How to retrieve specification of search used in Pubmed history item?
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3.4 years ago
TerryH • 0

I have the URL for a file download that lists the IDs of abstracts found in Pubmed. Here is the URL:

Part of the URL is a HistoryID:

NCID_1_1822965_130.14.18.97_5555_1553809026_4183211640_0MetA0_S_HStore

Is there any way to determine the search that was carried out to get the results stored in the HistoryID?

For instance, in this case, I know that the search was this one:

There are cases, however, where I have a HistoryID and I do not know the search that was used to generate it, but it would be very helpful to know.

Is it possible to get the search that was used to generate the contents of a HistoryID and, if so, how?

pubmed etools eutils e-utilities entrez • 824 views
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Terms should appear in the recent activity block that you see in bottom right of search pages. If you create an account at NCBI (or use federated login using your own institute credentials, if available) you can access your past search activity via your profile.

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I'm aware of the Recent Activity area of Pubmed. I'm trying to find a solution to my question, however, when the Recent Activity area does not provide the information I'm looking for. This would be the case, for example, when the search was done by someone else and forwarded to me as the sort of link I shared in my original post, or when the search does not get recorded in the recent activity area of My NCBI.

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I guess what you are actually asking is if you could use NCID_1_1822965_130.14.18.97_5555_1553809026_4183211640_0MetA0_S_HStore to continue with a efetch search etc.

I would suggest contacting PubMed/NCBI help desk for a definitive answer.

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I guess what you are actually asking is if you could use NCID_1_1822965_130.14.18.97_5555_1553809026_4183211640_0MetA0_S_HStore to continue with a efetch search etc.

Yes, knowing how the search was conducted would allow me to duplicate it at later times with updated Pubmed data, not just the data used to generate the IDs stored with the history.

I reached out to the Pubmed/NCBI help desk yesterday via email. This is the first time I've had to do so, however, so I'm not sure what to expect in terms of both expertise and speed of response. I also felt it might be helpful to have a solution posted here for the benefit of others. That's why I posted the original question in this thread.

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Expertise should not be an issue.It takes 2-4 business days to hear back from NCBI help desk (likely because of queries they get) when I have mailed them in past.

I will tag @vkkodali (who knows these tools well) to see if they would respond.

My personal hunch is that there is not enough info in that term to continue. You may need to minimally construct an input like

<ENTREZ_DIRECT>
<Db>gene</Db>
<WebEnv>NCID_1_9907772_130.14.18.48_9001_1553862433_1037687650_0MetA0_S_MegaStore</WebEnv>
<QueryKey>1</QueryKey>
<Count>1</Count>
<Step>1</Step>
</ENTREZ_DIRECT>


and then pass it along to whatever next you would be doing.

Note: I am using command line version of Entredirect. Value of Db would be needed.

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Your hunch was correct. The help desk got back to me and said that there is no way to retrieve the original search that generated the collection identified by the HistoryID.

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3.4 years ago
TerryH • 0

I got an answer to my question from the Pubmed/NCBI help desk. It informed me that there is no way to do what I was hoping to do. You cannot retrieve the original search that generated a collection of search results using the search's HistoryID.