Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

MedTerm Search Assist – A database to share biomedical terminology and strategies for comprehensive searches

MedTerm Search Assist

By librarians for librarians — A database to share
biomedical terminology and strategies for comprehensive searches

From a Medlib-L listerv entry dated 15 July 2011

The MedTerm Search Assist> database was developed at the Health Sciences Library System, University of Pittsburgh, for librarians to share terminology, MEDLINE search strategies, and search tips with one another for comprehensive searches such as systematic reviews. Any librarian can add a new term into the database or suggest additions for existing records.

Before being displayed in the database, all submitted terms are reviewed for obvious errors such as misspellings, but are not reviewed for thoroughness, quality, or accuracy.

To contribute or browse the database please visit:>.

For comments or questions regarding the database please fill out the available form:
<> or e-mail the project managers  directly: Ahlam Saleh, or Melissa Ratajeski,

July 18, 2011 Posted by | Librarian Resources | , , , | 2 Comments

When PubMed searching yields few good results – 28 biomedical literature search tools evaluated

Logo for PubMed, a service of the National Lib...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever searched PubMed and have been disappointed with the results?
Or have been frustrated with the search interface?

Read on for other ways to search the biomedical literature.

From the Krafty Librarian posting, 28 April 2011

PubMed and beyond: a survey of web tools for searching biomedical literature” (free full text) from Database (2011) Vol. 2011, doi: 10.093/database/baq036

The article looks at and reviews 28 web tools for searching the biomedical literature and compares them to PubMed and each other and has a website dedicated to tracking existing tools and future advances in the area of biomedical literature search tools.


The past decade has witnessed the modern advances of high-throughput technology and rapid growth of research capacity in producing large-scale biological data, both of which were concomitant with an exponential growth of biomedical literature. This wealth of scholarly knowledge is of significant importance for researchers in making scientific discoveries and healthcare professionals in managing health-related matters. However, the acquisition of such information is becoming increasingly difficult due to its large volume and rapid growth. In response, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is continuously making changes to its PubMed Web service for improvement. Meanwhile, different entities have devoted themselves to developing Web tools for helping users quickly and efficiently search and retrieve relevant publications. These practices, together with maturity in the field of text mining, have led to an increase in the number and quality of various Web tools that provide comparable literature search service to PubMed. In this study, we review 28 such tools, highlight their respective innovations, compare them to the PubMed system and one another, and discuss directions for future development. Furthermore, we have built a website dedicated to tracking existing systems and future advances in the field of biomedical literature search. Taken together, our work serves information seekers in choosing tools for their needs and service providers and developers in keeping current in the field.

Not only does the article look at these 28 interfaces but it also looks at the recent changes to PubMed that were often influenced by these and other outside interfaces.

There is no way any library or librarian can teach or support every one of these interfaces, but this paper is free and is a nice resource to whip out when somebody asks about one of them.



  • Biomedical Literature Search Tools – Links to PubMed alternatives as well as a tool selection filter (natural language, similar results, semantic search with biological concepts)

* indicates the 28 systems surveyed in Lu, Database 2011 (PubMed and Beyond)

# indicates other systems added to the list after the above publication through request or regular update (last update: April 2011)

  • Third Party PubMed Tools (slide presentation, highlighting a few PubMed alternatives, Alison Aldrich, National Network of Libraries of Medicine)
  • PubMed Alternatives: Research Guide
    Margaret Henderson, Virginia Commonwealth University Tompkins-McCaw Library
  • PubMed® Online and App Resources (NLM) includes links to PubMed alternatives (including individual search engines/interfaces)


April 29, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

PubMed Toxicology Subset Streamlines Biomedical Searches in the Professional Literature

Logo for PubMed, a service of the National Lib...

Image via Wikipedia


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) PubMed database offers a toxicology subset. This subset is created by NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) to facilitate searching for subjects in the area of toxicology.

Here is how to limit searches to toxicology:

  • Go to Pubmed
  • Click on Limits (above search box), and select Toxicology under Subsets


Click on Advanced Search (above search box) , then Limits while building the search

The toxicology subset can also be placed in a search as “tox [sb]”.   Example:   lead AND tox [sb]

The PubMed database comprises more than 19 million citations for biomedical articles from MEDLINE and life science journals. Citations may include links to full-text articles from PubMed Central or publisher web sites.

Here are some PubMed tutorials and guides

Related Articles

March 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

Alcohol Studies Database

Alcohol Studies Database

From the Web site

Welcome to the new Alcohol Studies user interface. New features include:

  • Improved subject selection

  • Ability to email citations

  • More flexible boolean operators

  • Better error checking

This site provides access to the Alcohol Studies Database.  The database contains over 80,000 citations for journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, conference papers, and audio-visual materials.
With this release we are offering a more intuitive interface which also provides much faster response times. Feedback appreciated.

