Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

A New Streamlined Way to Search US Government Documents

The US Government is one of the largest publishers in the world. Many US government documents are available to the public, with an increasing number online . These documents include health related publications from agencies as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA).

Many government documents are available through agency Web sites.
However, at times MetaLib (the US Government Printing Office [GPO]) may be the better option.
MetaLib is a federated search engine which searches over 53 federal agencies.  It searches for reports, articles, and citations (information about article as volume and page numbers).

MetaLib searching includes the following options

Basic Search – type in a word or phrase and click on Go

Advanced Search – This focused search option includes options as

  • Field searching (search by title, subject, author, year)
    For example, influenza (with drop down item subject)
  • Search using two phrases – use both lines and the drop-down menu to the right of the first line
    For example, influenza AND immunization
    OR                    influenza (subject) AND immunization (subject)
  • Quick Sets – Limit search by topic, as Health + Safety

Expert – Further options for more controlled searching, including agency searching and saving items for future use

My E-Shelf – lets you personalize your environment. Create your own resource lists, save records that you find interesting for future reference, or define your preferences for the display of results. My E-shelf is session based and will not be retained once you time out, end, close out of MetaLib or close your browser window.

For additional information, please visit the MetaLib help page.

Editor Flahiff’s note – Please keep in mind that MetaLib does not search for synonyms (as influenza when typing in flu).
Consider typing in synonyms connected by OR, as influenza OR flu in a phrase box.

Also keep in mind the limitations of subject searching. One federal agency may use a different subject term than another for the same idea or concept.

Be as specific as possible. For example swine flu OR h1n1 instead of flu.

Don’t forget to consult with a reference librarian at your local public, academic, or medical library for additional search tips!

October 19, 2010 - Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , ,

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