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

MLA 2008:
NLM® Online Users' Meeting: Questions and Answers

NLM Online Users' Meeting: Remarks

dotNLM 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 the questions and answers from the Online Users' Meeting at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Chicago, IL on May 19, 2008. The answers may have been modified to provide more complete information.]


I love the e-mail notification feature in DOCLINE® and would like to know if you're planning to add it to Loansome Doc as well?


Yes, we have considered adding the e-mail notification for new Loansome Doc requests. If users would find it useful we can add it to the list.


Thank you for the work you've done on the new search engine in MedlinePlus®. I have two questions:

  1. Will the default on the new audio feature that you're planning to add to MedlinePlus be on or off? Will there be customizing available to the user for what they get when they first load that page?
  2. Are there any plans to add "Search MEDLINE®/PubMed®" back if you're looking for a journal article through PubMed from the health topics page? When that feature was removed I think that it eliminated a useful feature for most users. They don't understand that they can get a pre-formulated search in PubMed.

Answer to 1:

The default to the audio will be off. I don't think that users want the page to immediately start reading to them. Our challenge is to make sure that we have that feature on the page somewhere that is obvious enough to the people who want to use it, so they can easily turn it on or off.


You were talking about a customizable feature, My MedlinePlus. If someone always wanted to have a certain feature turned on they could say, for example, yes, every time I load this page I would like that turned on?

Answer to Comment:

That's an interesting suggestion. I will take it back to our programming team to see if that is possible.

Answer to 2:

With our redesign right now we are going through some pretty extensive usability testing. We will likely include a question about finding research articles or conversely asking them about using PubMed. We believe that most of our MedlinePlus users don't know what PubMed is and that's why we renamed the feature to "Research Articles." We wanted to indicate that this is high level information. I know that there are some people out there who definitely think that taking away the PubMed term was a mistake. I think that we're going to have to look to our users and find out what really works best for them. Thank you for the comment.


I use the Related Articles feature in PubMed as a sort of double check for searching. Are you maintaining that feature?


The related articles feature works the same way as it has for many years. It uses a word-weighted algorithm which is described in technical terms in PubMed's [link removed] Help. The relationships are recalculated daily. We have recently introduced Related Reviews, links from the set of Related Articles to review articles (see the article: Related Reviews Coming to AbstractPlus in PubMed® ).


I do systematic review searching so I have to be really comprehensive. One of the things I don't think people realize is that when you search with limits you're often limiting out all that brand new 2008 stuff, that in process material. Have you thought about putting a note or disclaimer to warn users that they may be missing out on some citations?


If you limit a search with one or more MeSH terms, e.g., Humans, Clinical Trial, Infant, you are excluding in process records and other non-MEDLINE records in PubMed that do not have MeSH vocabulary terms. Note: There are some MeSH vocabulary terms (Publication Types for research support) that are added to records at the in process stage. There are also limits that do not exclude non-MEDLINE records, e.g., full text, free full text, dates, languages, and most of the subsets. Although currently we do not, in the past we have displayed a notice on the Limits screen about the effect of some limits on search results. We will consider this for the Advanced Search screen.

MLA 2008: NLM® Online Users' Meeting: Questions and Answers. NLM® Tech Bull. 2008 May-Jun;(362):e17b.