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“… the medical journal has been used by both clinicians and researchers as 
the preferred vehicle for keeping up with the ...
Index Medicus – The origin of Medline 
John Shaw Billings 1838 – 1913, surgeon, 
medical librarian & bibliographer 
The hi...
• As knowledge in medicine grows … so too the medical bibliography 
• Search complexity has increased exponentially over t...
Coletti MH, Bleich HL. Medical subject headings used to search the biomedical 
literature. JAMIA 2001; 8(4): 317–323. 
In ...
MeSH is: 
• An acronym for medical subject headings (MeSH) 
• The US National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary ...
• Searchers of MEDLINE/PubMed, library catalogues and other 
databases to assist with subject searching 
• National Librar...
• Premier international bibliographic database in biomedicine 
• About 22 million citations in MEDLINE plus 2 million ”add...
“…MEDLINE is the product of many information specialists at the NLM: serials librarians who 
obtain journal subscriptions ...
As an author, how should I select keywords so that my article will appear in MEDLINE? 
• “…The NLM does not use author-ass...
The 16 top-level categories in the MeSH hierarchy or tree structure are: 
1. Anatomy [A] 
2. Organisms [B] 
3. Diseases [C...
Most MeSH provide short descriptions or definitions for each term 
• See MeSH description for diabetes type 2 
• Text writ...
• In MeSH, ~83 subheadings further “describe” in conjunction with major 
and minor descriptors 
• Subheadings / qualifiers...
By MeSH By Keyword 
• Indexers do conceptual work 
• Subject headings are ‘pre-defined’ 
• Derived from a controlled vocab...
Medline indexes the full range of biomedical information
An introduction to biomedical searching for health librarians
An introduction to biomedical searching for health librarians
An introduction to biomedical searching for health librarians
An introduction to biomedical searching for health librarians
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An introduction to biomedical searching for health librarians

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This class is an introduction to Medline and to searching for students in LIBR534 "An introduction to health information sources & services"

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  • 3
  • Subject indexing includes:
    reviewing a journal article (or other material such as a letter or editorial)
    determining its subject content, and
    describing that content using a controlled vocabulary.  
  • Transcript of "An introduction to biomedical searching for health librarians"

