Posts Tagged ‘searching’


Clinical queries & custom filters in PubMed

In Evidence-Based Medicine,How to work better,Web 2.0 & all that,Website reviews on July 7, 2010 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , , , ,

PubMed has a new clinical queries page, apparently. To be honest I used the old one so infrequently that it could have changed six months ago and I never would have noticed. I tend to use PubMed for quick and not so dirty searches of the literature but if I’m doing a “real search” I use Ovid because of its slight value-add functionality plus it has our company’s access to Embase. Perhaps because of this access to Ovid I’ve never really paid all that much attention to the development of PubMed which, particularly over the last six months or so, seems to be whizzing ahead.

Anyway, the clinical queries page is quite fun. You put in your term and get results for “clinical study categories”, “systematic reviews” (not really so much “systematic reviews”, more “aggregate research” or “tertiary research” or similar), and “medical genetics”; you can then click “see all” for, well, seeing all, and there are drop down menus for whether you want therapy or etiology etc, and broad or narrow filters. It’s easiest just to play with it. I like the fact that at the bottom of each list if you click the word “filter” it will show you the actual search string being used to filter your results (for therapy or etiology, broad or narrow etc) and the sensitivity/specificity scores of  said filters (precision would be helpful too) along with the reference to the original paper in which the filters were based. All nice and transparent, and helpful if you wish to translate e.g. the prognosis filter to use in another database.

Of course though many of us want to add our own favourite filters. I always had a rough idea you could do this but had never bothered to really look into it, but it’s an absolute breeze. Fortunately I don’t have to describe how to add your own filters as Laika has already done such a good job of it (with screenshots and everything), and you can now add up to 15 of your own favourite search strings. Not sure what to add? Your friends at CRD/InterTASC will help you out. Once you get started you’ll  be having such a whale of a time that you’ll be looking for excuses to do quick and, as mentioned before, not so very dirty searches in PubMed for all and sundry – dragging people in from the corridor – that sort of stuff. I’m sure you’ve been doing this for years, but it’s all new to me.

I’m really beginning to like PubMed. A big thank you to the US taxpayer.


New interfaces

In Evidence-Based Medicine,Information industry on April 15, 2010 by Hanna Tagged: , ,

 Jumps out from Cochrane Collaboration page now. Seems to be that you can’t log-in unless you go and try retrieving your results hmm.

OvidSP has been urging me to try their new interface.

It has a liking for small boxes. And looks quite smart with your saved searches in My Workspace which is now more prominent:

Anyone tried it for an actual search? Only other thing I noticed was it has a multi-field search but it may have had this in an earlier version…what else would people improve? I’m generally quite a big fan of Ovid and find it very user friendly. Worst database I have to use is HEED eek


Real time searching

In Information industry,Uncategorized on December 14, 2009 by Hanna Tagged: , ,

Google now includes real time searching and I recently came across a Phil Bradley presentation that include this as well. Could this be useful for health information? I find Twitter search useful to keep up to date in my field and as I’m working for an organisation who are affected by political fluctuations then Tweetminster may be useful too.  Searchengineland looked at where the results are coming from and there is ambiguity as to whether there are fees involved in appearing in a search but this is in fact aggregated search and not real time search and Google has developed  social search for Twitter Google Experimental Labs  whereby when you search for things you can see who in your social circle has written about it, sort of like a search within your followers or facebook friends. I can definitely see real time search being useful when tracking drugs in development or seeing what patients think of a treatment. It’s just the next stage of the semantic web…


Pubmed’s new look

In Information industry on October 1, 2009 by Hanna Tagged: , ,

A colleague passed on the link to a preview of Pubmed’s new interface. It was reported in NLM’s technical bulletin which I always mean to read and never do…They have gone for a streamlined look (more Googlisation?) and a warm and cuddly picture of a book opening. SLA Europe are having a talk on the Google-isation of research featuring information bods and vendors on 7th October which I can’t make but which promises to be interesting in terms of the trend in search design.


