Perhaps it is in the middle of Grand Rounds, during a conversation with colleagues, or maybebetween seeing patients – there are times when a quick scan of the most recent medical literature would be helpful.

PubMed Mobile (Free) is an app for Android that allows the user to search PubMed, save articles and searches, view abstracts, and export selected abstracts and citations for future use.

The developer CRinUS also makes the similar apps: PubChem Mobile, and Entrez Sequence.  All three apps are free.

Here, I review PubMed Mobile, developed by CRinUS.

Search

PubMed Mobile app searches are actually quite similar to those of PubMed online.  The Main Menu is intuitive and easy to use.  Drop down menus allow the user to narrow the search using up to 3 fields at one time. 

Search Fields include author, journal title, article title, mesh terms, and numerous others.  The only search Limits are humans, animals, males, and females.  Limiting to “Core Clinical Journals” and “English” language – the two that I use most often – are not included in this app.

A nice feature for Android users who prefer landscape orientation or have a slide-out keyboard is the full functionality in both orientations.  One annoyance, though, is that text entered into textboxes in landscape are lost when flipping to portrait.  The issue, though, is avoidable by simply clicking “search” before flipping.

Search Results and Abstracts

Search results appear almost instantly on Wi-Fi and 3G.  The search results are very similar or identical to the test searches I ran on a computer for comparison.  After searching, articles can be sorted alphabetically by author, journal, or title, or sorted by publication date.   Each article has a checkbox, so that multiple citations can be sent at once, or saved for later (see below).

Abstracts and citations, not full articles nor pdf files, are available for reading.  Despite the hyperlink look, there are no direct links to the browser.

Saving Articles and Searches

Searches can also be saved for later perusal in “My Searches.”  Articles can be saved using the checkboxes and menu key.  All checked articles are put directly into “My Articles.”  The ability to organize articles into subfolders would be a nice feature, but is not present.

Sending Articles

Articles can be exported on Android via email, shared on GoogleReader or another RSS catcher, sent to the printer (using PrinterShare), or shared on one of the many social networking accounts.  The whole process is quick, familiar for Android users, and requires only a few clicks.

PubMed Mobile is great for…

medical students and residents wanting to impress an attending with mention of a relevant and recent paper…or multitasking on a long bus-ride…

PubMed Mobile is NOT for…

printing full-text articles or organizing citations for a research paper.

Likes
  • Extremely quick Search and Send on 3G and WiFi.
  • Simple to use.  The learning curve is essentially zero.
  • Looks and acts like PubMed.  Searches are accurate and nearly identical to online PubMed searches.
  • Ability to send multiple searches.
  • Saved searches and articles.
Dislikes
  • Inability to link directly to a browser for full-text versions.
  • Text lost when flipping from landscape to portrait (see above).
More functions we want to see…
  • EZproxy support (e.g. through an institutional library)
  • A note-taking tool for saved articles
  • Synchronization with desktop-based interface or reference managers (Zotero, RefMan, EndNote, etc)
Conclusion

This free app is a fast and user-friendly way of searching abstracts and citations on PubMed, with the ability to quickly send links and citations to an email, printer, or social networking account.  We look forward to future versions of this app, or others like it, that may expand functionality to include full-text links and interaction with reference manager software.

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