Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

My NCBI — Enhancements to My Bibliography

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From the 24 June 2011 NLM Technical Bulletin

Citations stored in My Bibliography will soon display links to Free full text, Related citations and articles Cited in PMC (PubMed Central®). See Figure 1. In addition, My Bibliography will be enhanced to include a portlet for Related PubMed® Citations.

Screen capture of My Bibliography with links and Related PubMed Citations portlet.

Figure 1: My Bibliography with links and Related PubMed Citations portlet.
The “Free full text” link will be available for a citation when the article full text is found in PubMed Central. The link goes directly to the PMC article.

The “Related citations” link retrieves articles that are topically related to a single citation stored in My Bibliography. The related citations are displayed in PubMed.

The “Cited in PMC” link retrieves articles found in PubMed Central that reference a single citation present in My Bibliography. The cited by articles are displayed in PMC.

The Related PubMed Citations portlet will present a brief list of citations recently added to PubMed. Citation retrieval for this portlet is based on the research topics found in the citations stored in My Bibliography. The portlet will be updated weekly, providing users with the latest information related to their research interests.

By Lidia Hutcherson
National Center for Biotechnology Information

My NCBI allows you to create (within PubMed) automatic email alerts, save your searches and records, filter results by subject, and much more.


Related Resources

July 6, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Look and Feel for the PubMed Central® Public Access Page

Since 2005,  scientists and researchers who receive NIH research are required by law to make their research findings (in medical or scientific journals) freely available to the public.

These freely available full text articles are largely available through PubMed Central.
PubMed Central is a free electronic collection of medical, biomedical, biology, and life sciences literature developed and maintained by US government agencies. PubMed Central is a subset of PubMed, the largest collection of biomedical article citations and abstracts in the world.

PubMedCentral articles have unique identifiers (article reference numbers) referred to as PMIDs.

The news item below describes how PubMed Central (PMC) is making it easier to locate articles with PMCIDs.


From the National Library of Medicine (NLM) November 30th Technical Bulletin item

The PubMed Central (PMC) Public Access & PMC page, available from the sidebar on the About PMC page, was recently updated to provide greater clarity and usability. Two new features were added:

  • Top-of-the-page links to navigate page content
  • A table for locating article reference numbers

New Location for Navigation Links

The Public Access & PMC page was reorganized and links to the page content are now at the top of the page (seeFigure 1). The new design makes it easy to see what the page contains and how to find the answers to your Public Access-related questions.

We’ve Got Your NumbersAdditionally, a new table (see Figure 2) demonstrates all the ways to locate the identification number of an article or manuscript — whether you’re looking for a PubMed identifier (PMID), NIH Manuscript Submission identifier (NIHMSID) , or perhaps most important, the PMC identifier (PMCID), which is the identification number that must be cited by recipients of NIH funding to demonstrate compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy. As seen in the table below, you can find these numbers through viewing the PubMed abstract; a PMC search result; and in the PMC display for the final, published article or the author manuscript. To reach this table click on the question, “How can I find a PMCID, NIHMSID, and PMID?


Screen capture of Table for finding article reference numbers


To see more of the article, click here.

An earlier posting includes PMC as one of a few suggestions to obtain free and low cost medically-related articles.
Click here for the posting.



December 6, 2010 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comings and Goings for PubMed® Limits

From a November 4, 2010 US National Library of Medicine news release

The following changes will be made to the PubMed Limits screen in November 2010.


Two subsets will be added:

Dietary Supplements: This subject subset was announced in the recent article, Dietary Supplements — A New PubMed® Subset.
Veterinary Science: This subject subset was added to the Special Queries page in 2007 (see Veterinary Search Added to PubMed® Special Queries). The strategy was originally called Veterinary Medicine/Animal Health.

The Space Life Sciences and PubMed Central® subsets will be removed from Limits; however, they will still be available for direct searching using space [sb] and pubmed pmc [sb] respectively. They will also remain available as My NCBI filters for PubMed.

