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Database Tutorials

This LibGuide contains step by step instructions for majority of research databases available in the Wolfgram collection.

MEDLINE

About this Database

MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) international index.  This database contains more than 28 million references to journal articles with a focus on medical literature.  MEDLINE is the primary component of PubMed, but the interface is more user friendly for advanced searches.

Navigate to the MEDLINE Database

Library Home Page A to Z Database ListMEDLINE

MEDLINE Search Tips & Tricks

Step 1: Pick your search terms

Before you begin searching, think about the terms you want to use.  Take a moment to brainstorm any potential synonyms for your search terms.  Is there a more technical term used by people in the field?  Are there brand name or generic options?  Is there a word that may have been used in the past but is now considered outdated? 

Step 2: Use the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Part 1: MeSH 2021 Link

Databases use tagging systems, much like social media hashtags, to connect all of their results.  Librarians call these subject headings and, like different social media platforms, each database has a preferred set of tags.  In MEDLINE, we can search for the best tags using the MeSH 2021 link in the header.

 

Clicking the "MeSH 2021" link takes you to a new search interface. 

Part 2: Searching for MeSH

This is where we can find the preferred tags.  Take your search terms from Step 1 and enter them here.

Once you have searched for your term, you are taken to a list of the preferred tags, or subject headings, that this database uses. 

Part 3: Building Your Search

  1. The text after the colon is the term from your original search.
  2. If there is a preferred term, it will be after "Use."
  3. Some terms have a small chat bubble icon to the right, these are short definitions of the term called "Scope Notes" and they help you determine if the term is correct for your search.
  4. If you want to use one of these preferred terms in your search, select the tick box under "Major Concept."
  5. Most searches include more than one search term, if you want to add another term to your search, select the "Browse Additional Terms" link at the bottom of the results table and repeat Step 2, Part 2.
  6. Once you are happy with the terms you have found, selecting "Search Database" runs the search a delivers you a results list.

Here's a quick tutorial for more info

Step 3: Filter your results

The options on the left column of your results list will help you narrow down your results.  The best place to start is usually with the publication date range.  Many assignments have directions about how current your references must be.  For medical research, 5 years is a good rule of thumb. 

Another helpful filter is Source Types.  I recommend selecting only academic journals, this will ensure that you are getting primary research from an expert instead of a second-hand magazine article. It's also a good idea to use the limit to option of "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" to double check that your results have been peer reviewed.