PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-7 (7)
 

Clipboard (0)
None
Journals
Authors
more »
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  An update on Uniform Resource Locator (URL) decay in MEDLINE abstracts and measures for its mitigation 
Background
For years, Uniform Resource Locator (URL) decay or "link rot" has been a growing concern in the field of biomedical sciences. This paper addresses this issue by examining the status of the URLs published in MEDLINE abstracts, establishing current availability and estimating URL decay in these records from 1994 to 2006. We also reviewed the information provided by the URL to determine if the context that the author cited in writing the paper is the same information presently available in the URL. Lastly, with all the documented recommended methods to preserve URL links, we determined which among them have gained acceptance among authors and publishers.
Methods
MEDLINE records from 1994 to 2006 from the National Library of Medicine in Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) format were processed yielding 10,208 URL addresses. These were accessed once daily at random times for 30 days. Titles and abstracts were also searched for the presence of archival tools such as WebCite, Persistent URL (PURL) and Digital Object Identifier (DOI).
Results
Results showed that the average URL length ranged from 13 to 425 characters with a mean length of 35 characters [Standard Deviation (SD) = 13.51; 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.25 to 13.77]. The most common top-level domains were ".org" and ".edu", each with 34%. About 81% of the URL pool was available 90% to 100% of the time, but only 78% of these contained the actual information mentioned in the MEDLINE record. "Dead" URLs constituted 16% of the total. Finally, a survey of archival tool usage showed that since its introduction in 1998, only 519 of all abstracts reviewed had incorporated DOI addresses in their MEDLINE abstracts.
Conclusion
URL persistence parallels previous studies which showed approximately 81% general availability during the 1-month study period. As peer-reviewed literature remains to be the main source of information in biomedicine, we need to ensure the accuracy and preservation of these links.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-23
PMCID: PMC2435527  PMID: 18547428
2.  Utilization of the PICO framework to improve searching PubMed for clinical questions 
Background
Supporting 21st century health care and the practice of evidence-based medicine (EBM) requires ubiquitous access to clinical information and to knowledge-based resources to answer clinical questions. Many questions go unanswered, however, due to lack of skills in formulating questions, crafting effective search strategies, and accessing databases to identify best levels of evidence.
Methods
This randomized trial was designed as a pilot study to measure the relevancy of search results using three different interfaces for the PubMed search system. Two of the search interfaces utilized a specific framework called PICO, which was designed to focus clinical questions and to prompt for publication type or type of question asked. The third interface was the standard PubMed interface readily available on the Web. Study subjects were recruited from interns and residents on an inpatient general medicine rotation at an academic medical center in the US. Thirty-one subjects were randomized to one of the three interfaces, given 3 clinical questions, and asked to search PubMed for a set of relevant articles that would provide an answer for each question. The success of the search results was determined by a precision score, which compared the number of relevant or gold standard articles retrieved in a result set to the total number of articles retrieved in that set.
Results
Participants using the PICO templates (Protocol A or Protocol B) had higher precision scores for each question than the participants who used Protocol C, the standard PubMed Web interface. (Question 1: A = 35%, B = 28%, C = 20%; Question 2: A = 5%, B = 6%, C = 4%; Question 3: A = 1%, B = 0%, C = 0%) 95% confidence intervals were calculated for the precision for each question using a lower boundary of zero. However, the 95% confidence limits were overlapping, suggesting no statistical difference between the groups.
Conclusion
Due to the small number of searches for each arm, this pilot study could not demonstrate a statistically significant difference between the search protocols. However there was a trend towards higher precision that needs to be investigated in a larger study to determine if PICO can improve the relevancy of search results.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-7-16
PMCID: PMC1904193  PMID: 17573961
3.  Evidence-based medicine among internal medicine residents in a community hospital program using smart phones 
Background
This study implemented and evaluated a point-of-care, wireless Internet access using smart phones for information retrieval during daily clinical rounds and academic activities of internal medicine residents in a community hospital. We did the project to assess the feasibility of using smart phones as an alternative to reach online medical resources because we were unable to find previous studies of this type. In addition, we wanted to learn what Web-based information resources internal medicine residents were using and whether providing bedside, real-time access to medical information would be perceived useful for patient care and academic activities.
Methods
We equipped the medical teams in the hospital wards with smart phones (mobile phone/PDA hybrid devices) to provide immediate access to evidence-based resources developed at the National Library of Medicine as well as to other medical Websites. The emphasis of this project was to measure the convenience and feasibility of real-time access to current medical literature using smart phones.
Results
The smart phones provided real-time mobile access to medical literature during daily rounds and clinical activities in the hospital. Physicians found these devices easy to use. A post-study survey showed that the information retrieved was perceived to be useful for patient care and academic activities.
Conclusion
In community hospitals and ambulatory clinics without wireless networks where the majority of physicians work, real-time access to current medical literature may be achieved through smart phones. Immediate availability of reliable and updated information obtained from authoritative sources on the Web makes evidence-based practice in a community hospital a reality.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-7-5
PMCID: PMC1805745  PMID: 17313680
4.  A UMLS-based spell checker for natural language processing in vaccine safety 
Background
The Institute of Medicine has identified patient safety as a key goal for health care in the United States. Detecting vaccine adverse events is an important public health activity that contributes to patient safety. Reports about adverse events following immunization (AEFI) from surveillance systems contain free-text components that can be analyzed using natural language processing. To extract Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) concepts from free text and classify AEFI reports based on concepts they contain, we first needed to clean the text by expanding abbreviations and shortcuts and correcting spelling errors. Our objective in this paper was to create a UMLS-based spelling error correction tool as a first step in the natural language processing (NLP) pipeline for AEFI reports.
