11. Searching Medline

About Medline:

Medline is a periodical index for health sciences literature, created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). It indexes many dentistry journals.

There are several different interfaces for searching the Medline database, including PubMed and Ovid Medline:

Learning how to search Medline:

It takes time to learn how to search Medline well, but it is time well spent. Knowing how to search effectively will not only give you better results, it will also save you the time you would have wasted sifting through irrelevant results.

The Dental Library offers hands-on classes on Ovid Medline (usually in the fall), and an Ovid Medline Tutorial for Dentistry. (This is an online tutorial you can do on your own from any web browser. It includes dentistry-related examples and quizzes to test yourself.) Classes on Medline are also offered by the Gerstein Science Information Centre.

If you have not yet taken a class, or if you would like to refresh your memory, you may also want to consult:

How up to date is Medline?

It can take several months (or sometimes even a year) for dental articles to be indexed in Medline. Don't be misled by the final date given for a database -- e.g.:

Ovid MEDLINE(R) 1966 to January Week 2 2004

This refers to the date when the indexing was done -- in this example, indexing had most recently been done in the second week January 2004. It does NOT refer to the date when the articles were published.

So if you want to include the very latest articles in your research, then in addition to searching Medline, you should also do a separate search of Medline In-Process, which contains citations for recent articles which haven't been fully indexed yet.

There are no subject headings in Medline In-Process, since no indexer has examined the articles yet. But you can do a Keyword search to find words in the article title and abstract. Try searching for various synonyms, since authors use varying terms for the same concept. You can also use the truncation symbol: $ (for example, ulcer$ will retrieve "ulcer" or "ulcers" or "ulcerative", etc.).

aphthae OR aphtha OR aphthous stomatitis OR canker sore$ OR aphthous ulcer$ OR ulcerative stomatitis

Ovid Medline search hints:

Please note: These search hints are not a substitute for taking a hands-on class on Ovid Medline or doing the online Ovid Medline Tutorial for Dentistry.

Next section: Beyond Medline

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All contents copyright © 2004, Margaret Fulford. All rights reserved.