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NCBI Introduces PubReader, a New View for Full-Text Articles

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NCBI Introduces PubReader, a New View for Full-Text Articles

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

As announced recently in the National Library of Medicine’s Technical Bulletin, NCBI now offers PubReader – a new, reader-friendly display format for full-text articles in the PubMed Central (PMC) literature database.

Leveraging the features of the latest underlying web technologies (HTML5 and CSS3), PubReader addresses usability and readability challenges specific to viewing research articles on tablets and other small-screen devices. PubReader also works on desktop and laptop computers.

Any article that is available in full-text HTML in PMC is viewable in the PubReader format. Furthermore, the PubReader functions with any of the latest browsers without the need to download an app or any additional software.

Like a printed journal article, PubReader breaks a document into multiple columns and pages to improve readability and navigation. PubReader can expand a page to whatever fits 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 adjust automatically.

The PubReader presentation shown in Figure 1 offers a variety of common options for moving between pages. You can use the PageUp, PageDown, RightArrow, LeftArrow keys on a keyboard, tap or click in the right or left margin (Figure 1A), use finger swipes on a touch screen device, or use the progress bar (Figure 1B) at the bottom of the screen to jump across the page range.

There is an image strip (Figure 1C) at the bottom of the PubReader page with thumbnails of all figures and tables in the article, allowing you to 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, as well as tables and citations. You will discover that PubReader has a number of other features to improve your reading experience as you use it in PMC.

PubReader Example

Figure 1. PubReader display of the first screen of PMC3396517 as seen on a standard desktop display. One of the figures in the image strip (C) in the document is selected popping up an enlarged version. A. Clicking the right margin advances to the next screen. Clicking on the icon at B toggles between the image strip (C) and a linear progress bar (not) shown.

You can read more about the PubReader view on the PubReader about page. You can try it directly with an example record (PMCID: 3396517) or by clicking on the “PubReader” link for an article in a PMC search result list or in the article itself as shown in Figure 2.

PubReader Link

Figure 2. Accessing the PubReader from standard record views in PMC. The link is in the Formats section in the full PMC article (Top Panel) and under the summary in search results (Bottom Panel).

The CSS and JavaScript code used to create the PubReader display are freely available from NCBITools on the public code repository GitHub. Anyone can use or adapt this code to display journal articles or other content that is structured as an HTML5 document.

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