January 15, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 2)
Strong Points: Powerful searches of the literature
Weak Points: Cumbersome to use
BioMinT is a page with a purpose. Aimed at researchers hoping to mine the text of biomedical articles, the search engine takes an interesting approach. Focusing on PubMed/Medline, its claim to fame is that it presents the most relevant articles first and can also extract relevant sentences from abstracts. To use the service (at least for the most meaningful part of it), you’ll need to register, but after that, everything is free. I did a search on insulin in Drosophila and turned up 425 hits after I was given a multitude of options for selecting them. My searches generally aren’t too sophisticated, so I may not be a good judge. I must wonder, though, how much time this approach saves. The engine was not particularly speedy in its work, and navigation was not exactly what I would call intuitive. I can’t complain about the results, though, and the price (free) certainly won’t get anyone’s hackles up. Probably worth a look-see if you do much searching of the literature.