Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Foolery #11: Worthless PubMed trivia query

I'm at the National Library of Medicine for orientation this week where I'm learning loads of useful information. I was worried that I'd have no content to add to my Foolery line and would have to research or come up with something original (I don't recommend that after jumping 3 time zones) when the perfect solution arrived Thursday afternoon.

In PubMed, how many articles were indexed for MEDLINE on your birthday assuming that was a business day from 1966 onward (more on earlier dates soon), not a weekend or holiday, and not during late Nov/December/first few days of January? (more on that at the bottom))

What, how can I do that, you ask?

medline[sb] AND YYYY/MM/DD[mhda]

My son's example of 2,896 articles indexed is

What if you were born in 1949-1965? (MeSH wasn't around before then, sorry)
I did not make this up, it's just fact

oldmedline[sb] AND YYYY/MM/DD

How about for the full year?

medline[sb] AND YYYY:YYYY[mhda]

For 2002 there were 615,062 articles indexed.

Compare that to my birthday (144!) & year (219,614) in the 1970s. I'm not sure if I was born on a slow day or what.

2008 ends with 676,277 articles indexed. What is the deal about nothing being indexed in late November-early January? They're preparing for 2009 MeSH.

Go ahead and make the PubMed staff wonder what the deal is with all these searches coming in! :)


Alison Aldrich said...

104 for me, and only 34 of those are in English.