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7 Tips: How to track the information you need!

Recently, some of the researchers here in Debrecen have asked me how they could track the changes of their field of interest. Even in the field of medicine or science, it’s crucial to be up-to-date and to find methods/tools that can make your work easier and more comfortable. So here are some tips on how to track the information you need, how to be up-to-date in your field.

  • PubMed Save Search:

Most of the physicians and scientists I know, go back to PubMed time by time and search for the old terms to see whether there are new additions to the database. If you use the Save Search function, you can get your PubMed updates via e-mail or RSS. You don’t have to search again and again, just sit back and wait for the next letter containing the newest articles in your field. How? Create an NCBI account, make your regular search and click on the Save Search button:

savesearch1.jpg

Then edit the preferences, that’s all:

savesearch2.jpg

  • Third-Party PubMed tools:

I couldn’t come up with a better expression. These sites/tools are based on PubMed but try to open new ways in searching for different scientific/medical terms. For example, NextBio is a scientific data search engine with which you can use PubMed in a more dynamic way. The CureHunter provides interactive network graphs of related drugs, diseases and therapies. Or take a look at PubMed Reader, a free web-based research program for displaying PubMed / Medline search results on an individual basis. It means you can create your own up-to-date Medline and PubMed literature search.

David Rothman has a lot more!

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Screenshot of CureHunter

  • Use RSS or webfeed!

If you have to track more and more papers and online journals, then you should start to use RSS. It’s the best and most comfortable way of getting the selected information automatically what means you can read the articles in one place. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at some of my interviews with famous bloggers and see how many blogs/journals they follow every day. How? All you need is a feed reader program (like feedreader.com) or log in to your Bloglines, Google Reader or Netvibes account. Then open your favourite medical/scientific journal or blog and click on the feed icon:

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Insert that link into your program; browser or online tool and you made it. Let the information come to you!

  • Use an even better RSS!

Alan at Science of the Invisible pointed out the features of Aide RSS, a new service which is actually a web 3.0 application.

aiderss_logo.gif

The service filters the RSS noise by scoring each post by the number of comments it received, number of times it’s been tagged in del.icio.us, inbound links from a number of blog search engines, etc.

It will definitely improve your productivity and makes it even easier to track the content you like. For example, you can get only the good articles or the best ones of a blog or site via RSS, it depends on your decision.

aiderss.jpg

  • Use tags!

Tags are one of the most important features of web 2.0. Tags help you how to find content absolutely relevant to your needs. If you want to track your field of interest like this, try del.icio.us. If you’re a scientist or a physician, then your site is Connotea. Connotea can quickly save and organize links to your references, moreover you can follow the new additions to a tag by RSS. Here is the example: follow the best/selected articles about medicine 2.0.

connotea.jpg

  • BioWizard.com:

I know BioWizard should be in the category of 3rd-party PubMed tools, but I think this service is much more than that. It keeps you up-to-date with the most important published literature as chosen by the global biomedical research community. How does it work?

BioWizard users submit relevant, timely research articles they have found to be useful and interesting. The articles you submit are then read by the rest of the community who promote articles they feel are deserving of recognition. The best articles in a research field are brought to the top page for all to read and discuss.

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Through Biowizard, not just you can track all the papers writing in the field of yours, but you can get the best articles (selected by the scientific community) via e-mail.

  • Google Alert:

If none of these work for you, or you’d prefer an even simplier method, then use Google Alert. It will bring all the recent articles/blogposts to you, all the new results for your search term. Personally, I follow the term personalized medicine via this free service to know about all the new articles written on this topic.

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As it’s so important to be up-to-date in your field, use these simple, free and comfortable methods to track the information you need. If you happen to know more tools/services, don’t hesitate to leave a comment for us.

Related links:

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23 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the tips; there were some that were new to me.

    One thing I’ll add is the PubMed saved searches can also be delivered as RSS feeds, which I much prefer to email.

    September 8, 2007
  2. Thank you, iayork, I updated the article with this additional information. I’m glad you liked it!

    September 8, 2007
  3. I recently discovered Vienna for the Mac. Just want to share it with you. http://www.opencommunity.co.uk/vienna2.php and your readers who are using OS X.

    February 11, 2008
  4. Karina, thank you for the link! I have a friend with MAac and will send it to him now.

    February 11, 2008
  5. great post. (I was looking for stuff like this for an internal app we are working on). if you require a tool to share article and knowledge with members in your lab – you can try BioKM. It is still under a closed beta, but I hear they do offer trail accounts. I know a lab that uses it in the Weizmann institute and it works good for them. I personally didn’t use it, but my friend showed me around, seems like a nice tool to use,
    (I am a UI designer for a web consultancy I had my remarks on the UI but still).

    February 9, 2009
  6. [...] we had to surf on the web. Now we let the content and information come to us [...]

    July 19, 2011

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