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Highlights from the PubMed Update – January 2014

Lisa Traditi
Health Sciences Library – University of Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
-Dana Abbey, Colorado/Health Information Literacy Coordinator

If you missed the January 2014 Spotlight! on NLM Resources with the National Training Center’s (NTC) Jessi Van Der Volgen discussing recent updates to PubMed, don’t fret. We’ve put together a recap of the information.

Here’s what’s new:

PubMed Commons

The PubMed Commons forum lets authors share opinions and information about publications in PubMed. It’s currently a pilot project, with participation by invitation – if you have at least one article or item in PubMed you are eligible for an invitation. However, anyone can view the post peer-review comments, there are two ways:

  1. Enter “has_user_comments[sb]” in the search box to retrieve all citations with comments, or
  2. Click “PubMed Commons Reader Comments” on the left hand sidebar to filter your search.
PubMed Commons Display

Figure 1 – PubMed Commons Display

Relevance Sort

This feature is available from the Display Settings. It uses an algorithm to analyze each PubMed citation for the terms you used in your search and then the weight, or importance, is calculated depending on how many search terms are found and in which fields they are found. Also, recently published articles are given more weight than older ones.

Relevance Sort Display

Figure 2 – Relevance Sort Display

Using History in Search Builder

Now when you click “add,” your search terms, not the search number appears in Search Builder. If you prefer to use numbers, you just need to add them manually to the Search Builder. In the example below, the Search Builder now displays the terms “parish nursing” and “spider bites,” instead of #5 and #2.

Search Builder Display

Figure 3 – Search Builder Display

Modifying a Saved Search

In My NCBI, find one of your saved searches. Click on the gear icon and add/delete any terms you wish. Click the “Test search terms” to test run your search strategy.

Modifying a Saved Search

Figure 4 – Modifying a Saved Search

Recent Activity

This is not a new feature, but might include new information. In My NCBI, go to your Recent Activity and click See All Recent Activity. This view will list the date saved, the resource (e.g., PubMed, MeSH), the type of activity, and the activity title. Items displayed can be added to your Saved Searches, copied to a Collection, or deleted altogether. If you deleted something from History, don’t worry – it will stay in your Recent Activity for six months.

Recent Activity Sorting Display

Figure 5 – Recent Activity Sorting Display

MeSH Terms for 2014

There are many enhancements to MeSH vocabulary. The NLM Technical Bulletin has the full list of changes, but here’s a quick glimpse:

  • 304 Descriptors, including air travel, dandruff, hope, medical identity theft, patient harm, public health nurses.
  • 3 new Publication Types: data set, observational study, and pragmatic clinical trial.
  • 40 Descriptor replacements to reflect more up-to-date terminology (e.g., arachnidism is now spider bites, dengue hemorrhagic fever is now severe dengue.

NLM does not do retroactive indexing, meaning the new terms will not be applied to existing citations. This is something to keep in mind regarding your saved searches – remember to review and update them. But with any good rule, there is an exception: where there is a one-on-one relationship between a new and old term, NLM will conduct a find and replace. In the 2010 citation example below, the 2014 MeSH term Spider Bites is now reflected in the record. If you are in Abstract View, you can also add citations to your My NCBI collections with the Add Favorites button.

Updated MeSH Terms

Figure 6 – Updated MeSH Terms

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