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2008 MAY–JUNE No. 362
June 26, 2008 [posted]

MLA 2008: NLM® Online Users' Meeting: Remarks

dotNLM Online Users' Meeting: Remarks

NLM Online Users' Meeting: Questions and Answers

NLM Online Users' Meeting: PowerPoint Presentations for Remarks, MedlinePlus, DOCLINE

NLM Theater PowerPoint Presentations, Voice Recordings, and Transcripts

NLM Update PowerPoint Presentations

[Editor's note: These are remarks made by David Gillikin, Chief, Bibliographic Services Division, National Library of Medicine at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Chicago, IL on May 19, 2008. The accompanying PowerPoint® presentation is available.]

graphical image of the letter G


ood morning and welcome to the NLM Online Users' Meeting. I'm David Gillikin, Chief of the Bibliographic Services Division. This morning I will be talking about updates and new features to various NLM products and services, as well as reviewing the results of the evaluation sheets that we received from last year's Online Users' meeting. Paula Kintendaugh, the new Head of Reference and Web Services will talk about MedlinePlus®, and Maria Collins, from Collection Access Section, will speak about DOCLINE®. We will take questions at the end, and I'd like to remind you that the presentations will be posted in the NLM Technical Bulletin.

NLM Online Update 2008

At last year's Online Users' Meeting, we provided evaluation forms for attendees to offer feedback about the meeting and information covered. We received sixty-one responses, and the results were:

  1. How useful was the information covered during this session?

    Scale 1 (not useful) – 5 (extremely useful)
    1 2 3 4 5 No Answer
    0 0 7% 70% 21% 2%
  2. Was enough time spent on each topic?

    Scale 1 (too little) – 5 (too much)
    1 2 3 4 5 No Answer
    2% 2% 59% 34% 3% 0
  3. What part was the most useful?
    Varied across the responses, lead by information about PubMed®/MEDLINE® (21%) and MedlinePlus (20%).

  4. What part was the least useful?
    Across the board in response, but the majority of users (39%) did not respond to this question. There was no consistent agreement.

  5. Suggestions for improvements/additions.
    45% did not respond.
    Most frequent suggestions were:
    • Schedule session at a different time (5).
      The time period is provided by the meeting organizers.
    • Request for live demos and new feature details (3).
      The NLM Theater presentations provide detailed coverage of new features and demonstrations.
    • Coffee (3).
      It's actually against standard regulations to allow us to provide this. And, quite honestly, the paperwork alone might keep us from being here.

The Index Section continues its work to set a new indexing rate again this past year. Fiscal Year 2007 saw 670,943 citations indexed, the highest indexing total achieved so far. Also, 51,823 gene indexing links were created, a 10% increase from last year. So far in FY2008, the indexing pace is estimated to reach approximately 700,000 articles. And in FY2008, over 88% of the MEDLINE citations are supplied electronically by publishers.

In the past year, the Index Section has been working to convert a large number of journals from being indexed from the print version to the online version of the journal. This time last year, approximately 400 journals were indexed from an online version. Currently over 1,000 journals are indexed from the online version, and this conversion process continues. Also, as new journals are added to MEDLINE for indexing, 38% of these new citations are coming from online versions.

This year has also seen the addition of several new types of data included in the indexing process. The Index Section has traditionally included NIH grant numbers in the indexing process. In the past year, we have also added grant number data from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Wellcome Trust, and seven other funding groups participating in the PMC-UKMSS (PMC UK Manuscript Submission System).

For articles with group author names, the individual members of the group are now being added to the MEDLINE citation with the designation of collaborator or investigator. These names can be searched specifically using the [IR] tag. A general name search now searches both the author [AU] and investigator [IR] fields.

In December 2007, 55,557 citations were added to MEDLINE/PubMed from the 1949 Current List of Medical Literature. We are working on mapping the keywords in these records to current MeSH® headings.

The content in PubMed has now surpassed 17.8 million records and is comprised of:

Several enhancements were made to PubMed and some are just now being introduced. In addition to the Investigator name and new grant number data mentioned earlier, diacritics now display in author names and affiliations on the AbstractPlus, Abstract, Citation, and Summary displays. There has been an expansion of the Pharmacological Action Terms and links to Patient Drug Information are now provided on the AbstractPlus display. Details on these items can be found in their corresponding articles in the March-April 2008 NLM Technical Bulletin.

An additional service added this year is PubMed Alerts, an e-mail notification of major system problems for PubMed, Journals database, Entrez MeSH database and the NLM Catalog. This is a broadcast listserv to which users can subscribe. Information for signing up for this service can be found in the article PubMed® Alerts: E-mail Notification of Major System Problems and in the MEDLINE/PubMed Resources guide.

We also have two new PubMed Search features being rolled out. The first feature tries to identify if a submitted search is looking for a specific author or journal citation. The search query is analyzed and two separate search results are presented (see Figure 1). PubMed will display a smaller set of citations first, indicating that it matched a certain number of citations to the specific author or journal citation searched. The standard search results follow and have been modified to expand the search translation to search all fields. This two-part feature is anticipated to roll into production for all users by the end of May. [Editor's Note: This feature was implemented in PubMed on May 27, 2008.]

