Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Database: MEDLINE with Full Text

For medical research, no database can match the depth and scope of MEDLINE, the index created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). "Approximately 5,200 journals published in the United States and more than 80 other countries have been selected and are currently indexed for MEDLINE. A distinctive feature of MEDLINE is that the records are indexed with NLM's controlled vocabulary, the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)."

Although some people prefer the immediacy and platform design of the NLM's related free database, PubMed, MEDLINE is the formal database that most libraries offer for biomedical research. (For more of the difference between PubMed and MEDLINE, see this NLM webpage.) Since MEDLINE is only an indexing and abstracting service, Sawyer Library has recently added a new version that enhances and expands the full-text journal component of this valuable resource. Our new database is called MEDLINE with Full Text.

EBSCOhost, the producer (and our most familiar provider of databases) says "MEDLINE with Full Text provides authoritative medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, pre-clinical sciences, and much more. MEDLINE with Full Text is also the world's most comprehensive source of full text for medical journals, providing full text for more than 1,450 journals indexed in MEDLINE. Of those, more than 1,430 have cover-to-cover indexing in MEDLINE, and of those, 553 are not found with full text in any version of Academic Search" or our other EBSCOhost electronic resources. (If you'd like to see the journal list, Ebsco has posted a PDF of it here.)

When you access the database, you will notice that although it looks somewhat like the familiar EBSCOhost interface, the search screen offers many more options. The opening field box allows you to search for everything from a GS (Gene Symbol) to an MJ (Word in a Major Subject Heading). And the limiting options below allow you to filter for human/animal study, gender, age, journal subject subset, and several other factors. When you get too many results, utilizing these variables can help you focus and search. However, doing a simple keyword combination also works. And once you do this, you can always further limit by clicking the most appropriate "Subject: Major Heading" in the left frame of your results page.

You can also limit to Full Text in the right frame, but this can be inadvisable, because although Ebsco may not have the rights to the full text, you may still be able to link to the article using our Serial Solutions 360 or custom links to other databases like Oxford Journals, SpringerLink or Wiley Interscience or the link to the library online catalog.

For those looking for a less technical approach to medical research for personal use, or for a basic English 101 paper or the like, our Health and Wellness Resource Center (another recent addition) might be a better choice. It includes many basic medical encyclopedias and dictionaries, as well as magazines and journals. Other useful Sawyer Library databases for medical research are Health Reference Center-Academic and HighWire.

We hope that you will make use of MEDLINE with Full Text the next time you are researching a medically-related topic.

[FIND MEDLINE with Full Text on our "Databases by Subject" List on the second column of our "Sciences" page. ]