Medline for quick searches

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59 , No. 10 , December 2017 , Pages 524 College Library

Medline is the largest medical database in the world with more than 20 million article citations, using a controlled vocabulary of subject headings—MeSH terms—which are organized in a hierarchical structure of broader and narrower concepts.


Medline is the largest medical database in the world with more than 20 million article citations, using a controlled vocabulary of subject headings—MeSH terms—which are organized in a hierarchical structure of broader and narrower concepts. This allows users to conduct comprehensive searches, such as systematic reviews, but did you know you can use Medline for quick searches as well?

The Ovid interface to Medline makes finding a few good articles a snap!  

1. Search a single concept using your own words (e.g., wheeze). Ovid leads you to a list of possible MeSH terms. 
2. Choose the most relevant MeSH term (e.g., asthma).
3. Use the limits located below the search bar to refine your results. 

Limits such as “review” and “core clinical journals” further focus your search on high-quality, evidence-based articles from top-tier journals such as Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, and JAMA

While Google can return good results, Ovid Medline used through the College library has two distinct advantages: first, logging in to the library website provides access to full text articles from more than 2500 journals directly from your search results. Second, Medline’s transparent MeSH structure puts you in control of your results, rather than having to rely on the commercial algorithm of a search engine.

In very few steps you can harness the power of Medline’s MeSH structure and find the most recent high-quality articles on your topic. Please contact the College library (www.cpsbc.ca/library/services-hours) for more information or help with your search.
—Paula Osachoff
Librarian

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This article is the opinion of the Library of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.

Paula Osachoff. Medline for quick searches. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 10, December, 2017, Page(s) 524 - College Library.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.


For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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