Check out Dataset Catalog beta from the National Library of Medicine

Earlier this year, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) announced the launch of the beta version of a new online tool called the Dataset Catalog. This tool is intended to be the “PubMed of datasets” to help users search, find and retrieve datasets in multiple repositories through a single, user-friendly interface.

Dataset Catalog beta currently indexes datasets from dbGaP, Dryad, ImmPort, and Harvard Dataverse, and more than 20 additional repositories are on the list for inclusion in the future.  

Like PubMed, Dataset Catalog beta supports using Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT and parenthesis () when searching. For example, performing a search with “p53” or with “TP53” returns 24 or 41 results, respectively. Instead, searching with “p53 OR TP53” returns 63 results. While the functionality of the beta version is limited, the results can be ordered by relevance or date. The results can also be filtered by repositories, time frame (in decades), and MeSH terms. The default setting will display the top five MeSH terms.

Dataset records can be accessed by clicking on the dataset title in the search results. A dataset record includes a general description of the dataset, the URL where the dataset is located, the issued date, related MeSH terms, keywords, the repository where the dataset is located and the contributors of the dataset. On the right-hand side of the dataset record, there is an “Access Information” box providing dataset licensing and rights information. This box also includes a link to the dataset, which is the same link that is included in the main part of the dataset record.

The beta period will extend through June of 2024. After the beta period has ended, the tool will come down and the project will be evaluated by NLM leadership. If the evaluation goes well, NLM plans to launch the official version of Dataset Catalog in early 2025.

NLM is keen to receive feedback from researchers during the beta period. On the right-hand side of any page there is a blue “Give Feedback” button which will expose a pop out box that will accept user feedback submissions. This functionality works well when using Google Chrome but may not work on some versions of Firefox. Feel free to share your thoughts about Dataset Catalog beta with NLM.

If you are interested in learning more about Dataset Catalog beta, check out this recorded NLM webinar presented by the Dataset Catalog beta team.