PubWindows – Mamma mia!

Yesterday, commenter Iskandar informed me that in Italy, they say “Mamma mia” when suffering from information overload.

Mamma mia! Mamma mia! Mamma mia!

I promised I would discuss PubWindows today, so I’ll try. Honestly, I still haven’t completely figured it all out. Partly because of time, and partly because there is soo much to it. If anyone knows/understands more about it, I invite you to leave a comment; I think others will greatly benefit from your knowledge.

So, PubWindows appears to be the brainchild of the director of, Shawn Thomas, who has a MLIS. Cool! From the site: “ exists to improve online access to biomedical information in fields such as neuroscience, pharmacology, and psychology… [PubWindows] allows you to browse PubMed citations with a modified version of the National Library of Medicine’s MeSH Browser. PubWindows offers search links to the On-line Medical Dictionary and PubMed text mining tools such as Chilibot and XplorMed . In addition, links to RSS feeds and various export formats are available.”

You can select a MeSH term from PubWindows and then use it to search XplorMed, which shows the association between terms in Medline abstracts, and you can also search SwissProt, SpTrembl, OMIM and SMART. I think. Mamma mia!

Or, you can use your term to search chilibot, which allows users to “[search] PubMed literature database (abstracts) about specific relationships between proteins, genes, or keywords. The results are returned as a graph”. The example graphs provided were really very visually easy to read and I could see how they’d be quite useful.

In PubWindows itself you can view the abstracts attached to your MeSH term and create a RSS feed for new ones.

I think PubWindows is really great idea, but I found it very difficult to use. I don’t know about PubWindows users, but I usually need to search MeSH before I’m able to select the appropriate term. Also, I wasn’t able to successfully search with subheadings, which I think is a huge drawback in terms of precision.

And as Iskandar notes, you can’t navigate back to the main PubWindow page once you’ve gone into one of the other databases.

I’ve been trying to come up with something witty about this being a neuroscience engine and using MeSH not needing to be brain surgery, but its late and I’m tired.

Mamma mia!

One thought on “PubWindows – Mamma mia!

  1. I’d agree that I cannot see a benefit now. In particular, I often don’t know where I am and the only way back is the browser’s back-button. M.