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Feature Slides

  • PubMed ® for Trainers

    Do you train others to use PubMed? If so, join us for PubMed for Trainers, a hybrid class with 3 online sessions and 1 in-person session (eligible for 15 MLA CE credits). The class is an in-depth look at PubMed and a chance to share training ideas with your fellow participants.

    PubMed ® for Trainers

    PubMed ® for Trainers Picture
  • PubMed® for Librarians

    PubMed for Librarians is a series of 90 minute classes. Each segment is meant to be a stand-alone module. Each segment is eligible for 1.5 MLA Continuing Education hours. CE credit is not available for viewing the recording.

    PubMed® for Librarians

    PubMed® for Librarians Picture
  • Discovering TOXNET®

    Discover TOXNET and other NLM environmental health databases through videos, guided tutorials, and discovery exercises in thirteen independent modules. The independent modules cover TOXLINE, ChemIDplus, TRI, TOXMAP, Hazardous Substances Data Bank, IRIS, and more.

    Discovering TOXNET®

    Discovering TOXNET® Picture

Word Clouds as Discussion Starters

I like word clouds. They help us see what’s important or most prevalent in a block of text. When the NTO was the NTC, we used word clouds to help facilitate a discussion in our PubMed for Trainers class about the core competencies of PubMed.

We asked students: Is there a set of core competencies that all users need to search PubMed effectively? Students posted their answers in a Discussion Board and then we took the text (after we cleaned it up a bit) and put it into the word cloud generator. During class, we displayed the word cloud and used it as a tool to stimulate a class discussion.

We liked this technique because we (the instructors) already knew what the students thought (as displayed by the word cloud), the rest of the class could see if their set of core competencies matched what others thought and we could ask people to elaborate or ask if there were any surprises.

Word Cloud

Three word cloud generator tools:

  3. Google Docs has a word cloud Add-in.

Here’s a short video by Richard Byrne about using the Google Doc Word Cloud add-in. Note, the add-in mentioned in the video has been renamed Tag Cloud.

Need to Make a Timeline?

Stephanie Evergreen of Evergreen Data wrote a helpful article about 4 ways to create a timeline. You can read her blog post here:

In her post, Stephanie referenced a free PowerPoint plug-in, which you can get here:

Watch how to make a timeline with the plug-in.

A Year with PubMed – Up Close and Personal

Posted on behalf of Cheryl Rowan.

Over the past thirteen months I have had the privilege of working as a Trainer/Curriculum and Content Specialist with the NN/LM National Training Center (now National Training Office). During this time, one of my primary roles has been to provide training on PubMed and I have learned more than I ever thought possible about this amazing resource from the National Library of Medicine. I’ve learned about ATM (not to be confused with an Automated Teller Machine!), automatic explosion, MeSH, EOYP, conveyor belts, supplemental concepts, the NLM catalog, and much, much more.

At the “end of the day,” so to speak, I’d like to offer my unsolicited version of Top 5 Things to Know about PubMed:

1) PubMed currently provides access to more than 26 million citations from biomedical literature – 26 million!!! That’s an awful lot. And, it’s all paid for by our tax dollars, which makes access to PubMed “free” to anyone, anywhere in the world who has the Internet.

2) PubMed is “smart.” In fact, there are so many awesome algorithms and other programming wonders which work behind the scenes that I can get really good results for a search with just using basic search terms, at least most of the time.

3) There is a large team of really smart people who work at NLM to make sure that PubMed keeps running 24/7 to provide the best possible results for any search.

4) There is an almost infinite variety of ways to do a search in PubMed, and very few that are absolutely the “right” way. Collaborating with colleagues provides insights into ways of doing a search that I may not have ever thought of.

5) here will always be more to know about PubMed!

Finally, NLM and the NTO offer a wide range of tutorials, webinars, and online classes on PubMed. Take advantage of this great training and remember, there’s always more to learn!

NLM Releases TOXinvaders, a Mobile Game about Chemistry, the Environment and Health

The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) launched TOXinvaders, an environmental health and toxicology game for iPhone and iPad, available from the Apple Store (

TOXinvaders supports middle school science concepts pertaining to chemistry, environment and health. It can serve as an engaging classroom or homework activity for middle and high school students, as well as an entertaining learning activity for gaming aficionados of all ages. In the classroom environment, TOXinvaders works best as a supplement to NLM Tox Town, Environmental Health Student Portal, TOXMAP, and ChemIDplus web sites.


The game consists of four fast-paced levels, in which a launcher is used to annihilate toxic chemicals falling from the sky and earn protective shield points by capturing “good chemicals.” To move on to the next level, players must take a brief quiz about its chemicals in order to unlock the next one. These dynamically generated tests provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about environmental health and toxicology, either from the game’s chemical information sheet, or from NLM Web sites. Quiz questions and answers can also serve as a departure point for classroom discussions, as well as Tox Town, TOXMAP, and Environmental Health Student Portal activities and experiments.

