NCBI Resource Locator

At times lawyers need to learn a little medicine, and the NCBI Resource Locator might help. First of all, NCBI stands for the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information, which is part of the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine, and the institution that manages PubMed, the likely the destination for a legal researcher.

PubMed has a fantastic search page, offering you all manner of ways of focusing your search into the medical literature. As well, there are tutorials to help you figure out how to do what you want.

Which brings us to the new NCBI Resource Locator, the aim of which is to provide a “stable, uniform addressing for NCBI content, making it easy to link to individual records.” All of which will be great when it gets fully implemented within the larger system. But at the moment it might be helpful to know how to run a quick search into PubMed using just the address bar in your browser. The new URLs have this form:<noun>/<verb>/<expression>, where the noun is the resource (“pubmed” in this example), the verb is the action to perform (“search” in this case), and the expression is the datum used by the verb, i.e. your search terms.

So, a search for finds you some 6000 articles on carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you haven’t wandered around inside the various NCBI databases and online tools, you should give it a shot just to see how impressive the medical research infrastructure is, particularly when compared to what’s available to the public respecting law.

And think about a possible CanLaw Resource Locator.

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