    1. 1. “… the medical journal has been used by both clinicians and researchers as the preferred vehicle for keeping up with the latest developments ... medical journals have been systematically indexed for more than 100 years. The role of the journal in the biomedical communication cycle ….has been expanded profoundly by automated information retrieval.“ Brandon AN, Hill DR. Selected list of books and journals for the small medical library. Bull Med Libr Assoc 1985;73:(2):176–205. [link]
    2. 2. Index Medicus – The origin of Medline John Shaw Billings 1838 – 1913, surgeon, medical librarian & bibliographer The history of biomedical searching begins in 1879 with Index Medicus & Index Catalogue (authored by Billings)
    3. 3. • As knowledge in medicine grows … so too the medical bibliography • Search complexity has increased exponentially over time • Google-type searching* has radically changed searching in medicine • In biomedicine, advances begin in preclinical research first • New drugs & Rx tested using animal models • In-vitro – literally ‘in glass’ • Human studies & epidemiological • Phase I to IV clinical trials Giustini D. How Google is changing medicine: a medical portal is the logical next step. BMJ. 2005 Dec 24;331(7531):1487-8.
    4. 4. Coletti MH, Bleich HL. Medical subject headings used to search the biomedical literature. JAMIA 2001; 8(4): 317–323. In groups of three Take 11-12 minutes Appoint a recorder & speaker Review main points in Coletti article SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER WHAT IS MeSH? WHAT’s THE PURPOSE OF A CONTROLLED VOCABULARY? IS IT FOOLPROOF? WHAT IS SUBJECT INDEXING? Share ideas with your peers & instructor when called upon
    5. 5. MeSH is: • An acronym for medical subject headings (MeSH) • The US National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary (thesaurus) • Gives uniformity /consistency to indexing /cataloguing of biomedical literature • A distinctive feature of the MEDLINE database; however, there are other databases in medicine that use controlled vocabularies • MeSH is arranged in a poly-hierarchical manner called the MeSH Tree Structures • Updated annually (in 2014, more often…)
    6. 6. • Searchers of MEDLINE/PubMed, library catalogues and other databases to assist with subject searching • National Library of Medicine (NLM) indexers use MeSH to describe the subject content of journal articles in MEDLINE • Cataloguers and indexers use MeSH to describe books and audiovisuals at the NLM and other medical library collections
    7. 7. • Premier international bibliographic database in biomedicine • About 22 million citations in MEDLINE plus 2 million ”added” = 24mil • 5600+ international journals indexed from 1966-present • OldMedline goes back to ~1940s • Life sciences in scope but concentrated on biomedicine • 650,000+ new entries every year •~2000-4000 articles added to database every day (Tuesday to Saturday) • 700,000 new entries in 2010 • Medline is core of PubMed®; Medline is searchable via OvidSP • Index medicus back to 1879 (see IndexCat - home page) • Created by health librarians at US National Library of Medicine in Bethesda MD
    8. 8. “…MEDLINE is the product of many information specialists at the NLM: serials librarians who obtain journal subscriptions and check in the individual journal issues; indexers--biomedical subject specialists--who analyze the subject content of articles and describe concepts that are discussed, using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) controlled vocabulary; and computer and information specialists who develop and maintain the retrieval system. Every journal issue and article cited in MEDLINE has been reviewed and inspected by many individuals… US National Library of Medicine. Bibliographic Services Division. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/indexfaq.html
    9. 9. As an author, how should I select keywords so that my article will appear in MEDLINE? • “…The NLM does not use author-assigned keywords for MEDLINE indexing. The descriptors used are the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), a controlled vocabulary of more than ~27,000 terms, most of which may be qualified with one or more of 83 MeSH subheadings... • When authors consult MeSH, they MAY WANT TO select terms that are general, whereas NLM's indexing policy is to use the most specific terms available. If authors want to retrieve their articles by their preferred terms, they should ensure these words appear in titles and/or abstracts of their papers, where they will be searchable as text words. • …authors may also wish to ask their publishers about including a separate list of author keywords in article citations…” US National Library of Medicine. Bibliographic Services Division. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/indexfaq.html
    10. 10. The 16 top-level categories in the MeSH hierarchy or tree structure are: 1. Anatomy [A] 2. Organisms [B] 3. Diseases [C] 4. Chemicals and Drugs [D] 5. Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment [E] 6. Psychiatry and Psychology [F] 7. Biological Sciences [G] 8. Physical Sciences [H] 9. Anthropology, Education, Sociology and Social Phenomena [I] 10. Technology and Food and Beverages [J] 11. Humanities [K] 12. Information Science [L] 13. Persons [M] 14. Health Care [N] 15. Publication Characteristics [V] 16. Geographic Locations [Z]
    11. 11. Most MeSH provide short descriptions or definitions for each term • See MeSH description for diabetes type 2 • Text written by NLM librarians based on standard reference sources • Sources are standard texts of subject; similar to sources assignment • Citations are not given; readers referred to bibliography
    12. 12. • In MeSH, ~83 subheadings further “describe” in conjunction with major and minor descriptors • Subheadings / qualifiers provide way to group citations “co-locate” around particular clinical or administrative aspects of subject • Not every qualifier is suitable for use with every MeSH term • Subheadings belong to families or groups – • & can be exploded (more later about that!) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3827/table/pubmedhelp.T41/
    13. 13. By MeSH By Keyword • Indexers do conceptual work • Subject headings are ‘pre-defined’ • Derived from a controlled vocabulary or theasurus (MEDLINE – MeSH) • Subject & descriptor fields searched • More relevant items retrieved • Indexers index at most specific level • Subheadings can be used • Major & minor subject headings • Searchers do conceptual work • Keywords not pre-defined • Search subject, title, author, abstract, content (if available) fields • Words, parts of words, phrases, names, or combinations • Irrelevant items “false hits” • All possible synonyms, alternate terms, variants (e.g. singular, plural, adjectives); variant spellings (Canadian, UK, US)
    14. 14. Medline indexes the full range of biomedical information
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