2.         Create New Robots

This section demonstrates how to create a new robot to automatically download abstracts from the Pubmed literature search and save the abstracts in a local XML file.  The robot will ask the user for keywords and follows the “Next” pages automatically.  The final robot can be found from the “pubmed.irb” on the irobotsoft website: http://irobotsoft.com/robots/pubmed.irb


First, we need to create a new robot.  Click on the menu Fileà New, and create a new robot file.  You may want to name the new robot in a suffix of ‘.irb’, for example, ‘new.irb’, as in the following interface.

You can set an encryption key for the new robot file.  If set, the encryption key will be asked whenever the robot file is open.  We will leave it empty for now, and click [OK].


The newly created robot has no any Web navigation task.  To create a new navigation task, put a task name in the dropdown box under the Navigation Task Name from the left panel, such as “pubmed”, as shown below, and click the [New Task] button to create the new task. 



Web actions can be added to the robot task in either of the two ways: 1) by recording; and 2) by step-by-step customization.  We will first show how to record a basic “skeleton” of the new robot.

2.1.        Record Actions

To record Web navigation actions, open the robot recorder from menu: Viewà Record New Robots, and the robot recorder will be shown in the left panel, as in the following figure:


We press on the recorder button and start recording, like


We then navigate from the browser as usual:

1) Go to the Pubmed web site:  Enter “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed” in the URL bar and click [Go] as in the following figure:

The browser will bring up the Pubmed Web site like the following and you will notice there is a new task action “Go to Url: ***” shown under the action list.


2) Enter a keyword in the Web page, like “Human cancer” and click [Go] in the Web page.  It shows:

You can also see there is a new action “Submit form with ‘group2’” shown under the action list. 


           3) Click on a link of the result page, like the second link: “Nordlander C. Karlsson ***”, and it will show a page like:

A new action will also appear under the action list: “Get a list of links like ***” (it may take a while before the recorder figure out this action ;)).


            4) Mark the title of the abstract until a new action “Extract data like ***” appears under the action list, like:


            5) Mark the abstract until a new action “Extract data like ***” appears under the action list.


            6) Mark the Authors until a new action “Extract data like ***” appears under the action list.


            7) Release the recorder button on the left panel to stop recording. 


Now we have the skeleton of the “pubmed” robot available as in the following:


Press the [Run] button on the left panel to test-run this robot.  You will see it does everything correctly.  You may want to skip the following section “Create Actions Step-by-Step” if the recording can fit your need.