Sometimes, zero isn’t everything

Did you attend MLA 2016 in Toronto? Did you hear Dr. Ben Goldacre give the McGovern Lecture?  One of the things he spoke about was representing statistics in charts and that pesky Y axis. The YouTube video below does not contradict Goldacre, but shows how sometimes zero can get in the way.

Comings and Goings in PubMed

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) link will be added to the end of each PubMed abstract display when available.

The “Items per page” selection menu will be removed from the top of the results page because it is rarely used by searchers. The option will still be available at the bottom of the search results page.

You can choose your preferred number of results to display by default in your MyNCBI account.

Follow this link to view the upcoming changes and see how to set a default in your MyNCBI account:

Tell Us What You Think!

We want you to tell us about our website

As the NN/LM Training Office, we’re hoping to make improvements to our website which make it easier for you to quickly find the information you need. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to answer seven questions (just 7!) about what you do on and what you’d like to do or see. Please contact us at if you have questions about this feedback form. Thank you for your input.

Tell us what you think!


Email Accidents Happen

You hit Reply All by mistake; you include someone you didn’t intend to include; you hit Send before you’re finished; maybe you don’t notice which email address you’re replying to and Reply to the whole listserv (similar to Reply All). Wouldn’t it be great if these things didn’t happen? Well, here’s tip that I try to follow to minimize the possibility that these things happen. Note: this tip only works if you follow it…says the person who recently replied to an entire listserv.

It’s very simple. Do not fill out the email address portion until you are finished writing and reviewing the email.

Follow #1, if you’re writing a new email. Follow #2, if you’re replying to an email.

1) For a new email, leave the To address space blank until you’re done writing and reviewing the email.

2) If you’re replying to an email, Cut the email address out of the To space and paste it into the body area of the email. This is only temporary. When you’re done writing and reviewing your response to the original email, cut and paste the email address back into the To space.

Now, please hear me; I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek in this post, but I do want to share what I learned the hard way, more than once, and spare you that Oh No moment.

Systematic Reviews and PubMed Health

PubMed Health logo

Are you interested in clinical effectiveness? Do you have a desire or need to keep up-to-date on information related to the prevention and treatment of diseases or conditions? Have you taken a look at PubMed Health recently?

PubMed Health specializes in reviews of clinical effectiveness research, with easy-to-read summaries for consumers as well as full technical reports for researchers and clinicians. To state it simply, clinical effectiveness research seeks to answer the question, “What works?” in medical and health care.

PubMed Health is a service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at NLM, in partnership with a number of other institutions including AHRQ, Cochrane, NHLBI and NCI at NIH. In addition to the great information on health topics from A-Z, drugs from A-Z, and more, PubMed Health offers ways to stay informed on the news with two RSS feeds: Featured Reviews and Behind the Headlines.

If you’d like to learn more about this fantastic resource and using it to find systematic reviews, register for the upcoming webinar on Friday, June 10. This free 30-minute webinar is provided by the NLM Training Office.

Online Training Opportunity: PubMed for Librarians Series

PML_slide_imageJoin the National Library of Medicine and the NN/LM Training Office (NTO) for the free online class “PubMed for Librarians.” Classes in June 2016 are now open for registration.

The PubMed for Librarians class is divided into five segments (90 minutes each). Each segment is a synchronous online session that includes hands-on exercises and is worth 1.5 hours of MLA CE credit. Participants can choose any or all of the 5 segments that interest them.

The segments are as follows:

Introduction to PubMed: Learn about the difference between PubMed and MEDLINE, how to run a PubMed search, assess your search retrieval, analyze search details, employ three ways to search for a known citation, and how to customize with My NCBI.

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings): Learn about the NLM Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) database. Explore the four different types of MeSH terms and how searchers can benefit from using MeSH to build a search. Investigate the structure of the MeSH database and look at the components of a MeSH record.

Automatic Term Mapping (ATM): Learn about Automatic Term Mapping (ATM) – the process that maps keywords from your PubMed search to the controlled vocabulary of the MeSH database. Learn why searching with keywords in PubMed can be an effective approach to searching. Look at the explosion feature, what is and is not included in search details, and explore how PubMed processes phrases.

Building and Refining Your Search: Use some of the tools and features built into PubMed that are designed to help you search more effectively. Explore the filters sidebar and Topic-Specific Queries. Use History, tools in the NLM Catalog, and the Advanced Search Builder to build searches and explore topics.

Customization – My NCBI: Learn about the advantages of creating a My NCBI account, managing and manipulating your My NCBI page content, locating and identifying available filters on PubMed’s filter sidebar, selecting and setting up to fifteen filters, and creating a custom filter.

Class space is limited, so register now at