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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin 1998 May-Jun; 302



In This Issue:

Technical Notes - e1

PubMed: Truncation, Automatic Explosion, Mapping, and MeSH Headings - e2

dot MLA 1998 [corrected 1998/07/14] - e3

BIOETHICSLINE Regenerated - e4


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MLA 1998


MEDLARS Online Users' Meeting - Remarks
dotMEDLARS Questions and Answers
DOCLINE Users' Meeting - Remarks
DOCLINE Questions and Answers [corrected 1998/07/14]

MEDLARS Online Users' Meeting: Questions and Answers

NLM Online Users' Meeting Sunrise Seminar, 7:30 am, May 25, 1998, Philadelphia, PA

Question: When will access to the ELHILL mainframe legacy software be discontinued?

Answer: There is no official date. Expect to see ELHILL disappearing as data now in NLM databases become accessible via the Web. ELHILL and the mainframe on which it resides have other uses, such as data creation and maintenance, so it is not possible to give an exact date. But, that is definitely the eventual plan.

Question: How do you get to CATLINE using PubMed?

Answer: CATLINE is not available using PubMed or Internet Grateful Med (IGM). NLM is acquiring an Integrated Library System (ILS) and plans to make CATLINE, AVLINE, and SERLINE data available through a Web OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). CATLINE, AVLINE and SERLINE are currently available through a telnet session to Locator, which many of you may use.

Question: What is the future of Internet Grateful Med? How long does NLM expect Internet Grateful Med to continue? And thank you for NLM's responsiveness to some of PubMed's requested improvements.

Answer: There are no plans to eliminate Internet Grateful Med (IGM) as a separate interface. IGM will continue to provide access to many of the databases that are not available on PubMed. The next database to become available will be SPACELINE. Soon for MEDLINE searches IGM will use the retrieval system used by PubMed, while retaining the IGM "look and feel." Progress continues on this new link and should be available this summer.

Question: What happens when Internet Grateful Med searches through PubMed?

Answer: You will be using the Internet Grateful Med (IGM) search screen and searching will be against the complete MEDLINE file (including PREMEDLINE) in PubMed. Your retrieval will retain the IGM "look and feel" with a few changes such as displaying 20 citations at once rather than 8.

Comment: I urge you to make BIOETHICSLINE available via one of the Web-based products as soon as possible.

NLM is talking with the producers of BIOETHICSLINE and other databases to work out the best ways to make data available on the Web.

Question: How will physicians and nurses be able to limit their searches to non-consumer health journals?

Answer: It is expected that the journals will be tagged, and therefore the ability to isolate the consumer health titles would be possible.

[Editor's note: A show of hands was asked of the audience on the question of whether or not the medical librarians present thought that patrons would want to exclude consumer health citations in search retrieval. A majority of those attending raised their hands.]

Question: What is going to happen to PDQ?

Answer: Many of you may know that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has CANCERLIT and PDQ on a free system called CancerNet available via its Home Page. This PDQ is essentially the same as the implementation running at NLM except that it does not have the physicians directory file. NLM may link at some point to the PDQ Web site. PDQ may not continue as a database directly available through NLM, but that decision has not been made yet.

Comment: NCI's Web version of PDQ does not have the physicians directory and it also does not have dosage details. I believe that NLM should continue to provide access to the full PDQ database.

Question: Last week I found that HSTAT was available through PubMed but there was no news release. Why didn't NLM let us know about this?

Answer: NLM put the announcement in the News feature of the NLM Web site on May 18, 1998.
[Editor's note: Mr. Kotzin then solicited suggestions from the audience for other ways to inform interested persons.]

Audience suggestions for additional methods of announcing news included:

  1. Put it on the MEDLIB-L listserve.
  2. Make it an e-mail, using a push technology so it comes to each individual searcher instead of the searcher having to look for it.

Question: Those of us doing health services research searching would like to see some early American Hospital Association material available online. I still get questions from researchers who have been in the field a long time and who remember the older materials. I have to go to AHA print versions.

Answer: NLM will investigate.

Question: I do a lot of searching for pharmacology/drug information. In PubMed I noticed if you use the MeSH Browser and find your drug listed there with a cross reference to the Name of Substance (NM) it will not automatically link to the NM. I know to go in and check on some of the newer drugs but pharmacists and physicians who are maybe doing their own searching may think that by using the MeSH term they are getting a comprehensive search and actually they're going to lose a lot of articles. They need to also include registry numbers and name of substance, in their searches. The PubMed MeSH Browser is kind of misleading; the printed MeSH shows previous indexing history and the MeSH Browser lacks this information.

Answer: As noted in the New and Noteworthy section on the PubMed Home Page, the MeSH browser is an introductory browser and we are planning to enhance it. We've had a lot of comments from users about the features they would like to add and we will add your suggestion as well. If you do have any comments on any other items or other search features that you would like to see in the browser, please send them to us because we will be making changes.

Comment: I would like to see trade names linked to generic names in the PubMed MeSH browser.

Answer: Thank you for your suggestion to add the Supplementary Chemical records to the MeSH Browser.

Many trade names are either non-print cross references to MeSH headings (as Motrin is to Ibruprofen) or synonyms to Supplemental Chemical Names of Substances (as Viagra is to sildenafil). The MeSH Browser does link the cross references to the MeSH heading. But because the MeSH Browser only covers MeSH headings now, there is no access to the Supplementary Chemical records; no subheadings as separate entries and no publication types.

Question: Is NLM thinking about doing adjacency searching in PubMed?

Answer: PubMed does not actually perform adjacency searching, but uses a list of recognized phrases against which search terms are matched. You may also enter a phrase in quotes which forces PubMed to check a second dictionary to identify the phrase. We recommend that you take a moment to look through the new Online Help that was recently updated in May 1998. The Help will explain phrase searching and the translation tables that are used each time you enter an unqualified query in PubMed. We will forward your suggestion for true adjacency to the PubMed Development Team.

Question: Is NLM considering adding the ability to apply search limits to the related articles feature in PubMed?

Answer: The Related Articles feature in PubMed involves pre-computation so when you click on the See Related button the system can quickly retrieve the set of similar citations. Therefore, adding additional limits and sorting are features that are not available. NLM understands that searchers would like to sort retrieval, eliminate older citations, or limit to English language only.

Comment: For some consumers it might be useful for them to be able to eliminate the research articles, just the opposite of what was mentioned earlier regarding consumer health titles and health professionals.

Comment: At our institution there are undergraduates and other consumers who are unaffiliated with the university who come in and might want to use the consumer health file the way it is.

Question: If all citations are integrated, is it technically possible to highlight one type of citation versus another type so that the user could easily determine which is consumer health?

Answer: My personal feeling is that there is a lot of useful information in the clinical journals that can be understood by consumers. I don't believe that one can just look at a title and say this journal title is only for consumers and this one isn't.

Question: I noticed for a while that when I searched Internet Grateful Med the See Related feature for PubMed was there. Then, the other day when I searched it was not there. What happened?

Answer: It actually was there for about four hours one morning. NLM brought up version 2.5 of Internet Grateful Med (IGM), which is the version of IGM that runs against the PubMed system. Unfortunately, there were a few technical difficulties because of the unique way IGM searchers use the system. When the system load on this IGM version increased to about 400 simultaneous users after 4 hours the system had to be brought down because response time was unsatisfactory. NLM is working to eliminate the problems and later this summer hopes to make the new IGM version available and you will see the See Related feature again.

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