Thursday, 24 April 2008

Boxing clever

As previously promised I am going to give you a brief guide to searching the various bits of of the National Library for Health. If you've visited the site you'll know that there are an awful lot of search boxes scattered through out it. Which one should you use?

For those of you who are Essex Rivers staff, when at work you can search the National Library for Health box on the intranet home page under "quick search". This currently runs a search for you across the various specialist libraries.

If you visit the NLH site there is a search box at the top of the home page. If you put something in that box and hit "search" it will search the specialist libraries, guidance and evidence based reviews for items that have your search words in the title. You can also tick the boxes here to search images, books and journals and patient information. Note that (at least on my screen) the tick boxes are a little adrift from the text, so the box for "images" is on the preceding line.

You can also opt to search for your term in the title and abstract of items. This should give you a lot more hits.

Although you can search journals from here its a rough and ready search. Despite the big NLH 2.0 logo next to it, it is not NLH 2.0 and is not the best place to search journals.

For a proper search in the journals scroll down under the Resources section to "Books, Journals and Healthcare Databases". Click on that heading to get through to NLH 2.0. This is where you search for papers on specific topics. Type your search in the box and click on search. You can also (and I do recommend you try this) click on the advanced search link below the search box. This will give you more options. There's "mapping to the thesaurus", which basically means finding the words that articles have been indexed with. This is a nice fixed list and means you don't need to worry so much about UK and US spelling or about the horrible number of synonyms there are in health.

The advanced search also lets you click boxes to combine searches using AND (both the terms needed - say, diabetes and insulin) or OR (meaning either term would be useful - perhaps chronic or long term). You can select which dates you want to search and a few other bits.

For best results here you need to log in with you Athens password. You do this in the boxes on the top left where it says LOGIN.

Meanwhile, back on the home page, scroll down to that same heading of "Books, Journals and Healthcare Databases". This time, don't click the heading, click the "my journals" (NB - split over two lines - click on either bit). Again, you need to log in with Athens for this to work. Now, this is where you go when you already have the details of papers you want, but wonder where you can get them. You search for the journal you want and it will tell you if we hold a paper copy here or if you can get it online, with links through to the online text.

Search box at the bottom of the NLH homepage searches dictionaries for definitions.

If you click on evidence based reviews, specialist libraries or guidance under resources on the home page, each of those links will take you to a search box to search just that bit of the NLH.

In brief - go to the specific area you want (a specialist library, the guidance) to search just that area. Use the box at the top of the home page to search across various bits of the whole website. Use the link under "Books, Journals and Healthcare Databases" to do a literature search.

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