|August 1, 2003 [posted]|
|NLM Online Users' Meeting 2003: Remarks|
[Editor's note: These are remarks made by Sheldon Kotzin, Chief, Bibliographic Services Division, National Library of Medicine, at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in San Diego, California, on May 5, 2003.]
On March 7, MEDLINE attained a milestone when NLM added its 12 millionth journal citation. This Fiscal Year we expect to add more than 550,000 new citations. This will be 100,000 more citations than we added just three years ago!
Since the last MLA Annual Meeting, 172 new journals have been added to MEDLINE, bringing the total to just about 4,600 titles. In April, nearly seventy percent of all new bibliographic citations and abstracts were received directly from more than 430 different publishers, greatly speeding up their availability in PubMed. Also to speed up access, we are indexing a total of 83 journals from their online versions. Among these 83 titles, 35 exist only in online format, and 48 exist in print format and online. The list of online-only journals includes numerous BioMed Central titles and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The list of print journals indexed online includes Annals of Internal Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Science. All online journals provide NLM with XML citation and abstract data. Once a print journal starts publishing online-only content, NLM switches its indexing from the print version to the online version.
Approximately fifty nine percent of the links are for human, twenty seven percent for mouse, ten percent for rat, and three percent for fruit fly. Approximately one percent of the links are for HIV-1, Cow, Zebrafish and C elegans combined. More than 600 links per week are now being created. As of the end of March, indexing staff have performed gene indexing for a total of 34,012 items, since the inception of this project during the summer of 2001.
MTI is reliable enough to be used without human intervention for the indexing of meeting abstracts that appear in the NLM Gateway. For MEDLINE indexing, it is still used only as a tool to assist human indexers and in that capacity it performs quite well.
In response to the emerging epidemic, two new terms have been added to MeSH mid-year, a rarity for NLM. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome was created on March 25. The acronym "SARS" was not made a cross-reference for this term, because SARS has almost a dozen other established meanings, such as acronyms for structure-activity relationship and scaffold attachment regions (genetics). Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is treed under Respiratory Tract Infections and Coronavirus Infections. The other new heading is for the organism that causes the illness, the SARS Virus. Also, just four days ago, we added a temporary feature to the PubMed Home Page that facilitates retrieval of SARS citations.
We replaced the Journal Brower with a Journals database which, in addition to the search results, is able to offer suggestions that we think are quite helpful when looking for a PubMed journal. It also has direct links to the LocatorPlus record. In addition, the MeSH Browser is now the MeSH database. It provides more information about each MeSH term and has additional capabilities including providing suggestions to help you locate MeSH terms.
We were also happy to announce that many more British spellings of words in MeSH terms are now recognized. Another enhancement affects Publication Types. As you may know, many Publication Types have MeSH equivalents. For example, Clinical Trial is a Publication Type and the plural form, clinical trials, is a MeSH term. If a searcher uses either the MeSH term or the Publication Type, PubMed now automatically includes both terms to optimize retrieval. And finally, and maybe most eagerly awaited, you can now email PubMed search results.
In June we will celebrate the sixth anniversary of PubMed. We feel we have made -- with your comments and suggestions -- significant progress in improving it. More than 200,000 individual users search it, with well over one million searches each day. This comes to 35 million searches of PubMed each month and over 400 million projected this year. About 50% of this use is outside the United States.
The LinkOut for Libraries program continues to be a great success, with 645 libraries participating. I hope that you know that any SERHOLD library now can display icons for its print collection. A new tutorial, Setting Up LinkOut for Libraries, is a step-by-step guide on how to set up LinkOut at your library. Topics include getting an account, entering library information, entering electronic holdings, adding SERHOLD print holdings, and displaying the library icons in a PubMed search. Efforts are ongoing to expand the capability to display print holdings information for non-SERHOLD libraries.
Future Plans for PubMed
The date a citation was published electronically ahead of the printed publication will be retained with the citation in PubMed. As you may be aware, it has become quite commonplace for journals to publish electronic versions of articles several weeks ahead of print. This feature will help users find the earliest reporting of new research findings. Also added to the Summary format are more of the Comment links, including those for retractions, errata, and patient summaries -- the latter was just introduced in MEDLINE last year.
Other PubMed enhancements will be made to the History feature and to the Cubby and we are in the early stages of examining the feasibility of adding OLDMEDLINE data to PubMed.
Some things that you have asked for are in our planned enhancements, so we appreciate your continued suggestions.
NCI staff, working with NLM, has developed a new search strategy to define a cancer subset within PubMed. This is comparable to existing NLM subsets on bioethics, complementary medicine, and other topics. On its own Web site, NCI will maintain an extensive set of specialized cancer topic search strategies returning relevant sets of PubMed citations. In a future development, NCI will make the neoplasm terminology in its thesaurus available to NLM. NCI will also provide access to abstracts of the major cancer research meetings, as NLM has no plans to add these abstracts to PubMed or the Gateway, but we will be observing how convenient this access is on the associations' Web sites.
PubMed Central (PMC)
In an exciting development, arrangements have been made with publishers of approximately 70 PMC journals to digitize their back runs, in some cases into the 19th century. The Journal of the Medical Library Association was one of the first publications to come forward to offer its older issues (back to volume one) for digitization. The first phase, when complete, will add about a half-million articles to PMC.
We have begun preliminary planning for videostreaming a PubMed training class in October. We are excited about testing and evaluating this technology. And we thank Claire Hamasu (Midcontinental Region), Elaine Graham (Pacific Southwest Region), and Carlene Drake (Loma Linda University) for working with us on this project.
Also, near the end of the calendar year, we will have regional offerings of the 3-day class, "Introduction to Molecular Biology Resources." This course has been taught at NLM several times. Stay tuned for an announcement in the NLM Technical Bulletin and for registration via the National Training Center and Clearinghouse.
Unified Medical Language System (UMLS)
You could say that the UMLS is moving out of the exclusive domain of the research community, into more of a product that can support a number of operational objectives, including those mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
One UMLS-related item that you will hear more about in the NLM Update is NLM's discussion with the College of American Pathologists about the clinical vocabulary, SNOMED. Betsy Humphreys will tell you about SNOMED, and will join Dr. Lindberg, and Dr. Jack Snyder, our new Associate Director of Specialized Information Services, as the speakers at the update. [Editor's Note: SNOMED Clinical Terms® To Be Made Available in the UMLS®. For more information see: Technical Notes. NLM Tech Bull. 2003 Jul-Aug;(333):e1.]
In the past, MEDLINE was leased primarily by database vendors for commercial purposes. Today, the overwhelming majority of licensees are academic institutions, biotechnology companies, and pharmaceutical firms with high-speed computers who lease the data for research purposes. MEDLINE is a rich source for data mining and other research applications and NLM is pleased to provide MEDLINE at no cost to interested parties.
Now I would like to turn the floor over to my good friend Joyce Backus, who along with her talented co-workers at NLM and in the Network, has made MedlinePlus an indispensable tool for medical librarians. Then Maria Collins will give you an update on what is new with DOCLINE.
By Sheldon Kotzin
NLM Online Users' Meeting 2003: Remarks. NLM Tech Bull. 2003 Jul-Aug;(333):e7a.