Learning how to search PubMed can be a daunting task, and even seasoned users may have difficulty finding the information they need. LigerCat, a third-party search tool, helps to make PubMed more user-friendly by creating tag clouds that identify concepts related to the search term. LigerCat allows users to search in three ways: journal tags, article tags, and gene sequences.
Searching in the Articles tab will generate a tag cloud of the MeSH terms most commonly associated with the search term; the more common the term, the larger it will appear in the tag cloud. The user may then select multiple terms to build a PubMed search. LigerCat’s convenient preview tool shows how many articles in PubMed match all of the selected terms, allowing users to add or subtract terms to refine their search.
LigerCat’s Journals and Genes searches function in the same way. Searching by journal titles or keywords will allow users to select one or more journals and view a tag cloud of the MeSH terms and keywords most commonly associated with the journals. To search by Gene, users can enter a FASTA-formatted nucleotide or protein sequence to find articles related to that gene, making LigerCat an excellent tool for genomics researchers.
One downside to LigerCat is that searches can be slow. Most searches can be completed within a few minutes, but some searches may take up to an hour. Users may leave the search running in their browser or copy the URL LigerCat provides so that they may return to their search later.
LigerCat [Internet]. Woods Hole (MA): MBLWHOI Library, Biology of Aging Project. Available from: ligercat.ubio.org.
Sarkar IN, Schenk R, Miller H, Norton CN. LigerCat: Using “MeSH Clouds” from Journal, Article, or Gene Citations to Facilitate the Identification of Relevant Biomedical Literature. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2009; 2009: 563–567. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815376.
<submitted by Lisa Federer>