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Search Clinic: PubMed® Update on Automatic Term Mapping, Citation Sensor, and Advanced Search:
Questions and Answers

The following questions were posed to the trainers during or immediately after the July 17th, 2008 Search Clinic: PubMed® Update on Automatic Term Mapping, Citation Sensor, and Advanced Search. Answers are provided by NLM staff. Please note that changes are made to PubMed regularly. See the NLM Technical Bulletin for news and announcements about changes to MEDLINE/PubMed data and PubMed functions and features.

1. Will Citation Sensor work on e-pubs [electronic publications]?
The Citation Sensor retrieves records in any status, including those as supplied by publisher and marked [Epub ahead of print].  Enter as much citation information as you know into the search box.

2. Is Advanced Search going to eventually do away with Single Citation and/or MeSH Database features?
There is currently no plan to remove any search functionality from PubMed.  However, feature locations may change.  We would like to make functions easier to find for new users.  We would appreciate your suggestions.  Use the Write to the Help Desk link, at the bottom of every PubMed page.

3. In the beginning you discussed "all fields." Does "all fields" include author, subject, journal title, etc?
An [All Fields] search includes all searchable fields in PubMed  (e.g., Author, Title, Journal Title, Affiliation, MeSH Terms, Grant Number, etc.), with the exception of Transliterated Title and Place of Publication.  For a list of searchable fields, see PubMed Help.  You can browse the All Fields index by clicking on Preview/Index and using the Index feature at the bottom of the page, or by selecting All Fields in the Search by Author, Journal… section of the beta Advanced Search page and clicking on the Browse Index icon.

4. [H]ow do you get a small enough result on a topic search to help a clinician?
Some quick tips for narrowing a PubMed search for clinically relevant literature include: a.) try using Clinical Queries (linked from the PubMed home page sidebar), which are designed to restrict your search to clinically-relevant literature, b.) search using the MeSH Major Topic [majr], c.) limit your search to recent review articles using date and Type of Article options on the Advanced Search page.   Use the most specific terms possible to describe your topic.

5. Can you get to the [MeSH] trees from the Advanced Search page?
The Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) hierarchy (or Tree structure) is available only through the MeSH Database (linked from the database selection menu to the left of the search box) or the MeSH Browser (see the MeSH Home page).

6. Why is only the index available to search for MeSH in advanced search beta?
Currently, you can limit your topic search to MeSH by a.) typing a MeSH search tag (e.g., [MeSH] or [MAJR]) after your search terms when entered in the PubMed search query box, or b.) selecting a MeSH index from the Index function on the Preview/Index page, Tagged Terms on the Limits page, or selecting from the Search by... or Index of Fields options on the beta Advanced Search page.

7. … after you expand the [H]istory list [by clicking on More History in the beta Advanced Search], is there a way to 'collapse' it again to only show the last 5?
While you can collapse the History completely, there is no function to collapse History down to the last 5 once expanded in the current beta version.  We'll add a collapse function to our list of suggestions for improvement.  In the mean time, go to another page in PubMed, then click back on Advanced Search and your History will display in the default format, showing your last five searches.

8. [On the Advanced Search page], are you going to make it easy to combine searches using check boxes like in the limit area? I find this most frustrating for patrons.
Click on the search number in History, then select which Boolean operator (AND, OR or NOT) you'd like to use to combine searches, or combine directly using the search numbers in the search box (e.g., #1 AND #3) .  

Please send suggestions for improvement to our Help Desk using the Write to the Help Desk link, at the bottom of every PubMed page.  Please describe your ideas in as much detail as possible.