Monday, October 31, 2005


Have you tried the Scopus database yet?

This database, created by Elsevier, is quite unique in that is based on a user centered design process involving more 300 researchers and librarians. A team of five full-time designers and a cognitive psychologist used observation and feedback from user tests to develop the interface. Each feature is based on exactly what users asked for.

But, what is it?

It's a full-text indexing and abstracting database. Scopus contains the contents of EMBASE, MEDLINE and Compendex - as a matter of fact the database indexes and abstracts over 14, 000 scholarly journals in the scientific, medical, technical and social science literature including over 400 open access journals. It also integrates Scirus, a web search engine focused on scientific web pages including patent information.

Scopus makes it easier for a researcher to:
  • Find new articles in a familiar subject field
  • Find articles by a specific author
  • Access information that can help evaluate an author
  • Stay up-to-date
  • Gain an overview or understanding of a new subject field

Scopus is updated daily.

Over the next couple of posts, I'm going to highlight some of the features of Scopus.

Just the facts:
Scopus is available from the Medical Library's Major Resource list.
To read more about the application of user-centered design (UCD) to Scopus development, see Scopus White Pater Series, Number One

Monday, October 24, 2005

Searching the Canary Database

In case you haven't tried the Canary Database (see post from October 10), you should definitely take a look at some of the features. Besides the added value of the curated documents, there are some cool things that the database designers have added to enhance the searching experience.

For example, do a quick search on anthrax by typing 'anthrax' in the search box at the top of the screen and click on 'go'. Looks and feels like Google, huh?

The results screen lists 43 records. And, right before the record listing, plots the % hits by year from 1965 to 2005 - giving you a instant feel for the distribution of articles over time. The next cool thing is the linkages bars, which are clickable. The bars indicate the linkages for:
Cause and effect analysis
Interspecies susceptibility data
Shared exposures with humans
Shared outcomes with humans
Gene sequence date

Another feature is the 'Find similar (show/hide)' box to the right of the screen. This allows you to quickly perform Boolean 'and' or 'or' searches within the search set or to redirect the search completely. It also helps to visualize the composition of the articles.

Give this database a try!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Don't forget that this web-based resource is freely available for anyone to search. produced by Thomson ISI identifies the most cited and influential scientific authors.

If you know who you're looking for, start off with the search option to 'Find a Specific Researcher'. But, by choosing browse you can search by category (21 broad subject categories in life sciences, medicine, physical sciences, engineering and social sciences), by an alphbetic list of names, by institution, and by country.

Give it a try!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Search links added to PubMed displays

The following fields on PubMed's Citation format are now "search links" to PubMed, MeSH®, and other Entrez databases:

MeSH Terms (headings, publication types, and substances),
Grant Support
Secondary Source ID
Personal Name as Subject

In addition identifier numbers (under Secondary Source ID) will link directly to the trial on the Web site.

Publication Types and Personal Name as Subject search links will also be available as search links on the Abstract display.

I think that you'll find these links quite handy as you're searching!

For detailed information, see the NLM Technical Bulletin

Friday, October 14, 2005

New Feature for Old MEDLINE

NLM® is embarking on a project to map the OLDMEDLINE subject headings, found in the PubMed® Other Term [OT] field, to current MeSH®. The original subject headings will be retained in the OT field. NLM expects to have a large percentage of this project completed for the new 2006 PubMed system in mid-December 2005.

See the NLM Technical Bulletin for more details.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

PubMed Subject Searching Avoids Conflicts with Journal Titles

Maybe you've never noticed this before but upon occasion, when you type in terms expecting to do a subject search you get bizarre results - PubMed maps what you've typed to a Journal search. This usually happens when you type something like 'brain development'. The way PubMed treats this is to first look in the MeSH translation table and if there is not a match, it then goes to the Journals Translation table - where it will find a match 'Brain Dev[Journal]'. Probably not what you expected!

NLM is adding to the exceptions table (which now contains heart failure, pediatric surgery, and treatment review) so that other subjects won't be treated as journals by default.

See the NLM Technical Bulletin for all the details.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Canary Database

Check out the Canary Database - Animals as Sentinels of Human Environmental Health Hazards. This database is produced by Yale University Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.

The database contains studies in the biomedical literature that explore the use of wildlife, domestic, and companion animals as "sentinels" for the effects of chemical, biological, and physical hazards in the environment that may be a risk to human health.

This compilation of curated peer-reviewed research articles related to the use of animals as sentinels of human health hazards also contains information added by trained curators in addition to bibliographic records from MEDLINE and other well-known databases.

For each study, curators add information about animal species, exposures, health effects, location, and whether the study includes data providing evidence linking animal sentinel events to human health risk in the following ways:

  • Exposure-effect relationships in the animal
  • Shared exposures between human and non-human animals
  • Interspecies susceptibility
  • Linkage between animal and human health outcomes
  • Gene sequence information

Use the Canary Database to:

  • Find out whether a cause and effect relationship between an environmental hazard and a health outcome has been studied in animal populations
  • Find out what is known about a particular disease reservoir for an infectious agent
  • Find out how investigators have used different study methodologies
  • Identify knowledge gaps related to animal sentinel health events
The project team is labelling it 'Public Beta' right now and encourages comments.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

TOXNET TRI 2003 released

The 2003 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) was released on TOXNET® on June 13, 2005. The new release (1987-2003) contains 1,461,916 records.

The EPA's TRI provides information on the releases of over 600 specific chemicals into the environment as reported annually by industrial facilities around the United States.

NLM's TOXNET® is a group of databases on hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.