At the same time, the labels on the subsets menu (Journal Groups, Topics, and More Subsets) will be removed and the subsets will be listed in alphabetical order.

Publication Types

Two new Publication Types will be added to the Limits menu, Type of Article, in preparation for changes to MeSH®vocabulary for 2011 (see upcoming article: What’s New for 2011 MeSH).

  • Autobiography
  • Video-Audio Media

Header change

The header over the selections Male and Female will change from “Gender” to “Sex.”

By Annette M. Nahin
MEDLARS Management Section


November 8, 2010 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

How to obtain free and low cost articles from biomedical journals

Heard about a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and want to read about the original research? Need to go to the source about a new surgical procedure? Medical articles, written by physicians and scientists just might be the answer.**

Most  medical articles are quite technically written and are published in journals which require paid subscriptions (even tho’ they are online!). Examples of medical journals include the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Lancet.

Medical journals (a type of scholarly journals) differ from popular magazines (as Psychology Today) in appearance, audience, and purpose. Duke University has a great comparison chart on the differences between scholarly journals and popular magazines.

A few great places to get free and low cost medical articles

  • Libraries Many public libraries have at least some medical journals. Most college, university, and medical school libraries (and all receiving some state funding) are open to the public and provide some reference services to the general public. These academic libraries vary in the number of subscribed medical journals.
    Some hospital libraries are also open to the public.It is best to call ahead and ask a reference librarian to see if the library is open to the public, if they have the article you need, and if you can use their computers and printers. Ask about interlibrary loan from any library where you have borrowing privileges. Your library will try to get any article they do not have from another library (there usually is a charge, upwards of $11.00 or more  an article).
  • PubMed Centra****l provides access to free articles submitted by authors and publishers. Some articles are free immediately when they are published, others are free on a delayed basis (ranging from a few months to a year). Check the PubMed Central home page for additional information. PubMed Central is a service of the US National Institutes of Health.
  • Free Full PDFOver 80 million free scientific publications
    Life sciences | Health sciences | Physics sciences and Engineering | Social sciences and Humanities
  • Docline is the National Library of Medicine’s automated interlibrary loan (ILL) request routing and referral system. The purpose of the system is to provide efficient document delivery service among libraries in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM).

Individual users of NLM’s PubMed and the NLM Gateway do not have access to DOCLINE, but they can make use of its services by ordering documents through Loansome Doc, a document ordering service. All PubMed or NLM Gateway users ordering documents must identify a DOCLINE library or libraries that are willing to serve them (Ordering Library). The health professional performs a PubMed or NLM Gateway search, reviews the citations retrieved, and identifies specific documents to be ordered. Orders are sent to DOCLINE from either PubMed or the NLM Gateway. The NLM PubMed server manages all document-ordering activities.

LoansomeDoc is for people who are not affiliated with a health or medical institution that has a library. (If your institution has a library, just ask a librarian about ordering articles through interlibrary loan). To register for LoansomeDoc, contact the closest medical library.
They can help you set up an account, including payments for articles. You should be able
receive most, if not all, ordered articles via email.

  • How to Access Journal Articles provides links to information resources and services.Includes links to free articles, strategies for obtaining articles, and paying for full text articles. By Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce.

  • Contact the Author Email, fax, or write the author. Most authors are happy to provide a free copy of their articles if asked. Cannot locate an address or fax number? Ask a reference librarian!
  • Contact the Publisher An increasing number of publishers are providing free copies of articles to patients, caregivers, and others who do not subscribe to their journals but only need a specific article for personal use.
    If the publisher does not advertise this free service, consider contacting them and requesting a specific article.  Need help contacting a publisher? Again, ask a reference librarian!

Some publishers which provide free or low cost articles (via PatientInform)

Elsevier Patient Research provides single copies of articles for $4.95. Elsevier publishes over 2,000 journals.

AACR’s (American Association for Cancer Research) policy for free patient access to medical articles—“If You Need It, You Can Read It”—can be found under Information for Readers/Subscribers.

The Endocrine Society For Patients page provides information on how to obtain free articles from its six endocrine research journals.

