PubMed Reader: Flexibility for PubMed RSS Feeds

Ever notice that once you’ve decided on your query in PubMed and made an RSS feed from it, you can’t make any changes to the query? If you want to adjust it, just make one small tweak, you have to start from scratch, make a new search, and output a new feed. This could be especially unwelcome if you’re doing something more than reading the feed in an aggregator. What if you’ve created it FOR a clinician and the clinician is already subscribed to it? What if you’re using the feed in another application or Web page?

PubMed Reader allows some flexibility that can be handy in these circumstances.

You can run your search from PubMed Reader and export your RSS feed from PubMed Reader. Should you want to change the query that generates the feed, you can do so without changing the URL of the RSS feed.

PubMed Reader also has nifty export functions:

The output of this export is a bit of javascript that can easily be pasted into a Web page:

However, if I click on a link from a PubMed Reader feed, I’m taken to the PubMed Reader login prompt and made to log in order to read the item. I’d much rather that the links went directly to PubMed.

Other posts about third-party PubMed tools:

7 thoughts on “PubMed Reader: Flexibility for PubMed RSS Feeds

  1. I don’t know if PubMed Reader caches feed contents, Ratcatcher. Care to try it out and let us know?

  2. Not at all familiar with PubMed Reader, but could you not do the same thing with Feedburner? Seems the same idea – once the Feedburner feed has been distributed, you can always go back in and modify what’s actually feeding *it*, with no changes necessary for the end user…

  3. That’s a fair point, Paul- but it would require first generating a new search/query in PubMed, then going into your FeedBurner account to switch the feed over.

    The PubMed Reader solution lets you make whatever tweaks necessary to the search that generates the feed in one quick step.

    It isn’t ideal, but it addresses a functionality issue with PubMed RSS feeds.

    Another, as Ratcatcher points out, is that feeds aren’t cached by PubMed, so whenever there are new items, they over-write the previous items. This isn’t a problem when you’re using an aggregator, but it is a real problem if you’re trying to display PubMed RSS feed items on a Web page.

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