Just like some people like their cars to have a manual transmission while others prefer automatics, librarians tend to fall into one of two MEDLINE camps, those who prefer Ovid and those who prefer PubMed.
I am an Ovid kind of gal. Don’t get me wrong I can do a PubMed search and have done them and still do them frequently when I need to, but my MOC (MEDLINE Of Choice) is Ovid. Since I am in Ovid often enough I tend to see and remember better certain things in my daily searches that might be good teaching methods or examples .
Because I am not in PubMed as often as Ovid, I don’t have the experience of running across good search examples that I can pass on or use while teaching. That is why I try and pay particular attention to good PubMed teaching examples as the come up. I either try and blog about them, tag them, or print them off and save them for later.
The NLM Technical Bulletin has a nice example of how to do effective phrase searching in PubMed. This is nice because certain things like “text messaging” (their example) are best searched as phrases. As the Tech Bull notes it is important to look at the Search Details to know whether your term is being applied in the MEDLINE database as you want/think it to be.
Really I tell everyone when I teach PubMed to look at the Search Details. Sometimes I wonder how much they really do that or whether the nodding of their head is not in agreement with my point but instead to the beat of some song they have stuck in their head.
Those of you in other parts of the world or who work with a lot of international medical professionals who might prefer to learn PubMed in their native language you might be interested to know that the National Library of Medicine has several PubMed guides in other languages other than English.
Information is available in:
Categories: PubMed Tags:
Several librarians at my institution were interested in seeing/listening to the MeSH at 50 – 50th Anniversary of Medical Subject Headings by Robert Braude at NLM a few weeks ago. Unfortunately at the time, we couldn’t get it to work correctly for some reason.
Good news, the program is now available under Past Events on the NIH’s videocast site. One of the librarians here has already viewed it and said that much of the talk is about “what was (and wasn’t) available/used BEFORE MeSH, and about the initial development of MeSH itself.” The program lasts about an hour and according the one viewer, there aren’t a lot of “visuals” so it is easy to listen to while multi-tasking at your desk.
I remember listening to a discussion a few weeks ago about library budgets and how dollars are allocated. If you take away salary and benefits much of the library’s budget is used on resources like databases, journals, books etc., which isn’t much of a surprise. Also not a surprise is how much of this money is now put towards electronic resources and how less is put towards printed resources. I do think libraries in general have a way to go before they are entirely online and have no printed books or physical materials on the shelves. (As to if and when that ever happens, it will probably depend on the type of library and its scope.) But there is no doubt that we are collecting more online and the amount we are spending for online resources has increased significantly. Depending on how your library classifies resources you might find that at least 70% of the total resource budget goes to online resources.
What was kind of surprising was the percentage of staff costs that go toward the non-electronic resources. What do I mean by this? Well on a very simple model (one person library) think of how much time a person spends checking in printed journals, binding journals, ordering and processing printed books, photo copying, routing table of contents, etc.
Now ask the question, “Is your library staff structure in balance with your resource spending?” While the amount staff time may not be exactly equal to your spending, it should not be completely out of whack. For example how effective is it for your library to have people focusing on BackMed to fill out a collection when your library is shrinking its print collection? Do you need to have somebody checking print issues in when you get the journal online? How indepth do you need to process a printed book if it is available online?
Let us look at it from another angle. How many people access your website and how many staff do you have to maintain it? How many staff are doing the high touch outreach services and also adding online tutorials to those they can’t reach? Now compare that with the how you staff the reference desk where you pay your staff to sit and wait for a question.
These are overly simple examples, the true answers can be a little more trickey. There are also exceptions to every rule and there are reasons we do what we do, but one of the reasons should not be, “We’ve just always done it this way.” It is easy to fall in to ruts and continue what we have always been doing. We are creatures of habit. But every now and then we need to step back and look at our library from a different perspective, look at where the majority of our money is going and whether we are appropriating staff time, knowledge and skills accordingly.
Did you know that there are citations to medical videos in PubMed? It was news to me and several other librarians today. I was at the New England Journal of Medicine Library Advisory Board today discussing many things, among them the difficulty of finding good medical videos. That is when one of the people with NEJM mention that their Videos in Clinical Medicine, were indexed and in PubMed. Almost all of us were stunned, we said, “No they’re not, we’ve never seen them.” So we grabbed a laptop found the title of one of the videos from the NEJM website and searched for it in PubMed. Low and behold it was in there.
It turns out that videos are being added to PubMed and they are indexed under the Publication Type: Interactive Tutorial which was added to the database in 2008. So why didn’t we librarians in the room know about this? Well if you search for any PubMed citation where the Publication Type is an Interactive Tutorial you will notice that there are only 758 citations. In a database of over 20 million citation, 759 is less than a drop in a bucket. It is more like a drop in the ocean, no wonder we didn’t know the videos were there.
Finding good medical videos is always difficult, it is nice to know that PubMed is indexing some of them and PubMed is another tool for discovering them.
According to the Technical Bulletin, PubMed has added its 20 millionth citation and PubMed Central has logged its 2 millionth article.
I almost feel like their should be some balloons falling from the ceiling, noise makers whistling, and confetti and streamers flying about to celebrate the occasion. Perhaps this is because I am a nerdy librarian who thinks 20 million citations is cool. Or it could be because I missed the party entirely (the bulletin mentions this actually happened in July.) Oh well.
Happy Belated 20 Millionth!
If you want to read a brief history about PubMed, go to the Technical Bulletin.