****Also, note that “The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication.”
I hear health sciences librarians are keeping busy advising researchers on how to comply with this.

**When a good summary of an article will do, check out the resources at Summaries for Patients” help patients and others understand medical studies and guidelines

November 7, 2010 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

PubMed® Display Enhanced with Images from the New NCBI Images Database

PubMed Abstracts of biomedical articles will soon include images included in the articles.

From a US National Library of Medicine Bulletin posting (Oct 22, 2010)

The PubMed (**)Abstract display for PubMed Central® (***)articles will be enhanced to include an image strip generated from the soon-to-be-released National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)(****) Images database…

…The image strip will display thumbnails of the article’s first several images. The image strip will also include a See all images link to display all the article’s images in the Images databases, as well as a Free text link to the article. Right and left arrows on each end of the strip will allow you to rotate through the images.

Mousing over an image in the image strip will generate a preview display of the image with its figure caption . Click on the image in the image strip, or the mouseover preview display, and go directly to the figure’s page in PubMed Central….

Images Database

The Images database will allow you to search millions of scientific images from NCBI full text resources; the database initially includes images from PubMed Central..

….You will be able to search the Images database with terms or detailed search parameters, such as image height, width, and caption. The complete list of search fields is available from the Images Advanced search page. Image results initially display in a summary format (see Figure 4) but may also be viewed in a thumbnail display. Retrieval display order is based on a relevancy algorithm.

**PubMed is the largest indexer of biomedical journal articles in the world.  The home page includes links on how to search (tutorials, quick start guide). For further searching assistance, consider consulting with a public, academic, or medical reference librarian. Many articles indexed by PubMed are not freely available on the Internet. Again, check with a local public, academic, or medical library for access to journal articles. The library may charge a fee for some articles.

***PubMedCentral is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. It is part of the PubMed database (index).

****NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. It includes PubMed and PubMedCentral.

[Editor Flahiff’s note: Many postings in this blog, especially Reuters and Health Day press releases, are based on articles indexed in PubMed]

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Medically Related Journals

Most medically related journals (as the New England Journal of Medicine [NEJM]) require subscriptions.
However, a number of these journals do have portions of each issue available for free online. Also, an increasing number of journals provide issues for free after time periods ranging from a few months to a year.

For example,  the  Sept 16 2010 NEJM issue has four (4) free articles, including The Safety of  (the drug) Tiotropium .
The Annals of Internal Medicine provides its articles for free after 6 months.

Several places to find free medically related journals

Highwire Free Online Full-text articles (Stanford)  Currently provides access to about 1,400 journals : 46 completely free journals, 282 with free back issues. Search and browse options. One can browse by publisher, topic, and journal title.

Free Medical Journals (Amedeo) Currently provides access to about 1,70o journals. Most have restrictions on which content is free (by section and/or date).  Search and browse options. One can browse by topic (as infectious diseases), free access dates (as immediately, after 1-6 months), and journal title.

PubMed Central (US National Institute of Health [NIH]). Free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. Publishers volunteer to participate at PubMed Central. Currently provides access to over 1,000 journals. Each journal entry includes date ranges and  indication of what content is free. Search option has many features. For example, the Limits tab allows one to limit by type of article (research/review) , tag term (author, word in abstract, etc), and date.

Ask a librarian in higher education!

Many academic and university institutions (including all receiving state funding) allow the public to do research at their libraries. Check with their reference librarians to see if they have the journal you are looking for as well as any limitations on using their computers. Most librarians at these institutions can give you limited assistance in searching for medically related information. Again, call ahead for what to expect.

Don’t forget your public library!

Librarians there may get you started on finding journal articles. They may also be able to help you with the most comprehensive place to search for medically related journal articles, PubMed.  Also, most public libraries have interlibrary loan, where you can request an article from another library. However, there will probably be a charge for the article.

Questions about this post?

Please email me, Janice Flahiff, at I will do my best to reply within 24 hours (48 on the weekend).

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments


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