September 15, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 16)


Strong Points: Useful, interesting analysis tools
Weak Points: None

Staying on top of the literature is no small effort for scientists today. Not surprisingly, there are dozens of online tools for managing this vast body of information, and eTBlast is one of the more interesting attempts. Describing itself as “a unique search engine for searching biomedical literature,” eTBlast is probably best described as a similarity searcher, rather than a keyword searcher. At the site, visitors can upload a paragraph of text and the search engine will try to identify Medline entries that best match it. The idea is to reduce the “noise” that arises often in keyword searches. Does it work? Yes, and surprisingly well. I pasted in the text from the bone marrow program above and, to my pleasant surprise, the search engine listed as the top “hit” an article about the NMDP program. Other features at the site include TRITE (precomputed Medline similarities), eTSNAP (identify related information in a body of text), FRISC (faculty research interest comparator), RIC (compare one’s research interests with MEDLINE abstracts), ARGH (world’s largest catalog of biomedical acronyms), and more on the way. A winner for anyone hoping to pull more out of references.

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