NCBI Holds a Mirror to Third Party Web Tools for Searching Biomedical Literature

Biomedical literature continues to grow exponentially. At the same time, greater numbers of researchers, healthcare providers, students, and members of the general public are trying their hand at searching this literature on their own. Librarians, information scientists and information industry developers are creating tools to facilitate the process of searching this vast literature.

To help searchers find their way, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has compiled a list of 28 Web-based search tools. The tools were compared to PubMed and then to each other. A variety of Web technologies and information searching conventions were utilized to create a constantly updated, interactive, and easy-to-use list of search tools.

Search tools on the NCBI list share three major characteristics:

  • They are bibliographic in format (display citations and abstracts) and draw upon similar or equivalent content in PubMed.
  • They are specifically designed for searching the biomedical literature, but are general in their coverage of the domain. They do not focus on any particular specialty, but accommodate questions from all branches of medicine and on all aspects of health care.
  • They are web-based and freely available on the internet. They do not require installation of any proprietary software or a paid subscription.


Lu Z. PubMed and beyond: a survey of web tools for searching biomedical literature. Database (Oxford). (January 2011):baq036.

~ Ester Saghafi