David Rothman has written extensively on alternate interfaces to PubMed, a great example can be seen here. As well as highlighting a useful poster it lists loads of other posts on the topic.

I may have missed something, but none of these alternate interfaces allow easy searching of PubMed. Some are wonders of programming, some allow some very neat tricks but none make searching of PubMed easy.

At TRIP we’ve gained a fair bit of experience with searching PubMed via the front page and also via the very helpful e-Utilities. So I’m starting to explore ways in which TRIP can create something more useful to the clinician. With TRIP I think we’ve done a pretty good job with the secondary literature. But the primary research literature is another matter. So, I’m hoping we can bring something useful to the table. As ever this tool will not be aimed at information specialists – they know how to use PubMed well. This tool will be aimed at busy health professionals.

I suppose my biggest issue with PubMed is that doing a search of statins returns 18,491 results. Unpicking that a bit:

  • Most research shows search engine users finish looking after 3 pages of results.
  • From our own experience with TRIP we also know that most users only use single search terms (e.g. asthma, hypertension).

So what I’m saying is that statins is a realistic search term and that suggests that 18,431 (18491-60) results are superfluous.

Therefore, the two challenges to me are:

  • Return fewer results in the first place
  • Allow users to easily qualify their searches.

I feel we can handle pretty well the above two, but are there any other challenges? If you have any thoughts on this let us know….