Normal Limits

"Chance is the very guide of life"

"In practical medicine the facts are far too few for them to enter into the calculus of probabilities... in applied medicine we are always concerned with the individual" -- S. D. Poisson

December 01, 2005

SLIM, from NCBI comes a fantastic alternative PubMed search interface for clinicians!

A pre-print from BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2005, "SLIM: an alternative Web interface for MEDLINE/PubMed searches - a preliminary study", by Michael Muin, Paul Fontelo, Fang Liu, and Michael Ackerman from NCBI.

You have to give SLIM a try at http://pmi.nlm.nih.gov/slide/.

Muin et al have have given the PubMed "Limits" search capability a complete makeover. Using Javascript and DHTML, they use an interface based on sliders for users to limit search by:

  1. Publication date: going back 1 year? 2 years? ... no need to laboriously type in dates

  2. Journal subset: from all journals to the 120 core clinical journals in the Abridged Index Medicus

  3. Age group

  4. Study design: from case reports to randomized clinical trials to systematic reviews

  5. Search mapping: e.g. text search in Title/Abstract, MeSH term search, etc

Preset values are available for common limits such as recent systematic reviews.

The search results can be displayed in the same page. Individual abstracts can be expanded/collapsed easily.

SLIM was written in PHP and developed on an Apache 2.0.52 server running PHP 4.3.10. The PHP scripts generate a HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and JavaScript search form. JavaScript provides most of the functionality of the search form and search results. Free and open source JavaScript codes were downloaded from the Internet for the slider controls.

Muin et al make use of widgets obtained from WebFx and Dynamic Drive.

Eighteen physicians from the US, Australia and the Philippines participated in the beta-testing phase of the application and provided performance and usability feedback through an online survey.

I love this interface!

As an example, here I search for "paroxetine" and "suicide" and limit my search to the core clinical journals and the age group to adolescents, like so:

The results are displayed as:


Technorati Tags:
/ / / / /

No comments: