SUMSearch 2.0

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, February 2018


See also Citeseerx | Google scholar | PubMed - MEDLINE | Scirus | TRIP Database & TRIP Answers

SUMSearch 2 is a meta-search tool whose interface has recently improved, and it has been given a new name and domain location. The original Sumsearch engine was developed at the University of Texas Health Center and designed to retrieve articles from a number of authoritative evidence-based information sources. However, SUMSearch 2 is housed at the University of Kansas School of Medicine & Medical Center. It employs a number of novel techniques to collate medical evidence from a variety of information sources.


SUMSearch 2 simultaneously searches for original studies, systematic reviews and practice guidelines from multiple sources and displays them accordingly. According to its website, on the fly searches for reviews via SUMSearch are revised up to as many as six (6) times while searches for guidelines and systematic reviews are revised once each. This form of searching is called contingency or backup searching and is one of the main reason why response times are never quite what one expects in SUMSearch . In any case, search results are culled from PubMed, DARE and NGC and then merged and sorted. As SUMSearch executes live searches of external websites in response to queries, it alleges that it is "...always up-to-date."

SUMSearch 2.0

Upon entering your search terms, SUMSearch 2 will search the following resources:

Depending of the search focus, SUMSearch will search PubMed with the highest sensitivity filters developed by Haynes et al.

Major changes since SUMSearch 1.0

  1. SUMSearch 2 is a more robust product in displaying results (but it still could be faster)
  2. Guidelines from PubMed and the National Guidelines Clearinghouse are merged into one list, and sorted by year of publication
  3. Systematic reviews from DARE and PubMed are merged into one list and sorted by year of publication
  4. The homepage now points to the Image Challenge, recent essays in JAMA and Annals, Physician's First Watch and ClinDx and medical news headlines from Feedburner
  5. Widgets for these new features are also included in SUMSearch 2
  6. Results screen has this message: "Consider performing your search at TRIP. Trip curates the articles it indexes so you may get a smaller number of more helpful documents."

Comments about interface & content

  • At the SUMSearch search screen, enter your terms; check for MeSH equivalent (a new window will open)
  • SumSearch searches sources in logical order, and returns three main categories
  • SumSearch queries sites that contain evidence written by qualified health professionals from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), DARE, and the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC). All three are government-sponsored and have limited biases due to no conflicts of interest; journals, systematic reviews, and practice guidelines in SumSearch are validated by NLM, DARE and NGC websites
  • SumSearch uses validated search filters developed by various researchers to optimally search for articles; it's a useful tool in aggregating medical evidence but should not be used as a replacement for literature reviews in native databases; however, SumSearch suffers from low visibility on the web compared to Google, Yahoo and Bing, and even the TRIP Database
  • The question of why physicians would use it over PubMed has not been satisfactorily answered.


The SUMSearch search engine was originally devised by Bob Badgett and went online in 1998 as "Medical SmartSearch". SUMSearch 1.0 was moved to SUMSearch 2 in August 2010.


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