Searching The Medical Literature:
I regularly search and use medical literature. A couple of
First, many public or state libraries will provide single
pdf. files if you give them the citation. This policy
greatly with budget limitations and locale, but it is worth
Local hospital libraries will often accommodate reasonable
patient requests for copies or help you with your search.
university teaching hospital medical libraries are also
resources. You can also “google” the article authors to see
has posted the article you want on the net.
Second, a rich resource is the Pub Med system maintained by
National Library of Medicine. Abstracts and sometimes whole
are available on-line through this resource.
1. Go to:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?DB=pubmed
It offers you the choice of searching by topic, author, or
Entering the search terms “hip resurfacing” yielded 222
If you know what article or authors you want, you enter the
and initials of one or two authors in this format:
smith jc, jones tw
Then hit the “GO” button and the program will list all the
written by those authors.
2. After entering your search terms or author names and
“GO” button, you will receive a list of articles. In the
area at the top of the list will be the total number of
retrieved, in this case, 222. Above your list of articles
drop-down menu boxes.
a. The first is “Display.” Hit the drop down arrow and pick
“Abstract.” Peer reviewed journals require the author(s) to
summarize their research objective, methods, and key
findings in 300
or so words. This allows the reader to quickly scan to see
article is relevant for their purposes. Editorials or
don’t have abstracts.
b. In the “Show” box, you have a couple of options. If you
work your way through the list in sections (say 50 articles
time), you must select the number corresponding to how many
you want to scan at a time. The program will display 50
each section. This is important because when you are ready
your selected articles to text (see d. and #4)-you will have
process each section separately. This is a confusing feature
Pub Med program. The easy out is to select the number that
closely matches the total.
c. In the “Sort by” box, I usually select “Pub Date.”
d. Don’t do anything with “Send TO” now.
3. Now as you go through the listed articles, there will be
a box next
to each article–IF YOU WANT TO PRINT THE ABSTRACT OR
YOU’VE SCANNED THE ARTICLES ON THE LIST–CHECK THAT BOX.
Next to each
citation is an icon that looks like a page-if it has three
across running half way on the page-the article has an
4. After you’ve finished reviewing one section or the entire
articles, go back to the “Send To” box, and select “Text” if
to print the abstracts/citations of your selected articles.
plain text list will come up that should contain your
citations/abstracts. You can save the list to your files
in your browser’s file menu, or print it, using your browser
feature. Sometimes mysterious glitches occur, so another
option is to
select the text and paste it into a Word file or whatever
processing program you use, and then print it. A tip: Most
will fit nicely on 5×8″ index cards-so if you want to sort
material on cards, it’s a handy way of organizing the
Sharon (Gross, Rt. Biomet 8/24/06)