The site was developed by the Scholarly Communication Center, the Center of Alcohol Studies , and the Rutgers University Libraries

Search the Database


February 14, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agriculture and Public Health Gateway


The Agriculture and Public Health Gateway allows researchers, journalists, advocates, and educators to explore the links between agriculture and public health by searching several databases simultaneously, or by browsing a vetted collection of reports, journal articles and other resources.
This gateway is A project of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

From the About page:

he Agriculture & Public Health Gateway connects visitors to numerous information sources within topic areas that link these two fields. It can be a powerful tool for researchersjournalistsadvocates and educators, providing access to recommended resources linked from the site, as well as to powerful database search capabilities.

The two primary means of accessing information through the Gateway are the Browse by Subject collections and our Database Search:

Browse by Subject

Find collections of recommended resources on specific public health and agriculture topics. Each collection is divided into four categories:

  • Reports & Other Documents – white papers, reports from government agencies or non-governmental organizations, fact sheets, brochures, or other “gray” literature on a topic.
  • Peer-reviewed Journal Articles – a sampling of some of the best research on each topic.
  • Relevant Organizations – includes governmental and non-governmental agencies, academic centers, and private-sector sources that are considered key information resources within a topic area.
  • Other Tools & Resources – databases, books, films, videos, slide presentations, newspaper articles, or consumer guides, as well as other organizations’ lists of resources or Web links.

Search Databases

Concurrently search these key electronic libraries (and the Gateway site itself):

  • AGRICOLA – National Agricultural Library collection includes more than 3.3 million bibliographic records of journal articles, theses, patents, software, and technical reports related to agriculture from 1979 to the present.
  • PubMed – A service of the National Library of Medicine that includes more than 18 million citations for biomedical articles dating to the 1950s. Includes links to full-text articles.
  • NASD – the National Agricultural Safety Database, a project of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • EarthTrends – environmental database by the World Resources Institute that tracks environmental, social, and economic trends.

Link to Other Resources

Other Gateway resources include links to glossaries, listservs and newsletters, online photos and images, and event listings related to agriculture and public health.

Register as a Gateway Member

Additional services are available to users who register with the Gateway. For more details, visit Benefits of Registration

The gateway also provides links to factsheets, listservs and newsletters, images, and events.

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Databases from the US Government

The Pollak Library California State University Fullerton has published a list of Free Databases from the US Government.
This item came via the Yahoo group NetGold, and was published by the owner Librarian David P. Dillard
Here are the the links to free Health and Medicine resources.

[Flahiff’s note: MedlinePlus is a great starting point for consumer level health/medical information. It goes beyond news to give great starting points for information on diseases and conditions. It includes videos (as surgeries), links to directories (as hospital and physician directories), options for email alerts, Twitter, and much more.

Drugs @ FDA is a great source, however, the NLM Drug Information Portal is a more comprehensive resource. This portal includes both consumer level and professional level drug information resources, including Drugs@FDA, MedlinePlus resources, and references from scientific journals as well as toxicology resources.

PubMed is the largest indexer of health/medical articles written by scientists, physicians,and other health care related professionals. Not all of the articles are available for free online. Please click here for suggestions on how to get individual health/medical articles for free or low cost.]

  • PLoS: Public Library of Science
    Full text. PLoS publishes peer-reviewed, open access scientific and medical journals that include original research as well as timely feature articles. All PLoS articles are immediately freely accessible online, are deposited in the free public archive PubMed Central, and can be redistributed and reused according to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
  • Cancer Literature in PubMed
    Search the Cancer subset in PubMed.
  • Drugs@FDA
    Search by drug name, active ingredient, application number, and more.
  • PillBox Beta

    Aids  in the identification of unknown solid dosage pharmaceuticals using images to identify pills (color, shape, etc) as well as a separate advanced search (imprint, drug manufacture, ingredients, etc)

  • Household Products Database
    Health and safety information on householdproducts.
  • MedlinePlus
    Health news on 800 topics on conditions, diseases, and wellness.
  • National Academies Press
    Full text books on behavioral and social sciences, biology, computers, earth sciences, education, energy, engineering, environmental issues, food and nutrition, health and medicine, industry and labor, math, chemistry, physics, space and aeronautics, transportation, and more.
  • National Library of Medicine: Databases
    Linds to databases and electronic resources from the NIH.
  • NLM Gateway
    From NIH. Accesses Medline, PubMed, Toxline, DART,, and other government databases.
  • NLM/NIH Resources
    Links to NLM, NIH and other federal government resources.
  • Nutrient Data Laboratory Database
    The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) has the responsibility to develop USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference,  the foundation of most food and nutrition databases in the US, used in food policy, research and nutrition monitoring.
  • Nutrient Data Laboratory [USDA]
    Search by keywords to retrieve nutrient data.
  • PubMed
    More than 19 million citations to biomedical articles from MedLine and life science journals. Some links to full text.
  • PubMed Central
    Full text  articles from PubMed, the free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literataure.

