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NLM Announces PubReader, a User-Friendly Web Presentation for Reading Articles in PubMed Central (PMC)

What's the perfect (and free) holiday gift for those with tablets and other computers?

The National Library of Medicine suggests PubReader, an innovative, reader-friendly interface that helps users read and digest articles in PubMed Central (PMC), NLM's full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. PubReader was developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a component of NLM.

PubReader was created in order to keep pace with the continuing advances in Web technology, enhancing the readability of PMC journal articles not only on small-screen devices, but also on desktops and laptops.  PubReader can be accessed from all major Web browsers.

"Why is it that we can spend hours reading e-mails, news articles, blogs, and abstracts on our computers," wrote NCBI Director Dr. David Lipman in a recent article, "but when it comes to a scientific article, many of us choose to print it out? Perhaps it is because we generally do not read straight through an article. Instead, we often glance back at a table, figure, or paragraph to clarify what we have just read. The more complicated the article, the more likely we are to flip back and forth while reading it. Printed articles typically break the content into two columns per printed page, which, together with embedded figures and tables, provides convenient physical and visual landmarks for facilitating this form of reading."

NCBI has combined the best features of a print article into PubReader. Like a printed paper, PubReader breaks an article into multiple columns and pages to improve readability and navigation. PubReader can expand a page to whatever fits on your screen-with multiple columns on a desktop monitor or a single column page on a small tablet. It will even switch to two columns if you rotate the tablet to a landscape view. When you adjust the font size or change the size of the browser window, page boundaries and columns are adjusted automatically.

PubReader also provides an image strip at the bottom of the page with thumbnails of all figures and tables in the article so that you can pop up an earlier figure/table and then close it in an instant without losing your place in the article. This same feature works with inline figures, tables and citations as well.

Key features of PubReader include:

  • Clean, easy to read, multi-column display. Nothing to distract you from the task of reading an article.
  • Access from whatever device you are using: desktop, laptop or tablet.
  • Multiple navigation options. On a tablet, flip the pages as you would with a book. Or tap/click the edges, use the arrow keys, page up/down keys, the scrollbar; it's all up to you.
  • Figures at your fingertips. Activate the figure strip to have access to all figures, no matter where you are in the article.
  • Supported by all major platforms and browsers. See the complete list.

How can you try out PubReader? The new view is available for any article that appears in full-text HTML form in PMC. It is not available for older content that is available only in PDF form or as scanned images of the original print pages. You can get to the new view directly from an article citation in a search result list or an issue table of contents:

 PubReader Action Text

Or from the Formats links in the top right corner of an article page in PMC:

PubReader Action Text 

To learn more about PubReader:  

The National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library, is a component of the National Institutes of Health.