A Study on Pubmed Search Tag Usage Pattern: Association Rule Mining of a Full-day Pubmed Query Log

Mosa AS, Yoo I.
A Study on Pubmed Search Tag Usage Pattern: Association Rule Mining of a Full-day Pubmed Query Log
BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2013 Jan 9;13:8.

Note from QMed: “Search tags” in PubMed are methods by which a user could ask for a search term to be (compulsorily) present  in the title or as a “MeSH term” (which means the article is “about” that term, whether the search term is present in the title or abstract or not). There are several search tags that can be used in PubMed to refine searches.

This article is extremely unusual and interesting. It is an analysis of the use of search tags while search PubMed. It is interesting for two reasons. The first, is the topic itself and the methodology used. The second is related to the authors’ findings. The authors have analyzed a day’s queries in PubMed, after getting the data from the National Library of Medicine (after ensuring anonymity of users of the day). A total of 2,917,159 queries were selected for this study issued by a total of 613,061 users. The authors checked if and how search tags were used in these. The results were interesting because they showed that the percentage of search tag usage was low (11.38% of the total queries). The authors conclude that users do not use tags because they are not aware of such features and need further education for better usage. We are once again sure that we are on the right track at QMed – teaching everyone how to use tags and more!

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