Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Scopus: Refining Results

In previous posts, I've described the product, talked about basic searching and the results screen. Now, it's time to look at the totally unique way Scopus has devised to refine the results of a search.

Notice the box above the results - it says 'Refine Results'. Look at this box to find out:
  • Which journals publish most frequently on this topic
  • Which authors are working on this topic
  • Distribution of articles per year
You can use these lists to identify potential journals for article submission. If you're working on a systematic review, this would be a great first pass at building a list of journals to hand-search. And the same holds true for the author list - if you're working on a project, this is a good test to see if you are familiar with the key people in the field. You can also identify a potential co-author to collaborate with on future research. That's pretty cool!

Notice that you have the choice to 'limit to' or 'exclude'. Use the check boxes to select one or more journals, authors, or dates and then limit to only those selected or exclude those selected.

Scopus is available from the Medical Library's Major Resources list.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wow! New NCBI search toolbar

This cool toolbar is an optional addition to your Web browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox) that expedites searching the NCBI's resources. It sits right below other browser toolbars.

The toolbar highlights search results and provides shortcuts to NCBI resources.

Check out these features:

  • searching with the search box
  • searching with the right mouse button
  • highlighting search results
  • shortcuts to NCBI resources
The NCBI Search Toolbar is now available for download from:

For detailed information, see the NLM Technical Bulletin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Journal Search Links in PubMed

This new feature is really quite handy.

Check it out by doing a search in PubMed - try: killer pop machines! Click on the author link to display the citation. Notice that the journal title is now a link. Click on it and a menu box with three choices appears. You can choose to search for the journal in PubMed or in the Journals database which is very useful. But, the last choice 'Add to Search' adds a search for the journal to the current search strategy -- this can be extremely helpful especially when you want to limit your topical search to a specific journal.

See the NLM Technical Bulletin for more information.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Scopus: Results Screen

In two previous posts, I've described what Scopus is and how to conduct a basic search. Now it's time to take a moment to appreciate the Scopus results screen.

I'll admit - when I first started using Scopus the results screen seemed incredibly busy but after just a few searches I realized that it is very easy to read. And because it's a familiar table format, it takes only a glance to find the bit of information that you are looking for.

Here's some interesting things to try out:
  • Click on the column header to resort the results (column headers are Date, Document (sort by relevance), Author, Source Title, Cited By)
  • Click on the Abstract + Refs link to look at the article abstract and the cited references. Notice that the cited references are all linked as well.
  • Click on the YaleLinks to link to the full-text.
  • Click on the Cited By number to look at the articles that have cited that particular article.
  • Notice that you can print, export, email and add to list.
Play around with the results screen - more about refining results later.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New PubMed filter

A new PubMed filter was just added to the My NCBI Filters feature. The new filter, English & Humans, groups search results that match both English language and the MeSH heading Humans. The new filter combines two existing filters, English and Humans (which will remain available individually). This combination is especially helpful if you had to make decisions to keep within the five filters allowed by My NCBI.

Select this new filter from the My NCBI PubMed Quick Pick menu.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Scopus: Basic Searching

Basic searching in Scopus couldn't be easier. As a matter of fact, the designers wanted the interface to be 'google-like'. You start out by typing your keywords into the query box. You only need to remember a few rules and the example under the first query box gives you clues.
  • It doesn't matter if you type your entire search string in the first box or use both boxes - you can enter one or more search terms in one or both of the text entry boxes.
  • The default operator is 'and'. For example, type: cost analysis. The system will intrepret this as: cost and analysis.
  • To search for a phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks: "cost analysis"
  • You can use the following Boolean operators: and, or , and not
  • You can select the fields you want searched by using the drop-down box. The default is to search article title, abstract, keywords.
  • Other limits are listed below the text entry boxes. Available limits are: date range, document type, and subject areas.
Try a few searches. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In-depth MEDLINE/PubMed field descriptions

The Bibliographic Services Division of the National Library of Medicine has produced a web page of MEDLINE/PubMed Data Element Descriptions . This document contains detailed descriptive information about each field within each MEDLINE/PubMed record - including the historical development of the particular field. I find this invaluable when I'm trying to search a specific field and get bizarre results. Sometimes the explanation is simply that, during the time period I'm looking at, it wasn't possible to search that way. For example, check out the history of the author field.

The Bibliographic Services Division advises that this information is supplemental and should be used in conjunction with PubMed Help. As a matter of fact, you should use the Search Field Tags section of PubMed Help for instructions and tips for field searching.