The New and Improved PubMed® — We Are Listening

Today marks 5 weeks since the new PubMed was made the default version. Throughout this process, we promised to listen, and we heard from you!

This was a huge change

We know change isn’t always easy, especially with major changes to a familiar service or product. We are staunch believers in making incremental changes whenever possible: releasing small improvements, observing the effects, gathering user feedback, and then using that data to make further modifications. This time, an incremental approach to improving PubMed wasn’t feasible. We needed to make major changes under the hood (new databases, cloud delivery, new web architecture, etc.) for PubMed to be sustainable going forward.

User feedback is invaluable: it has played an enormous role in updates over the 24 years PubMed has been in existence, and it continues to do so. To prepare for new PubMed, we launched the beta version in 2017, then called PubMed Labs, as a way to set up the new framework and solicit feedback from our users. During development and since, we reached out to our stakeholders with presentations, webinars, handouts, FAQstoolkits, and tutorials, including a series of four 90- minute online classes, How PubMed® Works, many of which continue to be available.

We understand that not everyone had a chance to put the new PubMed through its paces, and we’re grateful to those of you who provided feedback along the way, whether it was by sending questions or comments using the feedback button, by discussing with us how you accomplish your work with PubMed, or by filling out a survey.

For some, when the new version of PubMed became the default last month, it was a huge shift. The ways in which you were accustomed to working with the system changed. We heard from some of you that you were used to a particular feature being available on PubMed and now you don’t know where to find it.

Anticipating challenges with the transition, we kept the older “legacy” version of PubMed up and running to provide more time for users to adjust to the new system. We have made it easier for you to find your way back to that older version by including a link back to the legacy site (pmlegacy.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) on new PubMed’s homepage.

We plan to keep legacy PubMed operational until at least September 30, 2020. Should that date be extended, we will notify users with a banner on legacy PubMed.

We hope that by now, some things are becoming more comfortable for you. If you are still having trouble, please check the PubMed User Guide or reach out using the green “Feedback” button. That’s the best way to ask us for help or tell us how to make things better for you. For even more learning options, refer to our previous blog post, which details a variety of ways to navigate the new site.

What’s next?

When we released new PubMed on the public beta site, we provided a feature release page listing all the new improvements as they became available. If you want to see what new updates have been released, as well as what is coming down the pike, be sure to follow the PubMed New and Noteworthy RSS feed for updates on the latest enhancements.

Is there something in the legacy version of PubMed that you absolutely depend on and can’t do without? Contact our help desk using the green “Feedback” button or by using the Support Center hyperlink at the bottom of all PubMed pages. Perhaps a feature you are looking for is available in a slightly different way than what you were used to, and we can point you in the right direction. And, if a feature is gone but important to you, hearing from you helps us prioritize the addition of new features. If you don’t see an answer to your question in our frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, please let us know.

We’re always looking for ways to improve PubMed. Just as we’ve done for the past 24 years, we’ll continue to add features and data, and stay current as technology, publishing standards, and our users’ needs evolve.

Please think about other ways that NLM can help you, and share your ideas with us.

4 thoughts on “The New and Improved PubMed® — We Are Listening

  1. Doing an advanced search is clunky. The display of articles, especially one looking at just one, is hard to read with the blue titles being too pale. As someone looking for MeSH headings it’s a pain to look through all the related articles to get to the headings. And again they are in a pale blue. I realize the blue indicates a link but it is much paler than in most websites.

  2. Comments that were once attached to the old PubMed (originally available at PubMed Commons) should be re-attached to the new PubMed. Also, the new PubMed should allow for comments to be attached directly to papers. Authors of papers in PubMed could quickly post corrections to their newly-released papers if needed.

    I believe comments should be limited in length, not excessively detailed but understandable as regards standing of the paper commented upon. It would, speedily and efficiently, prevent the spread of flawed papers. On the other hand, authors of faulty comments should remove their comments.

  3. I’ve submitted this via Feedback too, but please please bring back highlighting of search terms when in Abstract view. It makes it much easier and saves hours of time when reviewing large batches of papers for relevance. Snippet view (the only place where I can still see highlighting) does not show enough of the abstract for this work.

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