Yes - PubSavvy searches the NCBI's PubMed database, which includes both MEDLINE-indexed citations and more recent publisher-supplied citations. (These are typically more recent, and they do not have the indexing terms, called "MeSH" or Medical Subject Heading, attached to them yet.) You can search only the MEDLINE portion of PubMed by using the tag [MeSH] after your search, for example "Parotid Neoplasms[MeSH]". These terms are not in plain English, so try looking them up in the MeSH indexing tree.
Does PubSavvy include search results from MEDLINE?
Is the search case sensitive?
Just like on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed website, search terms you enter are not case sensitive. However, Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) must be in all caps. It's easy to forget this, which is why PubSavvy's shortcut keys automatically enter these terms in the correct case.
Can I use AND and OR in the same search?
Yes, you can - but be sure to use parentheses to make sure PubSavvy can understand the logic of what you are looking for. For example, maybe you want to read studies that look at how well people adhere to regimens for weight loss. You might use a search string something like this: Adherence AND (diet OR exercise OR "weight loss"). Without parentheses you may get unexpected results - in this example, without parentheses around the ORs, the search will bring up all kinds of citations which don't include the Adherence term.
I tried to run a search and got an error message.
Make sure you are connected to the internet. PubSavvy can only run a new search when you have a network connection on your phone. (You can access your Collections even if you are not connected, however.)
If you continue to experience problems please let us know.
How does PubSavvy sort search results?
Results are sorted by the most recently published articles first, the same as the default sort on the PubMed web page. When you go to Related Items, the resulting list there is sorted by relevance, which is determined by similarity of National Library of Medicine indexing terms. PubSavvy's creators believe that returning results in the same order and format for all users enhances reproducibility and minimizes bias. We do not accept paid links, and we do not sort results to promote drugs, devices, or journal publishers.
I am trying to use the PubMed.gov website and I can't find the Limits feature. Did PubMed Limits disappear? Why can't I limit my search to the past 30 days?
This is correct - for users of the PubMed website, on either computers or mobile devices, NCBI has made a change to the interface which replaced the Limits feature with a set of filters contained in a sidebar of the search results page. You can read about the change and see tutorials here.
One consequence of the change to Limits is that the default date limit choices now omit options for past 30 days, past 60 days, past 180 days, etc. However, you still CAN use these limits by entering the phrase in quotes followed by the field limiter [DP].
Example: influenza AND "last 30 days"[DP]
For users who prefer to use this option rather than entering exact dates, we tested this text string substitution and it works in PubSavvy for iPhone as well on the PubMed website, PubMed Mobile website, and in all but one of the other PubMed iPhone apps that we have tried. (Besides PubSavvy these include PubMed On Tap, PubMed Clip, PubMed in Hand, PubSearch Plus, Go PubMed, and Orkov. Mobile Abstracts was the only iOS app we tested which does not seem to support this syntax.) In PubSavvy, of course, you also have the option to pick the exact date range you want to search by going into "Refine" after you run your keyword search, and selecting the desired To and From dates from the clickwheel.
What if I want to search for a word only in the article title?
You can use the PubMed / MEDLINE tag [TI] to indicate a word or phrase to be searched in the title only. Use the square brackets on the custom PubSavvy keyboard to enter PubMed tags, like this: "HeLa cells"[ti]. The tags are not case sensitive. Other handy indicators are [AU] for author, [1AU] for first author, and [LASTAU] for senior author (traditionally listed last on a publication). More PubMed search tags are listed here.
When I search PubMed, only some of the resulting articles are actually relevant to my question. Is there a way to select only the good ones?
Yes - you can create a Collection to hold only the citations you want. The easiest way to do this is to press the "Select" button on the search results page, and you will see a radio button appear next to each study. Tap on the ones you want to save (a red check mark will appear), and tap "Add" at the top of the page to add them to a Collection. You can also add citations to a collection one by one, by using the + sign on the Abstract page.
To make multiple collections on different topics, go to Preferences and change the collection settings to "Ask Me Where." To remove citations from a collection, click on the citation and and press the white X, then Yes to confirm the deletion.
I want to re-categorize some of my search results. How do I manage items in my Collections?
You can now edit meta-data about your Collections as well as moving and deleting the citations contained in them. To delete or rename collections, click on Edit at the top right in the list of Collections. Click the red dot and confirm deletion to delete a collection. To rename, click on the right hand side on the name. You can move articles between collections by clicking on the two folders icon when in the collection - select the articles you want to move, click Move, and then select the collection you want to move them to. To see details of the collection (date created, number of items) and to add any notes / descriptions about the collection, click on the i (info) button at the bottom right.
Help - I had some items selected from my search results list and they disappeared!
Make sure you save your selections into a Collection (either the default My Collection, or a named collection you created) before you load up the next page of results.
Does PubSavvy allow me to import my search results to EndNote or other reference manager programs?
Yes. Just go to Preferences and turn on "Medline export." Now when you email articles or Collections, the email will include an attachment which is a MEDLINE-formatted text file. This format can be imported into EndNote®, Reference Manager®, ProCite®, RefWorks, or other bibliographic management software.
For EndNote: save the attachment from the PubSavvy email, and open EndNote. Choose "Import..." from the File menu, and select your saved file . Under "Import option," select the PubMed (NLM) import filter. (This is the same filter you use when importing search results from the PubMed web site - find it under "Other Filters" if it is not already in your list of frequently used styles.) Click on Import, and all of your formatted citations will come into EndNote in the correct fields. Unlike some citation importers, the full text of the abstract will be included as well as the author, journal name, date, and pages.
For RefMan and ProCite, follow the procedure above but use the import filter / file format called "PubMed." In RefWorks, the import filter is called "NLM PubMed". EndNote, Reference Manager, and ProCite are trademarks of Thompson Reuters.