Methods
We developed spell checking algorithms using open source tools. We used de-identified AEFI surveillance reports to create free-text data sets for analysis. After expansion of abbreviated clinical terms and shortcuts, we performed spelling correction in four steps: (1) error detection, (2) word list generation, (3) word list disambiguation and (4) error correction. We then measured the performance of the resulting spell checker by comparing it to manual correction.
Results
We used 12,056 words to train the spell checker and tested its performance on 8,131 words. During testing, sensitivity, specificity, and positive predictive value (PPV) for the spell checker were 74% (95% CI: 74–75), 100% (95% CI: 100–100), and 47% (95% CI: 46%–48%), respectively.
Conclusion
We created a prototype spell checker that can be used to process AEFI reports. We used the UMLS Specialist Lexicon as the primary source of dictionary terms and the WordNet lexicon as a secondary source. We used the UMLS as a domain-specific source of dictionary terms to compare potentially misspelled words in the corpus. The prototype sensitivity was comparable to currently available tools, but the specificity was much superior. The slow processing speed may be improved by trimming it down to the most useful component algorithms. Other investigators may find the methods we developed useful for cleaning text using lexicons specific to their area of interest.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-7-3
PMCID: PMC1805499  PMID: 17295907
5.  Technical development of PubMed Interact: an improved interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches 
Background
The project aims to create an alternative search interface for MEDLINE/PubMed that may provide assistance to the novice user and added convenience to the advanced user. An earlier version of the project was the 'Slider Interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches' (SLIM) which provided JavaScript slider bars to control search parameters. In this new version, recent developments in Web-based technologies were implemented. These changes may prove to be even more valuable in enhancing user interactivity through client-side manipulation and management of results.
Results
PubMed Interact is a Web-based MEDLINE/PubMed search application built with HTML, JavaScript and PHP. It is implemented on a Windows Server 2003 with Apache 2.0.52, PHP 4.4.1 and MySQL 4.1.18. PHP scripts provide the backend engine that connects with E-Utilities and parses XML files. JavaScript manages client-side functionalities and converts Web pages into interactive platforms using dynamic HTML (DHTML), Document Object Model (DOM) tree manipulation and Ajax methods. With PubMed Interact, users can limit searches with JavaScript slider bars, preview result counts, delete citations from the list, display and add related articles and create relevance lists. Many interactive features occur at client-side, which allow instant feedback without reloading or refreshing the page resulting in a more efficient user experience.
Conclusion
PubMed Interact is a highly interactive Web-based search application for MEDLINE/PubMed that explores recent trends in Web technologies like DOM tree manipulation and Ajax. It may become a valuable technical development for online medical search applications.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-6-36
PMCID: PMC1636030  PMID: 17083729
6.  SLIM: an alternative Web interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches – a preliminary study 
Background
With the rapid growth of medical information and the pervasiveness of the Internet, online search and retrieval systems have become indispensable tools in medicine. The progress of Web technologies can provide expert searching capabilities to non-expert information seekers. The objective of the project is to create an alternative search interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches using JavaScript slider bars. SLIM, or Slider Interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches, was developed with PHP and JavaScript. Interactive slider bars in the search form controlled search parameters such as limits, filters and MeSH terminologies. Connections to PubMed were done using the Entrez Programming Utilities (E-Utilities). Custom scripts were created to mimic the automatic term mapping process of Entrez. Page generation times for both local and remote connections were recorded.
Results
Alpha testing by developers showed SLIM to be functionally stable. Page generation times to simulate loading times were recorded the first week of alpha and beta testing. Average page generation times for the index page, previews and searches were 2.94 milliseconds, 0.63 seconds and 3.84 seconds, respectively. Eighteen physicians from the US, Australia and the Philippines participated in the beta testing and provided feedback through an online survey. Most users found the search interface user-friendly and easy to use. Information on MeSH terms and the ability to instantly hide and display abstracts were identified as distinctive features.
Conclusion
SLIM can be an interactive time-saving tool for online medical literature research that improves user control and capability to instantly refine and refocus search strategies. With continued development and by integrating search limits, methodology filters, MeSH terms and levels of evidence, SLIM may be useful in the practice of evidence-based medicine.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-5-37
PMCID: PMC1318459  PMID: 16321145
7.  askMEDLINE: a free-text, natural language query tool for MEDLINE/PubMed 
Background
Plain language search tools for MEDLINE/PubMed are few. We wanted to develop a search tool that would allow anyone using a free-text, natural language query and without knowing specialized vocabularies that an expert searcher might use, to find relevant citations in MEDLINE/PubMed. This tool would translate a question into an efficient search.
Results
The accuracy and relevance of retrieved citations were compared to references cited in BMJ POEMs and CATs (critically appraised topics) questions from the University of Michigan Department of Pediatrics. askMEDLINE correctly matched the cited references 75.8% in POEMs and 89.2 % in CATs questions on first pass. When articles that were deemed to be relevant to the clinical questions were included, the overall efficiency in retrieving journal articles was 96.8% (POEMs) and 96.3% (CATs.)
Conclusion
askMEDLINE might be a useful search tool for clinicians, researchers, and other information seekers interested in finding current evidence in MEDLINE/PubMed. The text-only format could be convenient for users with wireless handheld devices and those with low-bandwidth connections in remote locations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-5-5
PMCID: PMC1079856  PMID: 15760470

Results 1-7 (7)