The other big PubMed enhancement is the introduction of the Advanced Search (beta) page that just became available in the past week. The link to this Beta page is found next to the PubMed Search box (see Figure 2). This page provides the ability to search specific fields, to do date searching, limit searches, and other features. The features are divided into four groups. Because it is a Beta page, we will be making changes and adjustments as the testing goes on. Please give it a try and let us know what you like about it or what could use improvement.

PubMed Central®
There are now 457 journals fully participating in PubMed Central (PMC), nearly an 84% increase from last year. There are also over 1.6 million articles in PMC.

We are continuing with our PMC Scanning project. The back issues of fifty-one journals are now available on the site, adding over 97,000 total articles to PMC. From the conversion projects, 43,803 new abstracts have been added to existing PubMed citations.

In addition to adding PMC backfile citations to PubMed, we have also completed the first test project to take in third party back issues citations from publishers. The journal Science was the first test case, and this added citation data to PubMed from Science covering the period of 1880 to 2000. There were 93,744 new citations added in this project, and 8,705 new abstracts were added to already existing citations for Science.

LinkOut continues to grow, as seen in these statistics:

NLM Gateway
The NLM Gateway was redesigned this year. The initial interface is a simple search box. The results page shows the results for the databases included within the NLM Gateway search. There are tools and options for refining your search.

In the past year, over 1,000 users have taken our training courses throughout the country, covering PubMed, NLM Gateway,, TOXNET®, and the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS®).

A new training feature is our Web casts:

These are accessible from the Distance Education Program Resources page.

In the NLM Theater this year, we have presentations on twelve different NLM products and services. These presentations will be recorded and posted in the NLM Technical Bulletin, along with the PowerPoint slides. [Editor's Note: The NLM Theater presentations are now available from the Distance Education page.]

NLM Technical Bulletin
The usage of the NLM Technical Bulletin (TB) is averaging 542 visits/day, and nearly 1,160 page views/day. This year the Table of Contents was redesigned, eliminating the Technical Notes feature and allowing for easier linking and indexing. Later this summer, the TB will have a new search engine in operation. And please remember that you can sign up for weekly NLM e-mails or for an RSS feed announcing new articles.

Technical Services Division
From the NLM Technical Services Division, the 2008 edition of the NLM Classification was made available on April 24, 2008. The online version is located at and the PDF version is found at

Major areas of updates and changes involved the schedules for Public Health (WA) and for the Practice of Medicine (WB). Updates to the Geographic Notations (Table G) were also made. For additional information on updates and changes see NLM Classification 2008 Edition Now Available from the March-April 2008 issue of the NLM Technical Bulletin.

Data Distribution
The NLM data distribution program continues to grow, with research areas in academics, biotechnology, and software development companies leading the way. There were over 472 licensees in FY2007:

Unified Medical Language System (UMLS)
In 2007, there were three UMLS releases:

There are two releases planned for 2008:

In licensing the UMLS data, we had 3,049 licensees in FY2007.

Other activities included the January 2008 SNOMED CT release, which was made available on February 4, 2008. The 6.0 version of the UMLS Knowledge Source Server is now available for use with the 2006 and forward releases of the UMLS data. The first UMLS Users' meeting was held at the fall American Medical Informatics Association meeting in November 2007. Over fifty users attended.

DailyMed provides high quality information about marketed drugs, including FDA approved labels (package inserts). The content on the site has grown this year to over 3,800 approved prescription drugs. Once a drug label is released by the FDA, it is included in DailyMed within two hours. The site also has over 65,000 RSS subscribers.

Specialized Information Services (SIS)
Updates to SIS products and services include:
In the past year, introduced a site redesign with a new user interface. New features provide users with different options to display results lists and study information based on their needs. In addition, search terms and synonyms are now highlighted in study records. Further information is availabe in the article, New Look for

The List of Serials Indexed for Online Users 2008 (LSIOU) and List of Journals Indexed for MEDLINE 2008 (LJI) are now available. The LSIOU is available in PDF and XML formats, while the LJI is available in PDF and print formats (see the NLM Technical Bulletin article for more information and to download). In 2009, the PDF and print versions will be discontinued for LJI. The data is expected to be available through the Journals Database and other NLM resources.

NIH Public Access Policy
The NIH Public Access Policy has been a central topic at NLM in the past year. The policy became mandatory for grantees on April 7, 2008. Details about the policy, and how grantees can be compliant, are found at This site is the best source for the most current information about the Public Access policy, and includes links to useful information on other NIH sites such as PubMed Central and the NIH Manuscript Submission System.

Thank you for your attention. We are always eager to hear your feedback.

MLA 2008: NLM® Online Users' Meeting: Remarks. NLM Tech Bull. 2008 May-Jun;(362):e17a.