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Searching IndexCat for Older Medical Literature http://indexcat.nlm.nih.gov Jonathon Erlen, MSLS, PhD Ammon Ripple, MLS March 18, 2005 Overview IndexCat is the database version of the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, 1880-1961 .

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searching indexcat for older medical literature

Searching IndexCatfor Older Medical Literature

  • http://indexcat.nlm.nih.gov

Jonathon Erlen, MSLS, PhD

Ammon Ripple, MLS

March 18, 2005

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

overview
Overview
  • IndexCat is the database version of the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, 1880-1961.
  • which is a book-style catalog (as opposed to a card catalog) that includes 3.7 million references to books, chapters, articles, dissertations, government publications, obituaries and portraits that were part of the library’s collections.

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

the printed index catalogue
The Printed Index-Catalogue

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overview4
Overview
  • IndexCat was published in 5 series comprised of 61 volumes published from 1880-1961. Each series was organized alphabetically in a combined author/subject heading list. Dates shown are dates of publication of each series, not the dates of coverage.
    • Series 1 - A-Z in 16 volumes from 1880-1895
    • Series 2 - A-Z in 21 volumes from 1896-1916
    • Series 3 - A-Z in 10 volumes from 1918-1932
    • Series 4 - A-Z in 11 volumes from 1936-1955
    • Series 5 - A-Z in 3 volumes from 1959-1961 *
      • *Series 5 only includes pre-1950 monographs that were in the backlog – no analytics (articles & chapters) are included.

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

nota bene
Nota Bene
  • IndexCat includes only some of the pre-1950 medical literature – perhaps about 40%
  • Coverage is less comprehensive the further back in time you go.
  • Some literature was simply never indexed.
  • IndexCat is not as comprehensive or as thorough as today’s MEDLINE is, but it and the older printed Index Medicus (1879-2004) are the two primary tools for finding medical literature from this time period.

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

index medicus
Index Medicus
  • Index Medicus began as a journal article index in 1879. It includes more comprehensive coverage of articles than IndexCat, which was very selective about which articles to include, often based on subjective criteria.
  • The database version is known as MEDLINE, which began in 1966. Until recently, that was as far back as one could search. Now older records are being added retrospectively in OLDMEDLINE which goes back to ~1950. For a comprehensive search, the print Index Medicus still needs to be consulted to find pre-1950 articles that are not also in IndexCat.

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

sample index catalogue records
Sample Index-Catalogue Records

Records listed under author headings for 3 authors with the surname ‘Angot’

4 Records listed under ‘Anhalonium’ subject heading. (Anhalonium is a cactus with hallucinogenic effects.)

Note small print & how citations are crammed together because of space concerns.

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

sample indexcat record
Sample IndexCat Record

In the database version, the record for each document is broken into fields to facilitate searching. The heading(s) under which the records were listed in the print volumes are included in the ‘Subject’ or ‘Author’ fields.

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browsing if you want to
Browsing(if you want to)

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browsing
Browsing

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browsing11
Browsing

These are the same 4 references under the ‘Anhalonium’ heading in the printed Index-Catalogue (Series 2).

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

searching v browsing
Searching v. Browsing

A keyword search within Series 2 turns up 13 references – not all were grouped under the ‘Anhalonium’ subject heading in the printed volume. Keyword searching capability creates new possibilities for retrieval and research!

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

searching v browsing13
Searching v. Browsing

Expanding the search to include all 5 series retrieves 85 hits with only one search – using the print volumes would require looking up the subject heading in 5 separate volumes and would only retrieve 65 results…

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Getting Started

Remember to check the database you want to search. (LocatorPlus is the current National Library of Medicine catalog.)

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Limitations

  • No language limiters – data is not included in each record
  • No abstracts or links to full text
  • Changing/varied terminology – even subject headings change from series to series
  • Some medical literature is not included – may still need to consult the print Index Medicus or trace citations from papers you do find
  • Materials may not be available. You may have to get them through interlibrary loan or travel to use them in special collections at the National Library of Medicine or other libraries.

