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Am Fam Physician. 2005;71(1):15

If you are a user of AFP’s Web site, you will be delighted to know that we’ve installed a few new features designed to help you find the answers to your clinical questions faster than before. The result of a yearlong effort by our programmers and editors, the improvements are sure to get your attention as you browse the pages of AFP online. The main AFP search engine, accessed from the journal’s home page and other pages, has been refined to allow more specific returns to queries. It will be helpful for you to know, though, that some of the new available tools are accessed through individual article pages rather than the journal home page.

To test drive the enhancements, you might start by going and selecting any issue to search other than the most current one, by using the “AFP Search/Past Issues” link. Using the “Browse Past Issues” feature on this page, pick any previous issue of AFP in the collection, which begins with 1998 issues. Click on any article from the table of contents of one of these issues, and you will find the new features and search tools in the right-hand margin of the page. You might note that, as part of the updates, all of AFP’s 1996 and 1997 online issues, which contained incomplete content, were removed.

You will notice when you access the article you’ve selected to test that you can now e-mail a link to an associate, access the main AFP search engine, browse through a topical index, access MEDLINE to view the article citation or search for related articles, review articles on related topics published in AFP, review other articles published inAFP by the same author, and search MEDLINE for articles published by the same author. Because AFP articles now link to the PubMed database, and some time is necessary to index AFP on MEDLINE, these features will not be immediately available for articles published in the most current issue posted online.

The PubMed database of MEDLINE abstracts and citations (searchable at was developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). MEDLINE is the NLM’s database of indexed journal citations and abstracts, including over 4,000 journals published since 1966 in the United States and other countries, and updated weekly. All citations are classified according to a controlled vocabulary created by the NLM.

For departments published in AFP, many of these same features are available. From each of the department pages, you can e-mail a link to a friend, access the main AFP search engine, or browse the topic index. Selected departments link out to PubMed for a search of MEDLINE for related articles, as well as a search of MEDLINE for other publications by that author.

The best news about AFP’s Web site enhancements, though, is the enhanced main search engine that now allows considerably more specific returns to your queries. We hope you enjoy the new online features ofAFP, but you should also know these improvements represent only the first wave of enhancements we’ve been planning. Future technologic advances at AFP will allow for additional features online, with even more specific content search capabilities.

Please let us know how you like AFP’s Web site. You can send us an e-mail through theAFP home page using the reader feedback link, or you can write to us at You may also write to us using the reader feedback card located in the “Clinical Quiz” section in the first issue of each month.

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Copyright © 2005 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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