Quertle is a kind of PubMed alternative that uses a relationship approach to finding citations. As an example, the vendor rep explained that if you search for Diseases of aging, the system looks for citations in which those terms have some kind of relationship, not just appearance in remote parts of the same title or abstract. After conducting a search, the user can focus the results by time period, publication type (such as reviews, full-text documents, news, and white papers), and by key concepts displayed in the sidebar. Quertle searches MEDLINE/PubMed (and is continuously updated from that source), as well as full-text PubMed Central and BioMed Central documents, and news, and scientific whitepapers and research posters submitted to the site.

Quertle uses a “Power Terms” system for searching which I need to read more about; more information is provided in their Help documentation.

I had a number of questions for the Quertle rep, through which I learned that links to PubMed and PubMed Central are included in the results, but they are not yet set up with a LinkOut-type solution, although that is something they are investigating. Additionally, references can be exported in RIS or MODS formats for use with citation management tools.

The site is advertising-supported, and I also asked about whether the sponsored ads have any affect whatsoever on the ranking of the search results, and was assured that they do not. The ads display contextually (so are related to the search), but are indented and marked as Sponsored so it’s pretty clear what they are. I asked a follow-up question to be sure, that an ad-buyer promoting a specific drug, for example, couldn’t get their product pushed up the results in searches for therapy for a particular condition, and again was reassured that that was not the case.