Relevant biomed searches

With almost 1700 new biomedical papers published daily, even the most tech-savvy scientist finds it hard to stay on top of things.

Randall C Willis
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—With almost 1700 new biomedical papers published daily, even the most tech-savvy scientist finds it hard to stay on top of things. Making things even worse, says researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, is the amount of irrelevant information that comes up in a typical search of literature databases like Medline or PubMed. That's why they developed a new search engine called ReleMed.
 
"Most of the search engines that examine the 16 million articles currently indexed by the National Library of Medicine give you the most recently published articles first, but they don't look for relevance of the articles to your query," says Dr. Mir Siadaty, who developed ReleMed, which he described in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.
 
"For example, say you want to find the most relevant articles for the relationship between Hepatitis C and arthritis," he adds. "If you search using PubMed, you will receive hundreds of articles that randomly contain the terms 'Hepatitis C' and 'arthritis' but without necessarily indicating the relationship between them."
 
As Siadaty explains, they developed ReleMed so that it preferentially returned articles that showed close relationships between the two terms, assigning each paper a relevance or priority score.
 
"This great new tool retrieves and then organizes articles on medicine and biology so that the user spends less time reading through articles that are not directly responsive to their needs," adds Dr. William Knaus of UVa's Department of Public Health Sciences.

Randall C Willis

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