Via the public-semweb-lifesci mailing list:
"The NCBI Resource Locator provides stable, uniform addressing for NCBI content, making it easy to link to individual records. Some NCBI resources also provide services (like search) through these URLs."
How does it work?
Each URL has the form
- <noun> is an NCBI resource (e.g., pubmed, gene, nucleotide, etc.)
- <verb> is the action to perform (e.g., search, get,etc.). If <verb> is missing, the default verb "get" is used.
- <expression> is data used by the action to perform the request
Show the PubMed record with pmid 12345
Search PubMed for "cancer"
Search PubMed for "human p53"
Search Homologene for "dystrophin"
Note: but I guess this kind of REST URL doesn't allow to specify the output format (XML, ASN1, etc...)