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Three of the best indexes/databases to search for relevant articles are Neuroscience Abstracts, MEDLINE (Ovid), and PubMed. Below is more information about each, including searching tips. For more information about how to access the full-text of the articles on interest, visit the sub-page titled Full-text articles.
Did You Know?
Index/databases may differ due to the content that's covered or the platform that's used, but they typically include these common points:
- A box for you to enter your search terms (and in the case of the Advanced Search, multiple boxes for different search concepts)
- A pull-down menu to specify the part of the record or field where you want your search to take place (e.g., Title, Subject Heading, etc.)
- A selection of Boolean operators (e.g., and, or, not) to specify the relationships between your search terms
- Options to limit your search results by date of publication, document type, language, etc.
- Options to e-mail, save, or display your results
Note that a company may produce multiple index/databases and the search platforms may look the same, but the content indexed differs. Of course, one benefit of this is that once you are familiar with the platform, you can comfortably search the company's other indexes/databases.
This database enables neuroscientists to keep abreast of major advances within the field and their implications for other medical specialties. The database covers all aspects of vertebrate and invertebrate neuroscience, emphasizing basic research but also including such devastating neural diseases as Alzheimer's.
Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the MEDLINE database is widely recognized as the premier source for bibliographic and abstract coverage of biomedical literature. MEDLINE provides information from the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, as well as coverage in the areas of allied health, biological and physical sciences, humanities and information science as they relate to medicine and health care, communication disorders, population biology, and reproductive biology. The database contains more than 25 million citations from 5,200 biomedical journals published in the United States and other countries.
Here are some suggestions for your search strategy in MEDLINE:
- Enter keywords to find relevant subject headings.
- Click on "Focus" to make the disorder you've selected the primary content of the article
- Limit your search for review articles and English. Looking at review articles will bring you up to date on the latest research on the disorder. The review will also include extensive references for you to pursue, if you choose. Then you can search the disorder directly for recent years to find out what you've missed.
Introduction to MEDLINE on Ovid
Ovid provides a comprehensive 30 minute tutorial on the use of Medline. There are several sections so feel free to choose what you want from the left sidebar.
Available via the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Entrez life sciences retrieval system, PubMed was developed at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the U.S. National Institutues of Health (NIH). Entrez is the text-based search and retrieval system used at NCBI for services including PubMed, Nucleotide and Protein Sequences, Protein Structures, Complete Genomes, Taxonomy, OMIM, and many others. PubMed provides access to bibliographic information that includes MEDLINE and OLDMEDLINE.
Here are some suggestions for your search strategy in PubMed:
- Enter your search using keywords. You can supply your own Boolean operator by entering it in CAPS. Then check the Search Details box to the right to find out how the search engine interpreted your search. You can also edit your search and click on Search to continue. By clicking on "See More," you are taken to a screen that provides more details about your search and another option to edit.
- Using subject headings (MeSH) will make your search more accurate. As you review pertinent articles, looking at the subject headings can be helpful to find related concepts or terminology. Then you have more possibilities for your search. To find the MeSH terms assigned to the article, please click on the title which will take you to the complete record. At the bottom of the screen, you'll see "MeSH Terms" and a link to display them.
- Click on the filters in the left sidebar to limit to "Review" or English. If you don't see the filter you'd like to use, please click on "Show additional filters." This option is useful if you'd like to focus on a particular age group.
Comparison of Medline and PubMed
Medline and PubMed are literature databases for medicine, nursing and other health disciplines. As both databases provide content from the National Library of Medicine, there is a great deal of overlap. Both contain citations to articles in English and other languages from 1942 to the present. New records are added daily. Both databases rely on Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to describe the content of the articles and other publication types. There are significant differences, however, that will influence your choice. Medline and PubMed use different search engines with varying degrees of user friendliness. The content of Medline includes 22 million citations from more than 5,600 journal titles. Citations as they are received by the publisher are entered into the Pre-Medline database and then moved to Medline when processing of the record is complete. PubMed includes 25 million records for articles, books (NCBI Bookshelf), author manuscripts, and all journals in PubMed Central, an open access journal repository. PubMed can also serve as an access point to the genetics data databases offered by NCBI. Citation records that require processing are included in PubMed; there is no separate database requiring searching. Finally, Medline is a University Libraries subscription so access will come to an end when you graduate. PubMed is freely available to everyone.