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Keep Up to Date with PubMed and the National Library of Medicine


Here is a sampling of news items from recent months, released by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). The list includes a noteworthy division anniversary milestone, as well as notices on enhancements and updates to some of NLM’s information products.

PMCID - PMID - Manuscript ID - DOI Converter

This utility allows one to start with the unique identifier for an article that is in PMC (PubMed Central) in order to find additional unique identifiers that may apply to the article, such as:

  • PMID (from PubMed)
  • PMCID (from PMC)
  • Manuscript ID (from a manuscript submission system, e.g., NIHMS, Europe PMC, PMC Canada)
  • DOI (Digital Object Identifier)

Go to the site for more search tips and information on why not every article will have all of these identifiers.

Digital Collections Enhancements 

Digital Collections is the NLM’s free online archive of biomedical books and videos. All of the content is freely available worldwide, and unless otherwise noted, in the public domain. NLM is the world’s largest medical library and the Digital Collections archive provides access to its unique historical resources. New features include a redesigned homepage with informative images highlighting repository content.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information’s 25th Anniversary

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. The late Senator Claude Pepper recognized the importance of computerized information processing methods for the conduct of biomedical research and sponsored legislation that established the NCBI on November 4, 1988, as a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NLM was chosen for its experience in creating and maintaining biomedical databases, and because as part of NIH, it could establish an intramural research program in computational molecular biology. The collective research components of NIH make up the largest biomedical research facility in the world.

Release of the 2nd Edition of the NCBI Handbook

The second edition of the NCBI Handbook, released in November 2013 in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of NCBI, aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the breadth of informatics resources at NCBI, and an in-depth account of the scope, data, infrastructure, processing, and access for each major database or resource.

See Galter Library’s useful web guide, NCBI Bioinformatics Resources for Biosciences Researchers.

Changes to MeSH Headings

Each year, NLM updates its controlled vocabulary, the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), used by NLM and medical libraries worldwide for the organization and retrieval of information resources (ie. in library catalogs and databases). For 2014, 304 new MeSH terms were added and 48 MeSH terms were either changed or deleted and replaced with more up-to-date terminology. Examples of new terms of possible interest to PubMed / MEDLINE searchers include: dander (anatomy); lancelets (organisms); dandruff, scorpion stings, and pediatric obesity (diseases), hand sanitizers and medical marijuana (chemicals and drugs); hope (psychiatry and psychology).

You can browse all of the new 2014 concepts on the MeSH New Descriptors web page.

DataBankName Element in the Secondary Source ID [SI] Element in the PubMed MEDLINE Display

In 2014, more clinical trials and other databanks will be included in this element, describing data discussed in MEDLINE articles.

More information on the Secondary Source (SI) field is available in the document describing the major elements (or fields) found on the MEDLINE display format for PubMed MEDLINE records:

MEDLINE/PubMed Baseline Repository

Researchers have requested the ability to have available MEDLINE citations in the state they were at a given moment in time without the MeSH vocabulary updates and other revisions that occur during the year. This is a static view, and NLM has stored the end-of-year baseline of the MEDLINE / PubMed database for each year starting in 2002 along with a selection of the associated MeSH Vocabulary data files.

Availability of the National Library of Medicine's WISER for Windows 4.5

Produced by the NLM’s Specialized Information Services, this new version of WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) fully integrates Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) content and updates the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) content to 2012. WISER is a system designed to assist emergency responders in hazardous material incidents. It provides a wide range of information on hazardous substances, including substance identification support, physical characteristics, human health information, and containment and suppression advice. (Note the NLM disclaimers in the WISER site.)

New PubModel for PubMed Citations

In mid-June 2013, a new publication model (PubModel) called Electronic-eCollection was introduced for PubMed citations from electronic-only journals. The new value Electronic-eCollection means an article is published electronically on a specific date (this date must include year, month, and day in numerical format) and then is also associated with an electronic collection date (akin to an issue; this date can be a year or a year and month, but never a year, month, and day). NLM determines the PubModel based on the data submitted by the publishers. Why was this necessary? This was a solution to complaints that online only titles listed confusing information as seen in this example: 2013 Nov 13; 12(11):123-9. Print 2013 Nov.

PubMed Commons (pilot)

Still in a closed pilot testing phase, PubCommons is a system that will enable researchers to share their opinions about scientific publications. Researchers will be able to comment on any publication indexed by PubMed, and read the comments of others. PubMed Commons will be a forum for open and constructive criticism and discussion of scientific issues. It is anticipated that this will result in a high quality interchange from the scientific community.

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Updated: September 25, 2023