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Guides to SPH Library Resources: Searching the 3 Major PH Databases

Strategies for Effective Searching

Searching library databases is a bit different from searching Google.  Although there is no single absolute way to conduct research, certain methods and skills can make your research efforts more effective. The key to being research savvy when searching online is to use common search techniques that you can apply to almost any database, including article databases, online catalogs and even commercial search engines such as Google or Yahoo. This guide focuses on the basic principles for performing a literature search using one of the main health databases such as Ovid Medline, Academic Search Complete or Pubmed.                                                                                                                                                                                     



Strategies for Searching Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete offers an enormous collection of full-text journals, providing users access to critical information from many sources unique to this database. In addition, it includes peer-reviewed full text for STEM research, as well as for the social sciences and humanities. Scholarly content covers a broad range of important areas of academic study, including anthropology, engineering, law, sciences and more. Here is a video tutorial on the basics of searching in Academic Search Complete.

Strategies for Searching Ovid

What is Ovid MEDLINE?

MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine's premier database that contains bibliographic citations and author abstracts from more than 4,600 biomedical journals published in the United States and abroad.  Medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, allied health and pre-clinical sciences are some of the main concentrations of sources contained within MEDLINE. Ovid MEDLINE is one of two primary ways to access MEDLINE (the other being PubMed).  Ovid MEDLINE utilizes the NLM's controlled vocabulary thesaurus, otherwise known as Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).  MeSH terms are used because they provide a consistent manner of retrieving information despite possible variations in naming.  Users have control over which subject headings are used, and search strategies may be saved for future use. Here is a video tutorial on basic searching in Ovid and guide to searching in Ovid Medline:

Strategies for Searching in PubMed

                                                                                                                                                           PubMed is basically a free version of Medline. It lets you search millions of journal citations and abstracts in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences.It includes access to MEDLINE® and to citations for selected articles in life science journals not included in MEDLINE. PubMed also provides access to additional relevant Web sites and links to the other NCBI molecular biology resources.

Here is a brief tutorial on how to use MeSH terms to build a better PubMed Query (from NLM, Feb. 2011, online presentation):

Additional Resources

Search filters for Ovid Medline & PsycINFO, PubMed, and CINAHL

Search filters are "canned" search strategies.  The filters developed at UTHealth School of Public Health are designed to locate specific types of studies.