Friday, October 30, 2009

Google Tip #24

Every now and again, you may want to find a video describing some topic in which you're interested. You could do a quick search on Google Video or YouTube.

For example, if I search in Google Video for the phrase h1n1 cdc, I get 3,990 results. That's too many for me to want to comb through.

Searching YouTube with the same phrase, I get 2,890 results. Still too many to sift through.


Here's how to get around the results overload when you're looking for a video on a certain topic.

In a regular Google search, you can type in some specific commands to look for different video formats.

Here's what the search phrase pictured above is looking for:

whatever follows behind the colon has to be in the URL of the webpage; this is indicated by the + sign

wmv OR avi OR mpg
these are examples of movie filetypes; connecting them with OR will look for any of these filetypes that must occur in the URL of the webpage
this will look for our search exclusively in just the CDC's website

this will look for the topic of h1n1 anywhere on the webpage

When I run this search in Google, I get 101 results. A very manageable set to browse through to find some good videos on the topic.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free Mind Mapping Tools

Oh boy - I've found some scrumptious free mindmapping tools that I need to share with you!

Mind mapping is a way to visualize concepts by drawing out associations between your ideas. It can be extremely useful as a brainstorming tool and even for teaching. It combines the textual and visual cognitive senses we use to help us understand concepts.

Two absolutely free and absolutely easy to use mind mapping tools are:

(1) - you don't need to set up an account. Simply click on the "Start Brainstorming"button.

The controls are intuitive. For example, hovering over the first box allows you to type in text. You can hover over parts of that box to show crosshairs that allow you to reposition the box wherever you want. The other hovering options allow you to add boxes stemming from the original. You can change the color of the boxes.

When you're done mapping, click on the Menu button at the bottom right of the screen. You can export the map you've created as an image, XML, or HTML file. Below is an example of a mind map I created using

(2) SimpleMind Xpress - this is a free app for your iPhone or iPod Touch. There is a paid version, but I find the free one does a good job. You can upload your final mind map to your iTunes and then download it to your computer as a document.

This presentation below gives some helpful pointers on how to maximize the effectiveness of your mind mapping exercises.

These tools produce such graphically appealing mind maps that you'll feel compelled to map out just about anything. Knock yourself out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Navigating PubMed's New Interface

PubMed has gotten a facelift as of Oct. 27, 2009. With this sudden jolt, it may initially feel as if someone's gone into your house and re-arranged all your furniture and left you to figure out where everything now is.

Not to worry. Here are a few basic pointers to get you oriented:

The key items in the left blue menu bar of the old PubMed are now below the big image on PubMed's homepage.

Helpful key features in that section are:

(a) Single Citation Matcher - enter information to get directly to the article's abstract
(b) Clinical Queries - quickly find clinically relevant articles
(c) MeSH Database - find the terminology, medical subject headings (MeSH), that PubMed uses to index articles
(d) Journals Database - find journals on specific topics and detailed information about the journals

The Limits, History, and Clipboard tabs that were on the old PubMed no longer exist as tabs. They are now found under the Advanced Search link to the right of the search box.

For example, when you run a search and get to the results, click on the Advanced Search link to see:

(a) Search History - archives your searches for the next eight hours
(b) Search option boxes you can fill out to refine or run another search
(c) Limits - narrow your results by such factors as Type of Article, Age, Gender, Language

When viewing an abstract:

(a) Select the Display Settings link on the left above the abstract to view other formats of the abstract
(b) To send items to the Clipboard, check the box of the articles you want, and select the Send to link to the right above the results and select the Clipboard option
(c) A Clipboard icon appears when you've sent items to the Clipboard. You can save, email, or print those items.

View this short non-narrated tutorial that demonstrates the features described above.

The National Library of Medicine has made tutorials that show you through more detailed examples of how to use the new PubMed interface. These are located on PubMed's homepage, in the white space below, listed as PubMed Tutorials under the Using PubMed section.

Feel free to comment to this posting if you feel strongly one way or another about the new PubMed interface changes.

Download the Clinician's Toolbar to Your Browser

Kudos to you if you've already downloaded the UCSF Library's Clinician's Toolbar to your desktop browser. If you've used our toolbars in the past, you may not know that there is a new and improved version of our toolbars.

Apologies for this mouse-sized image of the Clinician's Toolbar, but I wanted to point out what the advantages are of downloading this toolbar to your browser.
(1) Get quick access to the Library by clicking on the blue UCSF Library logo on the far left of the toolbar

(2) Go straight to frequently used resources, such as UpToDate

(3) Gain additional one-click access to our online journals, find articles, or get to Drug Info and Clinical Resources on the Library's web

If you click on the dropdown arrow on the left inside the toolbar's search box, you can choose to search PubMed and Google Scholar and even Google Images as some key resources available.

If you've got the old version of the Library's toolbar on your browser, uninstall that before installing the new version.

To download and find out more about the Clinician's Toolbar, go to and scroll down the page to see more info.