NHS Evidence: 3 months on

In Evidence-Based Librarianship on July 22, 2009 by Hanna Tagged: , , ,

Went to update workshop held by London Links (no not the bespoke jewellers ahem) and had update on NHS Evidence:

  • See librarians as advocates of the service
  • NHS Evidence is still at an early stage so it is about managing expectations and it will take time for people to use and trust it
  • Aim is to be akin to NHS Search, a single source of information for the NHS
  • Working on integration into 3rd party systems such as hand held devices
  • Highlighted new areas: drugs and horizon scanning, commissioning, public health and e-learning modules
  • More resources that feed into the FAST search (front page) are being ‘ingested’
  • First determinations of accreditation scheme will be published soon
  • Eyes on Evidence bulletin you may have noticed uses the Specialist Collections to promote new evidence
  • They are reviewing many areas of the service including journal provision and the Specialist Collections
  • User testing is continuing and they said they would be happy for librarians to volunteer for this
  • Release 2 will be in October where they hope to roll out personalisation and improved search functionality (user ranking)
  • Release 3 will possibly include the ability of third parties to upload content and/or local information, this is where the look and feel of the site may change more significantly than merely building on NLH
  • Aim is not to duplicate the work of NHS Information Centre or DoH but wants to group all relevant resources in one place. [In answer to a question about attracting commissioners]

There was an interesting report from a test between NHS Evidence, TRIP and Pubmed using a series of clinical questions which (albeit using the surrogate outcome of number of systematic reviews for quality as opposed to relevance of results) found that NHS Evidence is not doing badly. Reinhard Wentz, the ex-medical librarian who carried out the tests said us info pros could learn something from clinicians about single line searching. I’d like to see a more thorough test of this (and my colleagues are talking about testing the utility of Emtree headings so hey which is more positively riveting).

In my modest opinion: I tend to use the primary sources although that’s because of local protocol in the main. However if they could 1. make it more explicit what resources they are ‘ingesting’ (their words) and 2. refine the results to take into account of both currency and relevancy then it may be useful. Look forward to seeing how it is promoted (they are planning to liaise with medical schools to get it on curricula amongst I assume other things).


“Searching for information on the inter …

In Information industry on April 30, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , ,

“Searching for information on the internet costs the UK economy the equivalent of about £6.2bn in time, according to a study by enterprise search specialist Simplexo.” This from a recent article in the Information World Review. The study blamed complex information and ineffective search functionality for the massive time costs.

They suggest that we are all searchers, and each individual cannot avoid searching for things. So instead of shouldering that burden, we need to influence information storage and search engine design.


Why isn’t SEO a core duty of LIS?

In Information industry on March 31, 2009 by Danielle Tagged: , , , ,

This will be a serious post asking the question–why aren’t information professionals committed to search engine optimisation (SEO)–why does SEO appear to be the domain of ‘big cheese’ business types?  According to its definition, SEO is concerned with improving the findability of a website or resource. Yes, I do understand that the flip side of this is foisting a product or advertisement (in website format) onto the world–but can’t we use SEO’s powers for good as well? [Note: yes, this is moralising, adverts can be ‘good’, but in my world view literacy and education trump adverts being plastered on every available surface.  Thank you, Ad blocker.]

What I find frustrating is any informaticist/ librarian-led discussion of search engines or websites or blogs does not really touch on the black box inside the websites that increases their findability, or perhaps works against them (and needs fixing).

Because when I see interesting and informative postings like the one on the econsultancy blog, I cannot help wondering why these discussions are taking place wholly outside the LIS domain. Why are the comments populated by a ‘founder’ here and a ‘director’ there, but no information folk?

The crux of this rant is that ‘they’, the directors, head honchos, etc should be coming to us for wisdom as search experts (in theory).  It appears that our search expertise is only partial at best–we are the users of search platforms and not creators.  Will this ever change?

PS. AddtoAny might be a good idea for this blog.