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National Library of Medicine Technical BulletinNational Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin

Table of Contents: 2013 SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER No. 394

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PubMed Relevance Sort

Canese K. PubMed Relevance Sort. NLM Tech Bull. 2013 Sep-Oct;(394):e2.

2013 September 17 [posted]
2013 October 22 [Editor's note added]

[Editor's note: This change was implemented in PubMed on October 22, 2013.]

PubMed will soon include a new relevance sort option. The "Relevance" sort option will be available from the "Display Settings" menu under the "Sort by" selections.

The relevance sort order for search results is based on an algorithm that analyzes each PubMed citation that includes the search terms. For each search query, "weight" is calculated for citations depending on how many search terms are found and in which fields they are found. In addition, recently-published articles are given a somewhat higher weight for sorting.

Easy access to the relevance sort will also initially be provided under a "New feature" discovery tool (see Figure 1).

Screen capture of PubMed Summary results with Sort by Relevance feature discovery tool.
Figure 1: PubMed Summary results with "Sort by Relevance" feature discovery tool.

Users may either choose "Relevance" from the "Display Settings Sort by" menu or click the "Sort by Relevance" link in the New Feature discovery tool (see Figure 2).

Screen capture of PubMed results sorted by Relevance.
Figure 2: PubMed results sorted by Relevance.

The update to the sort by selections will be combined with a new feature that retains the most recent sort by selection for subsequent search results until a different sort order is selected, or after eight hours of inactivity on the system.

Results for My NCBI users that are signed in with a modified default sort order will continue to display in the modified order until a different sort order is selected. A Relevance default sort selection in My NCBI PubMed Preferences will be added after the initial implementation of this new feature.

By Kathi Canese
National Center for Biotechnology Information

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