May 21, 2022

Reminder: A Series Changes to Improve Usability of Begin this Week

From the National Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin:

2017-06-18_14-28-00Beginning June 19, 2017, will undergo a series of changes focused on improving the ability to search, display, and review information about clinical research studies registered with the site.

This article highlights information about the first of these efforts — the transition to the design and features available on the current version of the beta site (see Beta Version of Available for Testing).

Additional designs and features will be evaluated on a new version of the beta site over the next few months.

Changes will be introduced on as they are ready, following testing and validation. It is anticipated that the most significant set of changes will be available on in September 2017. More information will be provided in future NLM Technical Bulletin notices.


As of May 25, 2017, lists information about 245,500 clinical studies and expanded access in all 50 states and 200 countries.


Background and Phased Implementation Approach to Updates
Following the last significant update to in September 2012 (see New Style and New Content for, NLM continued conducting user studies with outside usability experts, analyzing online survey results, and reviewing user suggestions for additional features and use cases. This work led to incremental changes and, ultimately, the release of a beta site. The current version of the beta site has been available for public user testing since February 2017.

In September 2016, Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH Director, announced a new partnership between NLM and 18F, a digital services consultancy within the U.S. General Services Administration, to continue work on making a consumer-friendly resource (see the NIH Director’s Blog post on Clinical Trials: Sharing of Data and Living Up to Our End of the Bargain). Additionally, the 21st Century Cures Act, enacted into Federal law in December 2016, requires NIH “to receive recommendations with respect to enhancements” of from consultation with various stakeholders, including patients, researchers, physicians, industry representatives, developers of health information technology, and other Federal agencies.

Since February 2017, 18F has conducted user research with end-users representing various stakeholders; characterized gaps between the information, search capabilities, and features that offers, and what users expect it to offer; and provided user-oriented recommendations and solutions. This work with 18F, which will continue through September 2017, also addresses the legal requirements under Section 2054 of the Cures Act.

The June 19, 2017, update of will incorporate some of the initial 18F recommendations. However, further development, testing, and validation of additional 18F recommendations and findings are needed before being implemented.


Coming Soon to
Additional enhancements to are under development and include, but are not limited to:

  • Searching for U.S. studies by ZIP code and radius in miles
  • Redesigning the study record layout to make the most relevant information more prominent

The COMPLETE article includes additional info including a look at new features in the current release.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.