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The Continuing Evolution of PubMed!

Recently, PubMed has undergone a flurry of enhancements and modifications. And that trend is very likely to continue! The latest changes include the way that Automatic Term Mapping (ATM) works and the introduction of a new Citation Sensor feature. These changes, along with the beta version of an advanced search mode for PubMed, were the highlights of a “PubMed Review” theater presentation from the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association (MLA). A detailed description of the new features is included in Boost for PubMed Search Results: New ATM and Citation Sensor Introduced, published in the NLM Technical Bulletin.

The Citation Sensor and ATM changes were made partly in response to NLM’s analysis of PubMed activity showing that roughly 30% of PubMed queries were seeking particular citations. Another finding indicated that the “Single Citation Matcher” feature is rarely used, because PubMed’s main query box is utilized for all types of searches. PubMed enhancements are made with the goal of accommodating two distinct types of users. On one hand is the general user, who prefers a “Google”-type interface, while on the other hand there is what NLM has designated as the “super user,” someone who uses the sophisticated features of PubMed and takes the time to read Help documentation.

As the PubMed interface continues to evolve, changes will continue to be made incrementally. When changes are made or announced, NLM truly values feedback from all users of PubMed, and this feedback is strongly considered in decisions about making changes permanent. So, if you have strong reactions to proposed changes to PubMed, either positive or negative, please use the “Write to the Help Desk” link within PubMed to send comments to NLM’s customer service center. As an alternative, you can send email messages directly to Your input could make the difference between keeping a valuable or important feature or losing it!


Editor’s Note: A complete set of all recordings of NLM theater presentations from MLA 2008 is now available on the NLM Distance Education Program Resources web page. In addition to the PubMed review, the presentations include updates for LinkOut, PubMed Central, MedlinePlus, and Go Local. Following is a complete list of MLA 2008 Annual Meeting NLM Theater Presentations:

Citing Medicine (14 min.)
DailyMed® (19 min.)
Health Services Research & Public Health: What’s Happening? (27 min.)
LinkOut Update (23 min.)
NIH Manuscript Submission System (24 min.)
NLM Drug Information Portal (19 min.)
NLM Gateway Redesign (22 min.)
PubMed Central® Update (21 min.)
PubMed Review (25 min.)
The New “Images in the History of Medicine” Software (18 min)
What’s New with Environmental Health & Toxicology Resources? (13 min.)
What’s New with MedlinePlus & GoLocal (20 min.)

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