PubMed Interface Reloaded

January 14, 2010 at 2:15 pm

PubMed relaunched on October 27, 2009 with a new, streamlined design.  There are extensive changes to layout, though most functionality has been retained or improved upon.  This article will walk you through some of the features and changes.

The figure above shows the new PubMed home page.  The main search box remains at the top of the page, but most of the PubMed tools and features are now located below the search box.  This includes the popular Single Citation Matcher (under PubMed Tools), the MeSH Database (under More Resources) to construct high-quality searches, and the Clinical Queries (under PubMed Tools) for doing quick searches to find the best evidence.  Some of these tools are also listed under the Resources drop-down menu on the very top blue bar, but not all are.  Several tools or their equivalents are also available in the Advanced search area.

One of the most helpful new features is the auto-suggestions when entering search terms (see above).  When typing, popular search terms that might match your needs appear.  This can help with spelling, give you search term ideas, and save some time by reducing the amount of typing necessary.

The above image displays a typical search results page.  The layout and functionality of this page has substantially changed, though many features were previewed in the old PubMed, and may thus be familiar.  The former “action bar” with the pull-down Send to, Display, Show, and Sort by menus was replaced by two pop-up menus: Display Settings and Send to.  The Send to menu combines the ability to save, email, or print citations with display settings that you can change based on your needs, such as saving a file to MEDLINE format for importing to EndNote (see also the video tutorial in this issue, Importing PubMed Citations into EndNote).  The Display Settings menu combines the former Sort by and Show menus with the Display menu, so you can use one pop-up to edit sort order, number of citations displayed, and display format.  RSS feed creation has moved from the Send to menu to the RSS icon above the search box.

The right-hand navigation in the search results display screen changes depending on your searches and your preferences.  For example, if you have items in the Clipboard, a Clipboard icon will appear at the top of the right-hand navigation.  This is moved from the former tabs under the search box.  If you have customized your filters (see My NCBI video tutorial), they will also display in the right-hand navigation.  Default filters may appear there as well, if you have not customized them.  A new “Also try” box adds links to broader and narrower search terms based on popularity of searches similar to yours.

The image above shows a few more types of boxes that may appear in your search results: a Search details box and a Recent activity box.  The Search details box replaces the old Details tab.  Details are also available in the Advanced search page and may at some point be removed from the search results.  Until that point, the Search details box can be used to investigate how PubMed translated your search terms using their Automatic Term Mapping.  You can use this box to edit your search (for instance, to delete terms that are incorrect or to delete all terms except for medical subject headings).

The Recent activity box displays links to recent searches, viewed abstracts, and more, depending on your use of the Entrez databases.  You can choose to turn this capability off or to clear your history at any time–it is tied to your computer and to your My NCBI account, if you are logged in.  To access all searches and records accessed for the past 6 months (provided you use My NCBI), click on See more.

One of the most popular changes to the new PubMed interface is the simplified abstract display.  Instead of the three options to display abstracts (formerly Abstract, AbstractPlus, and Citation), all functionality of the previous display options is merged into the new Abstract display.  It looks most like the previous AbstractPlus format, with Related articles in the right-hand navigation.  The links to full text provided by publishers, PubMed Central, and of course the Mayo Clinic Libraries Full Text? SFX button remain on the top right corner.  To make sure that you can access the Full Text? SFX button from any computer, use the link from the Libraries’ home page or use the Outside Tool preference in My NCBI (Mayo Clinic staff and students can get instructions on setting this preference here-Mayo Clinic only).

The MeSH terms, publication types, and substances, formerly viewable in the Citation display, are now accessed by clicking on the plus sign below the abstract.

The Advanced search page, which is linked from above the search box on the PubMed home page and search results screens, is where you can find the History and Preview/Index features that were formerly in the tabs below the search box.  Details are also available from the link above the search box in the Advanced search.  For more information on using Advanced search, see the video tutorial from Liblog Issue 30.

Additional Resources

Melissa Rethlefsen
Learning Resource Center, Mayo Clinic Libraries
Mayo Medical School

Entry filed under: Feature Articles.

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