, raised medical education standards, and informed national health care policy. Born to Lebanese immigrants in Lake Charles, LA, DeBakey was inspired to study medicine by physicians who visited his father’s pharmacy. He earned his MD from Tulane University in 1932 and joined the Tulane faculty after his internship and two years of postgraduate work in Europe. During World War II, he served with the Surgical Consultants to the Army Surgeon General, where he helped develop the first MASH units. DeBakey pioneered dozens of operative procedures such as aneurysm repair, coronary bypass, and endarterectomy, which routinely save thousands of lives each year, and performed some of the first heart transplants. His inventions included the roller pump (a key component of heart-lung machines) as well as artificial hearts and ventricular assist pumps. Beginning in 1948, he was a driving force in building Houston’s Baylor University College of Medicine into a premier medical center, where he trained several generations of top surgeons from all over the world.

NLM Community Health Maps (CHM) Project: User Needs Survey

The National Library of Medicine needs your help reaching out to current and potential users of low-cost and easy-to-use online mapping tools (GIS). The Community Health Maps (CHM) project identifies and promotes tools that seek to meet the mapping needs of communities and community organizations such as clinics, schools, libraries, health departments, faith-based and community-based groups. These tools can be used to collect and visualize health statistics and local resources, to compare data across locations, and to explore trends. In order to improve CHM and better tailor it for the specific requirements of users, please share this GIS user needs survey!

New Name for PubMed Related Citations Discovery Tool

The PubMed “Related citations” feature will soon be renamed to “Similar articles.” “Similar articles” was chosen because “Related citations” is ambiguous. There are several types of relationships that articles may have. The algorithm to generate the results has not been modified. The link name will be updated on the Summary results. The Abstract display discovery tool title will also be renamed. To see illustrations of the new feature, visit the NLM Technical Bulletin.

NLM Announces Pill Image Recognition Request for Information (RFI)

As part of its ongoing work to develop an infrastructure and tools for identifying prescription pills, the National Library of Medicine has announced a new Request for Information (RFI). This is NOT a solicitation for proposals, proposal abstracts, or quotations. The purpose of this RFI is to obtain knowledge and information for project planning purposes. The government will not award a contract on the basis of this notice, or otherwise pay for information solicited by it. Proprietary information should be clearly marked. The requested information is for planning and market research purposes only and will not be publicly released. This Request for Information (RFI) is a pilot for a forthcoming Pill Image Recognition Challenge for visually identifying pills. The Challenge has as its main objective the development and discovery of high-quality software that matches images of unknown prescription pills to images in the RxIMAGE database. The pilot will help ensure that the Challenge is successful.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Computational Photography Project for Pill Identification (C3PI) is developing infrastructure and tools for identifying prescription pills. The infrastructure includes NLM’s RxIMAGE database of freely available, high quality prescription pill images and associated pill data. One tool is the freely accessible RxIMAGE API (Application Programming Interface) for text-based search and retrieval of images and data from the RxIMAGE database.

NLM now seeks to expand the toolset to include smart phone apps to visually search for and retrieve pill images and data. A person will photograph an unknown prescription pill, possibly under poor lighting conditions, from an angle, or at low resolution. The app will return one or more RxIMAGE images and data that are most likely to match the photographed pill. Respondents to the RFI are asked to submit executable software that matches consumer images – photos of pills taken by cell phone digital cameras – with reference images obtained from images in the RxIMAGE database.

The start date for accepting responses to this RFI is April 6, 2015. The end date for accepting responses to this RFI is May 15, 2015. For full information about the RFI, visit the NLM News & Events and NLM Pill Image Recognition Pilot (PIR Pilot) websites.

NLM Updates MEDLINE/PubMed Health Literacy Information Resources

The MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information Resources page and its preformulated Health Literacy Special Query have been updated to keep pace with the growing body of relevant literature. The Health Literacy Special Query now retrieves additional citations to articles about numeracy, comprehension of informed consent, and health insurance comprehension. The dynamic MEDLINE/PubMed health literacy search retrieves more than 8,000 citations to English language journal articles related to Health Literacy. PubMed filters can be used to limit to particular years, research or publication types. To limit citations to a particular subject (such as “decision making”) use the Advanced Search features.

Sometimes called Quantitative Literacy (QL) or Quantitative Reasoning (QR), numeracy involves skills needed to select a health insurance plan, choose treatments, and understand medication instructions. MEDLINE/PubMed may contain citations to articles that discuss numeracy skills of clinicians—physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who must communicate with patients and the public. Informed consent comprehension is of great interest to health literacy advocates and researchers who are concerned with how effectively health care providers communicate disease and treatment risks and benefits to patients. Among the more than 16,000 citations to articles with Informed Consent as a major descriptor, many citations don’t explicitly use the phrase “health literacy,” but are conceptually tied to it.

The selected resources on the right side of the MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information Resources page includes new links, such as:

Community Health Status Indicators Website Launch

The CDC just released the updated Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI), an interactive online tool that provides public health profiles for all 3,143 counties in the United States. Each profile includes key indicators of health outcomes, which describes the population health status of a county and factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes, such as health care access and quality, health behaviors, social factors, and the physical environment. First issued in 2000, CHSI 2015 represents the collaboration of public health partners in the public, non-profit and research communities. The re-designed online application includes updated peer county groups, health status indicators, a summary comparison page, and U.S. Census tract data and indicators for sub-populations (age groups, sex, and race/ethnicity) to identify potential health disparities. In this new version of CHSI, all indicators are benchmarked against those of peer counties, groups of counties that are similar to each other based on 19 variables, the median of all U.S. counties, and Healthy People 2020 targets. CHSI 2015 is designed to complement other available sources of community health indicators including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. Organizations conducting community health assessments can use CHSI data to:

  • Assess community health status and identify disparities;
  • Promote a shared understanding of the wide range of factors that can influence health; and
  • Mobilize multi-sector partnerships to work together to improve population health.

To promote awareness of the new tool, the CDC and the National Library of Medicine are co-hosting two sessions of a one-hour briefing that will provide an overview of the new features and redesign of CHSI. Registration is available for either March 24, 12-1:00 PM PDT, or March 26, 8-9:00 AM PDT. Once your registration request is approved, you will receive instructions for joining the meeting.