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Chemicals, Drugs and Genetics Oh My!: Searching PubMed and Beyond


This specialized class will help improve your effectiveness in searching PubMed and related NLM and NIH databases for literature information on chemicals, drugs and genetics. The course begins with searching PubMed for drug information with MeSH terms, Supplementary Concept Records (SCR), and Pharmacologic Actions (PA). Additional topics include searching related databases for drug information (Week 2), searching for chemicals and with chemical nomenclature (Week 3), and locating literature related to genetics and genomics (Week 4). This course assumes a strong working knowledge of PubMed including an understanding of automatic term mapping, the importance of reviewing the Details box after searches, and using the Advanced search page and the MeSH database.


By the end of this class, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the between MeSH terms, subheadings, Phamacologic Actions, and Supplementary Concept Records
  • Experience and understand when to use specific National Library of Medicine databases to search for chemical and drug information and literature
  • Work with literature resources related to genetic diseases and research
  • Identify related literature resources for additional learning

Course Materials

  • Agenda
    • Week 1: MeSH Drug Connections - MeSH, Phamacologic Actions, Supplementary Concept Records, Subheadings
    • Week 2: Searching for Drug Information - TOXNET,, evidence-based drug resources, labels databases
    • Week 3: Chemical Complications - PubMed searching, TOXNET chemical databases, PubChem Compound, ChemIDplus
    • Week 4: Genetics Literature - NCBI Gene database, Genetics Home Reference, genetic diseases databases
  • Handouts PDF file (172 kb, rev: Feb 28, 2014)
  • Exercises PDF file (172 kb, rev: Feb 28, 2014)

Continuing Education

  • This class has been approved by the Medical Library Association for 6 contact hours of CE credit.
  • MLA Course Listing.
  • This will be offered via the Moodle platform. Please contact instructor for upcoming courses.


Greater Midwest Region

Holly Ann Burt, Outreach and Exhibits Coordinator, ,

Southeastern Atlantic Region

Tony Nguyen, Emerging Technologies/Communications Coordinator, ,

Current Author

Holly Ann Burt, MLIS, Outreach and Exhibits Coordinator at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region (NN/LM GMR).