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October 05, 2006 [posted]

PubMed® Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

a decade later, PubMed has evolved into an essential biomedical resource used throughout the world. Expect even more exciting and innovative developments in the future!

How It All Started

PubMed was first released in January 1996 as an experimental database under the Entrez retrieval system with full access to MEDLINE®. The word "experimental" was dropped from the Web site in April 1997, and on June 26, 1997, a Capitol Hill Press conference officially announced free MEDLINE access via PubMed. PubMed searches were approximately two million for the month of June 1997 while current usage typically exceeds three million searches per day.

The Early Years

On January 26, 1998, PubMed was redesigned with many helpful upgrades including a MeSH® Browser, the Single Citation Matcher, automatic exploding of MeSH terms, Name of Substances synonym mapping, the Details button, and Loansome Doc.

The second year after PubMed's launch continued to be jam-packed with new features such as incorporating MeSH/Subheading combinations where both the MeSH term and subheading were automatically exploded and a MeSH translation table generated from MeSH and the Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®) mappings. The PubMed database was redesigned to change the way PubMed stores and retrieves information which dramatically increased the speed of the system. Internet Grateful Med started using the PubMed system to search MEDLINE and MedlinePlus® began linking to PubMed for Health Topics.

PubMed was significantly redesigned in 2000 and a Beta version was released, running in parallel with the production system, to integrate new features such as LinkOut, Limits, History, and Clipboard. PubMed began linking to PubMed Central® full-text articles and the Bookshelf's initial book, Molecular Biology of the Cell. The Entrez Programming Utilities, E-Utilities, and the Cubby were also released.

In 2001, highlights included the PubMed LinkOut for Libraries program, the addition of AIDS and HIV-related, History of Medicine, Bioethics-related, and Space Life Sciences citations, and a Complementary Medicine subset. The easy-to-remember URL was activated.

The PubMed Text Version was released in 2002 and Systematic Reviews was added to the Clinical Queries page. The PubMed database programming was completely redesigned to work directly from XML files and two new NCBI databases, Journals and MeSH (the MeSH Database replaced the MeSH Browser), were created to provide additional search capabilities for PubMed. An e-mail feature for search results was added. PubMed began incorporating the first citation links to Comments/Corrections data (comments, retractions, errata, republished articles and updated articles).

The Recent Past

PubMed significantly increased in size when 1.7 million OLDMEDLINE citations were added in 2003. In 2004 NCBI released a new Entrez database, NLM Catalog, an alternate search interface to the bibliographic records in NLM's® online catalog LocatorPlus. The Entrez programming software used by PubMed was enhanced to improve the way in which PubMed interprets users' queries.

PubMed continued to grow and the 16 millionth citation was added in 2005. Other high points included My NCBI, which replaced the Cubby, with automatic e-mailing of search updates, filters to group retrieval by areas of interest, and a highlighting search terms feature. A spell checking feature was also added to suggest alternative spellings for PubMed search terms. Search links were added to PubMed, MeSH and other Entrez databases on the Abstract and Citation display formats for author names, journal titles, and MeSH terms. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds were added to provide daily updates. An autocomplete feature was added for authors and journals in the Single Citation Matcher and a mouse over of the journal title abbreviation was added to display the full journal name. The PubMed Help documentation was enhanced and added to the NCBI bookshelf.

2006 Thus Far

A redesigned Limits page provides an improved interface and additional options to limit searches. Collections were added to My NCBI and RSS feeds for New/Noteworthy were released. AbstractPlus was released as the new default display to automatically show the first five Related Articles for each PubMed citation.

Canese K. PubMed Celebrates its 10th Anniversary! NLM Tech Bull. 2006 Sep-Oct;(352):e5.

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