Web Tools for Searching the Biomedical Literature – part I

Zhiyong Lu recently published an excellent overview of the web tools that are currently available to search the biomedical literature. The article has also a companion web page that allows user to filter for the features they are interested in, and to report new tools.

The author describes 28 tools developed specifically for the biomedical domain. The tools are grouped based on their most important features into

  1. Ranking search results
  2. Clustering results into topics
  3. Extracting and displaying semantics and relations
  4. Improving search interface and retrieval experience

Zhiyong Lu works for the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). NCBI developed and maintains PubMed, and this is obviously the database to which the other tools are compared. Or looked at this differently, the proliferation of tools in the four areas listed above is an indication of the areas where PubMed is not very good at (e.g. it returns search results not by relevance, but in chronological order).

Instead of reviewing the article, I decided to do this in two parts. I will write about my thoughts on the various tools next week to give everybody time to look at this themselves. This is my delayed contribution to the medlib’s round blog carnival. Feel free to write a comment, or submit directly to the blog carnival using this link. The post with my own thoughts and the feedback I have received will go up Saturday next week.

Lu Z. PubMed and beyond: a survey of web tools for searching biomedical literature. Database. 2011 Jan;2011. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/database/baq036.

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