Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Never You Mind, PubMed

Sometimes an RSS feed reader can throw you off. For example, I saw that this new NLM blog, ReferencePoint, had posted a Fact Sheet sheet on the difference between PubMed and Medline.

I took notice, because this is a question that I think causes some confusion among the non-librarians among our patrons where I work (that is to say, pretty much all of our patrons), and that I usually brush over with something eloquent along the lines of "we use them pretty much interchangeably, but basically Medline is the database of citations, and PubMed is the search interface we use to access it, the way the internet is, you know, the internet, and Google is a specific interface to help you access it."

If the person seems to care at all, I might say something about the other interfaces for Medline, such as Ovid or the one in Web of Knowledge, and how they're kind of like other search interfaces such as Yahoo or Bing, and how some people prefer one or another of them for various reasons, but they all serve basically the same function.

In any case, I was interested to see how the experts at NLM would, no doubt much more clearly and accurately, explain the difference.

But then when I clicked to read more, there was no post! Removed for editing, perhaps, or updating, or because it incorrectly identified PubMed as "an especially rancorous panda." Who can say? Only the first few sentences linger, a ghostly remnant in my Reader.

Perhaps it will be reposted in the future. In the meantime, feel free to just substitute what I said here if anyone asks you about this topic.

I mean, the bit about PubMed being an especially rancorous panda. That'll get people's attention.

Edited to add that the post NLM blog post did go live, and you can see it here if you like.

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