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Simple 1-Concept Search

Search:

Note: system will not retrieve more than 1000 results from each series

Results:

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Using Truncation

Search:

Adding the ‘?’ as a wild card retrieves records with any word beginning with that word stem (e.g. transplant, transplants, transplantation) - increases the number of results.

Results:

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Simple 2-Concept Search

Search:

‘All of These’ requires both terms to be present in retrieved records – most searches have at least 2 concepts.

Results:

114 results

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Using Synonyms, Related Terms & Foreign Language Equivalents

Search:

Often, alternative terms are identified when looking through the results of your preliminary search.

Results:

146 results-32 more…

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Account for British spellings

Search:

Including lymphoedema retrieves 8 more results than lymphedema by itself

Results:

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Phrase Searching: Problem

Search:

Default option of ‘Any of These’ retrieves ALL records with dementia and ALL records with praecox, even if both are not present.

Results:

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Phrase Searching: Solution

Search:

Retrieves records only when “dementia praecox” appears as a phrase.

Results:

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Changing Terminology

Search:

Dementia praecox later became known as schizophrenia

Results:

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Date Search: By Century

Search:

Results:

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Date Search: By Decade

Search:

Results:

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Date Search: Specific Years

Search:

Need to allow for “Any of These” specified years to be present the date field.

Results:

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Search by Author

Search:

-Authors of monographs (books, theses & reports) listed with full name-Authors of analytics (articles & chapters) listed with initials-Can use browse option to identify ‘official’ author headings.

Results:

Initials

Full name

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Search by Journal Title

Search:

Must use abbreviations(which are only listed in the print volumes for now and which can change from series to series)

NLM plans to post abbreviations online in the future.

Results:

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Search History

Can not combine or edit searches, but this feature can save time if you need to re-run a search.

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A Typical Search

I want to find older medical literature on the occurrence of typhoid fever in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region in the late 1800’s.

Concepts and possible terms:

1) Typhoid fever (typhoid fever)

2) Pittsburgh region (Pittsburgh; Allegheny; Pennsylvania)

3) Late 1800’s (may not need to include in search)

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

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A Typical Search…

Pittsburg? Pennsylvania? Allegh?

Pittsburgh was spelled Pittsburg from 1890-1911. Allegh? should pick up Allegheny County and also Alleghany – alternate spelling seen in some results.Pennsylvania? may be too broad, but could pick up references to ‘Western Pennsylvania’.

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44 results – use “Show All” to merge them

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Now all 44 results appear in one list

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Note that the official subject term is “Fever (Typhoid, History and statistics of), by localities”. The phrase is inverted in the subject heading.

Our exact phrase “typhoid fever” will only retrieve references with that phrase in the title – not this subject heading.

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You can loosen your search by just entering ‘typhoid’.

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Now you get 66 results – 22 more than before. It is usually helpful to learn from your results and refine your search.

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slide37

Practice Questions

  • I want to find information about the use of anesthesia for surgery from 1700-1850.
  • I am putting in for an NIH grant to continue my work on cancer therapies and need to be sure I include pre-1950 literature. I need information about the use of selenium in cancer therapies.
  • I want to see how tuberculosis was treated prior to the discovery of the triple drug cocktail in the early 1950's.
  • I want to trace the issues that emerged in the early use of insulin to treat diabetes in the 1921-1945 period.

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh

jonathon erlen msls phd 412 648 8927 erlen@pitt edu ammon ripple mls 412 648 1251 ammon2@pitt edu
Jonathon Erlen, MSLS, PhD

412-648-8927

erlen@pitt.edu

Ammon Ripple, MLS

412-648-1251

ammon2@pitt.edu

March 18, 2005

Health Sciences Library System – University of Pittsburgh