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Big Changes to PubMed

Have you noticed PubMed searches are retrieving more citations than you expected? Are stored My NCBI automatic updates including more than they did previously? Have you tried the beta version of Advanced Search in PubMed? NLM has introduced many new features to PubMed in recent weeks!

Try entering the following in PubMed’s search box: Chin Neurology MRI. Previously, this search would have found zero matches, because Chin and Neurology would have been searched only as MeSH headings or textwords. With the new automatic term mapping, twenty-seven articles are retrieved (today), including some with Chin as an author and Neurology as a journal title. Automatic term mapping still uses the MeSH, journal title, and author translation tables, but now additionally searches your terms in All Fields. You’ll find this generally means larger retrieval, including more marginally relevant hits (higher recall, less precision) if you search without qualifiers.

Next try searching: Chin Neurology 1995. This also would have failed in old PubMed. Today it finds nine articles, and two articles are displayed before the others in a yellow background. PubMed’s citation sensor has determined that you are likely searching for specific articles, and displays possible matches in this highlighted section.

PubMed screenshot

An effective alternative is to use PubMed’s new Advanced Search. The link to Advanced Search is to the right of the search box. Note: this is a beta version and changes are likely.

PubMed screenshot

Using Advanced Search, it is easy to select fields from drop-down menus and input search terms. This interface also lets you browse indexes and choose Limits without leaving the page.

PubMed screenshot

For more information, read the NLM Technical Bulletin article and/or view NLM’s presentation on PubMed from the recent Medical Library Association meeting.

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