December 21, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UNFPA Launches New Online Database, Country Profiles to Track Progress in Maternal and Reproductive Health

From the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) news item

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has recently launched MDG 5b+ Info, an online database system designed to track global progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other related indicators of maternal health at the country level. Adapted from the UN-endorsed DevInfo database system, MDG 5b+ Info compiles the latest relevant household survey data with international data and allows for easy generation of tables, graphs and maps for inclusion in presentations, reports and advocacy materials.

The MDG 5b+ Info database contains data on sexual and reproductive health indicators drawn from national Demographic and Health Surveys and other MDG indicators at the global, national and sub-national levels, where available. The MDG 5b+ Info database is published online by UNFPA at,  providing worldwide access to this important dataset. Policy makers and planners are encouraged to access the data to support evidence-based decision making on issues related to maternal and reproductive health.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health News Items, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Access to Occupational Therapy Database until Oct 23rd

Access to the Occupational Therapy Database(OTD) is free from October 17th to the 23rd.
According to the About page , it is a “a Canadian-based and Canadian-developed occupational therapy journal literature search service”.

The publishers state it “contains over 9000 abstracts from more than 20 global OT journals since 1970”.
A list of the indexed journals may be found here.

Many academic and medical libraries have a paid subscription to OTD. Call ahead and ask for a reference librarian to answer questions about using it (for free)  at their library (as the availability of a printer for the public). You may also consider inquiring about other fee-based medical and scientific research databases that might be available (for free) to the public who come to their library.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources | , | Leave a comment

ebrary Offers Free Breast Cancer Searchable Information Center

From an ebrary news announcement (via a Resource Shelf item)

September 29, 2010 12:21 PM Eastern Daylight Time

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ebrary®, a leading provider of digital content products and technologies, today announced it has collaborated with librarians from other organizations to create an open access database of breast cancer publications. The site is available today at

“Breast cancer strikes over 1.3 million women around the globe each year and is the leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society”

ebrary’s Breast Cancer Searchable Information Center features a range of authoritative fact sheets, posters, and other materials from government agencies such as the National Cancer Institute, National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, United States Food and Drug Administration, Office of Women’s Health, and other authoritative sources.

“Breast cancer strikes over 1.3 million women around the globe each year and is the leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society,” said Christopher Warnock, CEO of ebrary. “We hope that by using our technology to make some of the most important information contained within government documents more discoverable, and by making DASH! available to others who wish to contribute relevant materials, we can provide a helpful resource for anyone who needs information on this prevalent disease.”

ebrary’s Breast Cancer Searchable Information Center is just one of a growing number of open access collections created by ebrary staff and customers. For a listing of additional databases visit

All ebrary products and services include powerful tools for making the research process quick and efficient including:

  • Available anytime through any web enabled device including the iPad — no cumbersome downloads.
  • Multiple options for searching, navigating, and browsing.
  • ebrary InfoTools™, which turns every word into a portal to additional information on the web.
  • Notes and highlights that are automatically stored on a personal bookshelf.
  • Ability to copy/paste and print text with automatic citations and URL hyperlinks back to the source.
  • Personal bookshelves with moveable folders that can be shared with others.
  • Much more!

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , | 1 Comment

National Library of Medicine Makes Numerous Resource Updates Available Online

The NLM exhibit booth at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association featured theater presentations to bring users up-to-date on several NLM products and services.
The presentation recordings are listed below and can also be accessed from the NLM Distance Education Program Resources page.

Presentations Include: Update…27 min.

DailyMed…16 min.

Health Services Research & Public Health Update…21 min.

History of Medicine Update…25 min.

Introduction to NCBI Molecular Databases…16 min.

MedlinePlus Update…22 mins.

MyMedicationList and RxNorm…20 min.

PubMed Review…24 min.

Resources for Disaster Planning and Response…24 min.

Toxicology & Environmental Health Update…14 min.

UMLS Update…22 min.

Using My Bibliography to Manage Compliance with the NIH Public
Access Policy…17 min.

Source: NLM Technical Bulletin

June 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: