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 June 30, 2000 [posted]
 
 
 NLM Online Users' Meetings 2000:
MEDLARS Questions and Answers

 
 

Q uestion:
What meeting abstracts will be included? Will CANCERLIT abstracts be included?

Answer:
Certainly the AIDS meeting abstracts are going to be included as are the health services research meeting abstracts currently covered in HealthSTAR. Other areas are not specifically defined but the hope is to expand the scope. There is no arrangement at the moment to include the unique CANCERLIT meeting abstracts. However, NLM will take it under advisement. We welcome suggestions for meeting abstracts.

Question:
Is there any plan to add any kind of Publication Type that might describe systematic review use other than meta-analysis?

Answer:
What did you have in mind?

Question:
Systematic Review [Publication Type] perhaps. Because these are very difficult to find and entail riduculously complicated search strategies.

Answer:
The Cochrane collaborators have already asked us for this. We will refer this request for consideration.

Question:
Are you planning to include the Cochrane Library abstract citations to MEDLINE?

Answer:
Yes, we received our first transmission of about 800 records electronically from the publisher and they were added to PubMed on May 5 as [Record supplied by publisher]. When indexing is complete, these records will be elevated to MEDLINE status.

Question:
What years are going to be included?

Answer:
Indexing of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews began with Number 2, 2000.

Question:
Why is the journal Contemporary Pediatrics not indexed in PubMed?

Answer:
The Library uses an NIH chartered committee, the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC), to review all new biomedical and health journal titles and recommend those to be indexed. If you're interested in having a journal indexed in PubMed you can get information on how to do that from the NLM Factsheet, Response to Inquiries about Journal Selection for Indexing at NLM.

Question:
My question concerns the Journal Browser feature in PubMed. There was some discussion about journal titles with commas in them not being searched well. I have run into this problem myself. I hope that you could look at that and figure out some way to search without the commas?
Second question: When using the Journal Browser if you click on the journal title abbreviation it does not search. I would like to see a link into LocatorPlus, possibly the third element on that screen because frequently we try to verify something and the answer turns out to be that it was not indexed. If we could get into LocatorPlus directly that would be wonderful.

Answer:
The Journal Browser feature allows you to click on an external source called [This link was removed because it is no longer valid] PubList.com if you want to see general information about journals as well as clicking on the title abbreviation to find citations from that journal in PubMed. PubMed's Journal Browser uses a search engine that is much simpler and therefore has fewer capabilities than PubMed's database search engine. Later this year we plan to work on a new and improved version of the Journal Browser (and MeSH Browser) and hope to incorporate many of the suggestions that searchers have provided. We will consider a link to LocatorPlus. Thanks for the suggestion.

Question:
If you are searching MEDLINE from another vendor, does the MEDLINE that NLM provides them include some of the other databases that are now part of PubMed, such as HealthSTAR?

Answer:
The MEDLINE data that we provide vendors is MEDLINE without HealthSTAR or other databases included. However, many licensees also lease HealthSTAR separately and have for years, so we are not providing them with a merged file. However, if they choose to do so they could merge the data in their own systems. But, specifically, the answer is that at the moment because of our data creation system in indexing, and as I said earlier we have not yet moved to the new system, we are not able to provide the merged data to licensees. The new system will allow us to do that. It will also allow us to send them the PREMEDLINE records.

Question:
HSRProj, where is that going?

Answer:
HSRProj will be searchable using the new NLM Gateway system.

Question:
We used to be able to say "Near" within a couple of words when we were in the ELHILL system. Now when we use the quotation marks sometimes that will get us where we want to go, but a lot of times the logic expands out further than we would like to and we have to deal with a larger set. Are there any plans to introduce some sort of adjacency operator?

Answer:
There are no plans for this.

Question:
A number of us use PubMed daily and we've been experiencing a problem we believe is with your server. Sometimes our searches will retrieve citations but will decline to display them. We must go back several times and click on the same citation to have it displayed. When it is finally displayed and we download we do not get the same number of citations downloaded every time from the same set and that can vary as well. It seems to be random. If we keep at it then eventually we will get the full number of citations, but many times we just give up and go to a vendor where we have to pay. I have sent e-mails regarding this.

Answer:
There is not a problem with PubMed's server. However, there is a known problem with downloading large retrieval sets. We are working to correct this. In the meantime, try reducing large sets to smaller sets for downloading. If you run into a problem where something that normally works for you does not, try using your browser's reload button as this often helps. Also, users with older versions of operating systems, (e.g., Windows® 95) and browsers (e.g., Netscape® 4.05) report more problems than users with more up-to-date systems.

