December 14, 2004

PubMed Bookmarklet and Toolbar Search Plugin Enhanced with U of M Find It Service

Frequent PubMed users may be interested in exploring two browser enhancements which allow users to initiate PubMed searches directly from a web browser window, and which are customized for University of Minnesota users.

Bookmarklets are short JavaScript applications contained in a web browser bookmark. They are often used to initiate a search in a web site database (e.g., in Google or For frequently searched sites, they are quicker to use than first loading the web site home page and then entering the search on that page.

Several bookmarklets have been written for PubMed. This U Minn PubMed search bookmarklet has the additional advantage of activating the U. Libraries' Find It service in PubMed. Find It helps users link from PubMed to full text articles available through the Libraries. (For more information on Find It, see the Find It FAQ or


You can add the bookmarklet to your list of bookmarks/favorites or to your bookmark toolbar as you would for any bookmark (e.g., right-click the link above and "Bookmark this link"). The bookmarklet works on current versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla products, on both PC and Mac platforms.

For Mozilla Firefox users, Chad Fennell at the Bio-Med Library has also whipped up a PubMed toolbar search plugin with similar utility. This tool creates a Find It-enabled toolbar search box, for direct searching PubMed from the browser. (Firefox comes with toolbar searches for Google and several other databases pre-installed. See Firefox Central for more on toolbar search engines.)


Enabling the U. Minnesota PubMed toolbar search is a two-step process. First, go to and search for "NCBI PubMed" in the "Install search plugins" section. Follow the instructions to install. This will add the PubMed toolbar search to your browser.

Next, to enable the U Minn Find It function in your toolbar search, replace the file pubmed.src in Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/searchplugins/ with this version of the file.

Note that both the bookmarklet and toolbar search plugin tell PubMed to activate a web cookie (indicating you want U. Minnesota resources), so cookies must be enabled on your browser to use these tools.

Chad and I hope that one or both of these tools proves useful for you!

Posted by Kevin Messner at December 14, 2004 8:18 PM