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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin 1999 May-Jun; 308

In This Issue:

Technical Notes - e1

Converting SDI searches to PubMed - e2

HealthSTAR Unique Journal Citations Migrate to PubMed - e3

Internet Grateful Med Update - e4

dotMLA 1999 - e5

BIOETHICSLINE Regenerated and New Bioethics Thesaurus Published - e6

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NLM Online Users' Meetings - MLA 1999

dotMEDLARS Questions and Answers
DOCLINE Users' Meeting - Remarks
DOCLINE Questions and Answers

MEDLARS Questions and Answers

Question: When will the nursing and dental subsets be available as limits in PubMed?

Answer: It is expected that the nursing, dental and Abridged Index Medicus (AIM) subsets will be available this summer.

Question: After September 30, (when ELHILL public access stops) will there still be the ability to search in Internet Grateful Med (IGM) using a forward slash followed by ELHILL syntax?

Answer: Yes. The back-end system that the IGM interface is running against will still be ELHILL. You may use the forward slash followed by ELHILL syntax in IGM for databases other than MEDLINE. MEDLINE on IGM runs against PubMed, however, and therefore requires PubMed syntax after a forward slash.

Question: Does that mean that the ELHILL command language system is going to be up at that time?

Answer: NLM will still depend on ELHILL and the mainframe for a little while longer for data creation (creating the indexed record), maintenance, and for production of Index Medicus. These processes will continue behind the scenes using ELHILL, until NLM completely transitions (in about a year) to new systems for data creation and maintenance and publishing.

The plan is to move the data from the databases that currently reside on ELHILL to other places: PubMed, LocatorPlus, TOXNET on the Web, etc. IGM will remain online while the information and citations from ELHILL are made accessible elsewhere. As the new NLM Gateway system is brought online, IGM will stay up with it in parallel for a time. Ultimately, the Gateway will replace IGM.
[Editor's Note: For more information see the article, Next Generation Gateway, in the March-April 1999 issue of the NLM Technical Bulletin.]

Question: How much of the information from the 1957-1959 indexes will be added to OLDMEDLINE?

Answer: As you go back in the printed Cumulated Index Medicus (CIM), you may have noticed that the citations change format and do not have a consistent look. The data are not presented in the same way back through the years in the printed indexes. That is one of the major reasons that NLM decided not to merge the OLDMEDLINE records into the MEDLINE database, but to put them in a separate file instead. We will try to create as many OLDMEDLINE fields as possible from the citations in the 1957-1959 indexes, regardless of what the citations might look like in their original form.

Question: How do you save a search strategy in PubMed?

Answer: You can save a search strategy in PubMed by running your search from either the Basic or Boolean search screens then bookmarking the search results page ( IGM recently introduced the capability to save a search strategy by constructing an IGM URL [This link was removed because it is no longer valid.]. It works somewhat differently from PubMed; you have to construct the URL yourself. The link to the instructions is available from the IGM homepage.

Question: Will you be able to save search strategies in the new version of PubMed to be released this summer?

Answer: Absolutely. In future versions of PubMed, you will be able to store and save URLs, bookmark them, and link to them from other Web sites.

Question: Is there a plan to take back CANCERLIT and make it available from NLM?

Answer: No, the decision to remove CANCERLIT from the NLM family of databases was made at the request of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI wanted to put the database up on its own Web page. There are, of course, links to the NCI Web site, but there are no plans to add the data back to NLM.

Question: When using LocatorPlus, would it be possible to allow us to link directly to particular types of searches rather than always defaulting to the Keyword Anywhere search screen?

Answer: No, it is not possible to link directly to a specific search screen. LocatorPlus, like Internet Grateful Med, creates a "state engine" for the duration of your session so that it can remember what you've done. In order to activate this state engine you must connect to LocatorPlus via its home page and not via a bookmark or specific URL to another page within LocatorPlus. NLM assigned Keyword Anywhere as the search screen default to suit the wide range of users of the system. Once you connect you may immediately choose another search method (with one or a few easy clicks) which then becomes your default for that entire session or until you change it again because LocatorPlus remembers your last selection. The state engine memory disappears when you disconnect which is why you must reset your preferred default for every session. The state engine is also why you must use the LocatorPlus buttons to navigate within LocatorPlus rather than your Web browser's buttons.

Question: Is NLM talking with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) about getting the Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) database back into NLM's toxicology databases available on the Web?

Answer: NLM would love to do that. NLM's Specialized Information Services has been in discussions with NIOSH on this subject. It was a NIOSH decision to request the removal of the data from the NLM files.

Question: Do you have any plans to increase the monographic literature in HealthSTAR?

