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NLM Technical Bulletin

NLM Technical Bulletin 1997 Nov-Dec; 299

In This Issue:

TB on the Web

dot NCI's CancerNet Web Site

Transitioning from ELHILL to PubMed

NLM Classification, 5th Edition, Additions and Changes, List 2 [corrected 1998/03/26]

Technical Notes

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NCI's CancerNet Web Site Includes CANCERLIT® and PDQ® Information

The National Cancer Institute's (NCI) databases, CANCERLIT and PDQ are now on the Web. For more than 20 years, the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) CANCERLIT, a bibliographic database of cancer-related literature has been available on the ELHILL computer at the National Library of Medicine. For nearly 15 years, PDQ, NCI's comprehensive cancer databank that includes information on cancer treatment, screening, prevention, and supportive care, also has been available on the mainframe computer. Now much of this information is available free of charge on the NCI's CancerNet Web site at:

There is a link to this site from the NLM Web site. Under Information Sources, click on More Databases, then scroll down to Cancer Information and click on CancerNet.

In early November, CANCERLIT was added to NCI's Web site, and most of the PDQ information also is available there. Only the physician and organizational directory information is not included with the Web version of PDQ.


From the CancerNet site, you can link to the Web version of CANCERLIT by clicking on "Health Professionals" followed by "CANCERLIT". Or you can go directly to the CANCERLIT Web site at:

All of the nearly 1.4 million records from the CANCERLIT file in ELHILL are available here. Click on Search Instructions for a basic guide on how to search, display and save your retrieval. Please note that the Search Instructions for both the standard and expanded search forms have a table of contents and a detailed alphabetical index.

Standard Search Form
The Standard Search Form which first comes into view is designed for quick and basic searches. This search form permits only Boolean "and" searching (terms are separated by a space). For Boolean "and", "or", and "and not" searching, use the expanded search form under More Search Options at the bottom of the screen. Another option, "NCI-prepared searches", allows you to choose from a list of prepared searches on more than 90 topics in CANCERLIT. These searches show the date they were created and none are more than six months old.

Expanded Search Form
Before using the Expanded Search Form, you should review the Search Instructions. This Expanded Search Form offers options for limiting your search by many data fields (including MeSH terms). MeSH Word (major) is used for searching those MeSH terms that are considered to be a main point of the article (comparable to the *MeSH heading in ELHILL). MeSH Word (minor) is used for all MeSH terms whether major or minor points of the article. Main Heading - Subheading combinations must be typed in full and separated by a forward slash or space and surrounded by quote marks (e.g., "Breast neoplasms/drug therapy").

It should be noted that this version of CANCERLIT has no MeSH hierarchical EXPLODE capability. Therefore, broader MeSH terms will not retrieve the narrower terms in each hierarchical category. MeSH should be used as a supplement to your text word searches in this Web version of CANCERLIT. It is anticipated that some future CANCERLIT literature will not be MeSH-indexed as is the case with pre-1980 CANCERLIT literature.

The NCI plans to enhance both the standard and expanded search forms in 1998 with additional Boolean search capabilities, including the use of parentheses for nesting, the ability to custom tag your search terms with modifying data elements, and the ability to search based on proximity of terms within the text. Comments or questions about CANCERLIT may be sent to:


Most of the PDQ information in the current MEDLARS PDQ database is available on the NCI Web site: From there click on: "Patient", or "Health Professional", and then click on one of the choices under "PDQ and Related Information". Through this site, you can access full-text information summaries from PDQ describing the latest advances in adult and childhood cancer treatment, supportive care, screening and prevention.

Clinical Trials (Protocols)

In searching for clinical trials (protocols), most of the PDQ database menu search elements are available on the Web site, including diagnosis, phase, modality, sponsorship, trial type, drug, protocol ID, city, state and country. All open and active clinical trials are included in the Web site, but the closed trials found on the MEDLARS PDQ database are not included here. Also, the very large Directory files of physicians and organizations are only available on the MEDLARS PDQ database. For PDQ, you may send your e-mail comments and questions to the following address:

--prepared by Jim Carter
National Cancer Institute
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