Friday, 28 September 2007

Search tips

A while ago I wrote about Scirus and Google Scholar - two ways to search the web in a relatively simple way while reducing the amount of junk that your search turns up.

Today I'd like to mention a couple more ways to do this - INTUTE and the National Library for Health.

INTUTE (formerly known as OMNI - and no - I don't know why they changed from one meaningless name to another nor what it cost them) is a gateway created by a network of universities. Sources are checked out for quality and relevance before being added. So you have just good quality information, and fewer results than from general googling (just 119358 record in the INTUTE database as I type). Your search might turn up websites, journals, patients information or statistics from the UK and beyond. I find that the search function often fails to find anything, so normally use the browse function instead. INTUTE has a whole area specific to health and life sciences. Also helpful is the Virtual Training Suite where you'll find guidance on searching the web that is aimed specifically at different health professions.

The National Library for Health is an NHS product. Technically the library is more than just the website - it includes all the physical NHS libraries in the country, their resources, and the networks between them. The website can be used with or without your ATHENS password. If you log in with your password you'll be told more about local resources.

There are various ways to use the site. You can use the search box on the home page to search across the whole site. You can use the site to reach Medline and the other databases for literature searching. You can also visit the "specialist libraries". These bring together patient information, news, guidance, National Service Frameworks and useful links by speciality. The specialist libraries cover everything from cancer to trauma and from child health to later life.

Also on the National Library for Health a facility to search medical dictionaries (search box at the bottom of the home page) or to set yourself up with RSS news feeds.

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