Answer: HealthSTAR is undergoing fundamental changes as a result of system reinvention. CATLINE records that originally resided in HealthSTAR were removed from the database in February 1999. Processes for migrating HealthSTAR unique records for technical and government reports and books and book chapters to LocatorPlus are now under development. Be advised that all records for monographic literature will reside in LocatorPlus in the future. For more details see the article, HealthSTAR Unique Journal Citations Migrate to PubMed, in this issue.

At any time, we certainly welcome your ideas for monographs that you would like to have included. Please remember that monograph records will be found in LocatorPlus not HealthSTAR. Please send e-mail to with your suggestions.

Question: Will there be a PubMed Display button at the bottom as well as at the top of the screen?

Answer: Yes, in the new version of PubMed, there will be Display buttons at both the top and bottom of the screens.

Question: Are you going to speed up MEDLINEplus? It's become slower. Others in the audience agreed that it has become slower.

Answer: NLM constantly strives to improve the responsiveness and speed of our systems. We are in the process of upgrading the hardware associated with MEDLINEplus and that should help response time. We have also recently made timing changes to the "leaving MEDLINEplus" page which should shorten users' time there. If you have specific comments on the system, the best place to express them is from the "feedback" link at the bottom of each MEDLINEplus page.

Question: Will files like HealthSTAR and AIDSLINE cease to exist?

Answer: Files such as HealthSTAR and AIDSLINE will cease to exist as separate files. The data in those files will be moved to other places, such as PubMed, LocatorPlus, etc. So the information will still be available to you, just from different places. Note: HealthSTAR unique journal citations have already been moved to PubMed. See the article, HealthSTAR Unique Journal Citations Migrate to PubMed, in this issue for more details.

Question: The MEDLINEplus screen that says you are now leaving NLM - is that a policy matter?

Answer: Yes. This notification lets people know that NLM is not providing the data on the next screen they will be viewing. It is expected that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

Question: Is NLM planning to reevaluate the existing subset of journals that are in the AIM subset?

Answer: The AIM (Abridged Index Medicus) subset was constructed in the 1970s. Therefore, many recent quality clinical journals which could be useful are not included. It is unlikely that we will change the composition of the AIM titles, because there is something useful about keeping the consistency of the same titles and not switching titles in and out. There are going to be ways to create your own subsets; so if you are not happy with the current AIM subset, you will be able to create your own list.

Question: Is there any place to create an easy e-mail output option in PubMed?

Answer: While the capability to e-mail search results directly from PubMed to your users will not be a feature in the new version, it is on the wish list. However, other enhancements have a higher priority at this time.

Question: Can we see the wish list?

Answer: The wish list is an internal list. You can check New/Noteworthy on the PubMed Home Page, which will tell you about LinkOut, the Cubby system, and the PubRef system. NLM will continue to put information about upcoming features up as early as possible in the development process. Also, if you're curious about a feature that you would like to see added to PubMed, contact NLM at or e-mail us from the PubMed Home Page or call us at 888-FINDNLM and we will be able to tell you if we're going to include it.

Question: I would like to see the MeSH Browser and the Citation Matcher across the top of the PubMed screen. I don't want to scroll down.

Answer: The new version of PubMed will include a tool bar at the top of each screen and a side bar menu that has been considerably condensed so that you can see all of the information on a relatively small screen.

Question: Is there is a consumer health subset for PubMed?

Answer: Not currently. It is something we have talked about at NLM and we've decided that it's difficult to define what constitutes a consumer subset and have decided to leave it to the searcher to develop that filter.

Question: Will the LinkOut system include links to large consortiums?

Answer: LinkOut can include links to anyone who sends NLM the data we need to link to them. Because this may produce a potentially long list of LinkOut sources, you will be able to select and store the links you want to display using the new Cubby feature.

Question: What innovation does NLM recommend as an alternative to the auto SDI feature?

Answer: The Cubby feature, which will be available soon after the new version of PubMed is released, will initially provide the capability to save stored searches and store LinkOut preferences.

Once you store your searches, PubMed will display a button next to each stored search that will allow you to run the search covering only the time period since the search was last run. We will keep track of each time you run the search strategy whether it's weekly, every month, or every two months. The Cubby service will replace the SDI service, although you must click on the button to run the search; it will not be done automatically.

Also, IGM now has the capability to store a URL and you may run that strategy against the ELHILL SDILINE file that is still available in IGM. However, the strategies are not run automatically. You need to follow the directions shown on the IGM Home Page to [This link was removed because it is no longer valid.] and run it yourself.

Question: Could you say something on the lifespan of IGM? You made reference earlier that made it sound like it was dying.

Answer: As noted before, IGM will remain up in parallel with the new Gateway for a time while the Gateway is brought online. Ultimately, the Gateway with many new functions including searching across multiple repositories will replace IGM.

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Last updated: 13 April 2012