Question:
We use PubMed quite a bit and we teach it a lot in our classes. Every once in a while when we are teaching there will suddenly be a screen that we have never seen before. I am wondering if it might be possible for you to announce to librarians what is going to be done before it happens so that we don't look foolish in the classroom. A specific example was when Preview came up and was announced the following day. Also, when the green banner came up announcing the new version of PubMed. That was also a surprise. It would be nice if we were notified before the fact.

Answer:
I agree with you completely, we should do a better job of announcing changes in PubMed.
[Editor's Note: In mid-May the New/Noteworthy feature, available from the sidebar on the PubMed Web site, was reinstated. New/Noteworthy provides brief descriptions of the latest PubMed enhancements (with links to Help for more detailed information) and announcements of enhancements coming to PubMed in the future.]

Question:
Can you tell us something more about the Web tutorials that you are developing? Since the librarians that I work with have developed one and it is being used now, what are your plans?

Answer:
It will be patterned after the training workbooks that we are currently using and it should take between one and two hours to complete. It is going to be an interactive tutorial. A student could choose to go through from beginning to end, or go through which ever module they wish for a refresher, or just to learn a specific aspect. We hope that we will be doing alpha and beta testing this summer and that the tutorial will be released this Fall.

Question:
What will it include?

Answer:
It will include everything about PubMed and how to search. At the first implementation, it will not include information on the Cubby because a couple of weeks ago we had to approve the final material and the Cubby was not quite stable enough for us to have material written so we will add that as soon as we have the final product. And, of course, it will continue to be maintained and updated as PubMed evolves.

Question:
When I was searching the old way many years ago, whenever there was a problem with the weather or electrical storms in the Washington, DC area there was always a blip in MEDLINE. About two weeks ago we experienced a lot of problems getting onto PubMed from Virginia and I knew there was bad weather in DC. Do you have a redundant system, so that if you go down is there another server that will pick up somewhere else? That would help us in case of disaster?

Answer:
There is actually more than one PubMed server. There are numerous servers that we use. I don't think the weather conditions had anything to do with it. A few weeks ago we had some instability when the backbone of the Internet line coming into NIH had a problem. I don't know if that was the occurrence that you are refering to but I remember those problems a few weeks ago.

Question:
When you go to PubList.com via the Journal Browser, PubList.com will send you to a commercial document delivery supplier. I am wondering if you have ever thought of having Loansome Doc added to the list of document delivery suppliers that PubList sends you to.

Answer:
Loansome Doc is a system specifically designed to provide ordering capability within NLM search services (e.g., PubMed). Loansome Doc participants generally set up agreements with local medical libraries which are DOCLINE participants. The document ordering services provided by [This link was removed because it is no longer valid] PubList.com are vendors that deal directly with customers who pay a fee in return for receiving copies of articles. By the way, PubMed provides the link to PubList.com not as a method for document ordering, but as a source of information about the journal (e.g., publisher information). When NLM completes the transition to our new data creation and maintenance system we expect to be able to provide NLM source information about journals.

Question:
I am from French Canada, I use PubMed very often. I just wish that you have already a good number of French language periodicals, but if you could add more it would be very useful.

Answer:
Canadian librarians are encouraged to recomment titles in French or English that they wish to have reviewed for inclusion in MEDLINE. Contact Sheldon Kotzin at kotzin@nlm.nih.gov

Question:
Regarding Loansome Doc and DOCLINE use: will we ever be able to use the PMID citation number instead of or in addition to the UI in ordering with Loansome Doc?

Answer:
When the new DOCLINE comes up on July 17, 2000 you will be using the PMID (PubMed Unique Identifier) with Loansome Doc. After we complete the conversion of the databases into PubMed, we will discontinue the MEDLINE Unique Identifier on PubMed records.

Question:
Are you going to add more Consumer Health journals, or do you plan to add a subset like you did for nursing?

Answer:
At the moment there are no plans for additional consumer health journals similar to the 12 or so we have now. It's a question that is asked frequently, and one that gets discussed at the Library a lot. But I think that our direction is that MEDLINEplus would be the primary source for consumer health information. I welcome any suggestions that you want to send to me on what you think are consumer health journals, because many of them could be reviewed eventually for inclusion in MEDLINE. But I don't expect any major initiative to expand that list. I think it will just come gradually, if at all.

Question:
What about the consumer health journals that are currently in AIDSLINE, will they be going into PubMed?

Answer:
Yes, all the AIDSLINE journals will be going into PubMed.

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NLM Online Users; Meetings 2000: MEDLARS Questions and Answers. NLM Tech Bull. 2000 May-Jun;(314):e5b.

 

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Last updated: 22 August 2012