General User Info
Who are you and why'd you build this app?
As an independent consultant and researcher in evidence-based medicine, I use PubMed a LOT. Having the power to search this database on a mobile device was extremely appealing - but I found that current apps didn't have some of the features I wanted. Generally a PubMed search returns so many records that being able to narrow it down using preset filters or your own added terms is a big plus - and personally, when hunting for relevant papers I love being able to screen through and select citations from a list, rather than viewing them one by one. PubSavvy was built to do all that and more, with some custom features to make your life easier.
Having an vision of what I wanted but zero programming experience, I was fortunate enough to work with the talented (and patient) folks at Aboveground Systems, who made it all come to life. I think it works great - and looks pretty slick, to boot! I hope you find it useful too.
I plan to stick around on this page and try to give some search tips on using PubSavvy (much of which may apply to users of the National Library of Medicine's PubMed website as well). So watch this space, and feel free to send in questions!
I'm a health care provider and I'm concerned about privacy. Are you collecting my searches? Are you going to sell this data? Or use it to advertise to me?
No, no, and no. There are no tracking tools associated with PubSavvy. We will never sell your information to drug reps, insurers, or other third parties - indeed, we don't even it have it ourselves. We do not collect any identifying information from our users.
So, it's 2013, what's going on?
The PubSavvy team had a number of distractions in 2012 - broken bones, new homes, and hurricanes, oh my! - but we are back on track and still intend to produce an iPad version. Work is underway and we are anticipating completion in the spring. The new version will appear as an upgrade, so it will be free to existing users.
Thank you for your loyalty and, for those of you who have been awaiting iPad optimization or other features, for your patience! ~Diana
I am reviewing the level of evidence for medical iPhone apps. 1) Was a physician involved in development? 2) Are results from the app based on scientific evidence (e.g. published studies)?
Thanks for your questions on evidence-based medicine.
1) No, a physician has not been involved in the initial development, as the app is not intended to provide medical advice. PubSavvy was created by an experienced researcher with a Master's of Public Health and
10 years' involvement in systematic review of medical literature, working with a mobile apps developer. We do have physicians using the app who have provided helpful feedback on the user interface.
2) Yes. PubSavvy is an interface for searching PubMed, the database of over 20 million biomedical journal articles (most of which are peer-reviewed) indexed by the National Library of Medicine. Search results consist of clinical literature citations and abstracts, and full text articles where they are available. In keeping with best practices for evidence-based medicine, search terms are completely transparent and results are not filtered or sorted by any "hidden" criteria. We've also included some pre-loaded search strings for finding randomized trials, so that users can hone in on studies representing the best level of evidence.
Is there advertising in the app?
No. PubSavvy is supported solely by app sales, we do not have in-app advertising and will not be adding it.
I like the app but it could be better. Are you planning on releasing updates?
Yep, absolutely! We have released four updates so far in the 18 months since PubSavvy first appeared in the iTunes store - not too shabby for our skeleton crew. Next we are planning an iPad version, with better ways to read PDFs and export them to programs like Papers, Readdle Docs, Adobe, Dropbox, etc. Have suggestions for future versions? Request a feature and we'll see what we can do!
Why does the article say "free full text" and then the full text link says I have to be a subscriber?
Of the millions of articles in over 20,000 journals available in PubMed, sometimes full text links are not tagged correctly, or the journal has changed the status of its content. This can happen with articles being tagged as free which in fact cannot be accessed (for instance, journals which formerly had a free archive, like the Journal of Applied Genetics, or articles which will be free under the NIH Public Access Policy, but are still within the one-year grace period). Occasionally you will see the opposite - an article may not be tagged as free full text, but if you link out to the PubMed record (through the globe icon at the bottom of the abstract in PubSavvy), and then to the publisher-supplied link, some journals actually do not require a login.
We do our best to make sure NLM's PubMed links out to full text are working correctly in PubSavvy. If you see a link that is working on the PubMed website, but sending you to the wrong place in PubSavvy, please let us know. If the PubMed links are wrong (or missing) on the PubMed website as well, unfortunately there is not much we can do about it currently.
Where do you stand on advertising in medical apps?
We've said it before - PubSavvy is and will always be a PubMed search app without ads, and without pharmaceutical or device industry sponsorship. Ads in medical apps are potentially lucrative, especially if they target prescribing physicians (NYTimes: Drug App Comes Free, Ads Included). However, in addition to simply being annoying, paid advertising or sponsorship in medical apps can distort evidence needed for unbiased decision-making. We're committed to supporting PubSavvy through app sales alone.
The link out to NCBI's PubMed website takes me to a different place now. Why?
When you click on the globe icon in PubSavvy at the bottom of an abstract, the website you link to will now look a little different. This is because NCBI has redirected mobile Safari users to its new mobile version of PubMed, a web app called PubMed Mobile. It is a stripped-down version of the full PubMed website, which was giving mobile Safari users the error message, "We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser, and may not function properly." If you prefer to go to the full site anyway, scroll down to the bottom of the abstract and click on the link at the bottom left that says "Standard PubMed."
PubSavvy 2.1 released!
We're proud to announce that the latest update to PubSavvy is now available in the App Store. In version 2.0 we added landscape (horizonal) view, the ability to refine searches by date, and a way to move articles between Collections - we've made some fixes (cosmetic and otherwise) to those functions in version 2.1.
Thanks to our awesome team for their hard work! As always, we welcome your feedback on the new features. For our next trick... we are working on a universal iOS version (for iPhone / iPod Touch, and iPad). We'll be upgrading all our screens to the new hi-res display on the new iPad, and making it easier for you to read PDFs within the app.
Don't see your question here? Email us