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Archive for April, 2008

NER’eastah Blog and RSS Feeds

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Submitted by Penny Glassman

Welcome to the latest issue of the The NER’eastah, the Newsletter of the New England Regional Library.

The new blog format allows us to continue providing you with interesting articles about issues important to health sciences librarians in New England, and deliver announcements and late-breaking news items.

There is a link to the Newsletter blog on the NN/LM NER Website ( However, if you have not done so already, I strongly recommend that you use a feed-reader to subscribe to the NER’eastah Blog and other news feeds. A previous newsletter article included information on setting up RSS Feeds and news feed readers. Here is the link to RSS Feed Redux:

Not ready to jump into the “blogosphere”? There is also a PDF version of the Spring 2008 issue at:

Please feel free to send me comments about the blog. My email address is

New Resources

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Submitted by Lauri Fennell

NLM Drug Information Portal

I have only begun to explore this one. The format is easy to follow. One section I looked at is in the News and Features section called Inside the Medicine Cabinet. This section highlights one particular drug, giving current uses, development history, chemical structures and much more.

Read more:

NLM Gateway has a new design

NLM Gateway will soon have a new sleek look, shown below.

All the same functions still exist with new enhancements to the page.
Read more:

Catching Up

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Submitted by Lauri Fennell

I am new to this role at the NN/LM NER, so I have been doing some catch up. The NLM Technical Bulletin is full of great information. It includes many interesting updates related to Pubmed. I thought maybe you have some catching up to do, too?

Here are some of the highlights:

Diacritics in PubMed® Displays and Searching
Since late April 2007 “…diacritical marks have been displayed in author names and affiliation (first author’s address) on the AbstractPlus, Abstract, and Citation displays…”

Read more:

PubMed® Subject Subset Strategies Updated for 2008
When using the limits feature you have the option of choosing topic subsets. These subsets are reviewed annually. The following subset strategy was recently revised:

Bioethics, Cancer, Complementary Medicine, and Systematic Reviews

A description of the strategy can be found from the Pubmed Subset Strategies page:

You can take advantage of these pre-formulated strategies from the limits page

PubMed Central®, the collection continues to grow…

Patient Drug Information Available from PubMed®
MedMaster drug information added to PubMed AbstractPlus display format.

Note: some of you may have been seeing this since October. The results were displaying randomly at first but are now expected to show up, if relevant, in all Pubmed searches.
Read more:

Now I’m keeping up

This was recently announced…

PubMed® Alerts: E-mail Notification of Major System Problems
Now you can be notified of major system problems with Pubmed by signing up for e-mail alerts. Read more

***There is so much more I didn’t include here***

To read the entire NLM Technical Bulletin:


Friday, April 11th, 2008

Submitted by Lauri Fennell

PubMed is constantly updated with improvements and changes. Besides the Technical Bulletin there are many tutorials and training resources.

I recently watched the recorded version of the Chemicals and Drugs in Pubmed webcast—twice actually. You know how you catch more the second time around? It is definitely true in this case. Did any of you happen to catch it? This search clinic was originally presented on August 23, 2007 (before I was at NN/LM).

It was recorded so it can be viewed at any time. I highly recommend it.

Search Clinic: Chemicals and Drugs in Pubmed

In addition to watching the recorded clinic, you can read the transcript and/or the questions and answers section.

Here are some of the highlights:

First I found it helpful to have the differences of a few of the subheadings used for chemicals and drugs explained, specifically toxicity, poisoning and adverse effects.

Toxicity: studies designed to determine ill effects of a substance (usually animal studies)

Poisoning: life threatening—whether by medication error, accidental or otherwise

Adverse effects: choosing this subheading will include both toxicity and poisoning—includes side effects and complications of accepted doses

Detailed definitions for these terms when used as subheadings can be found by searching for each term in the MeSH database.

Further explanation about substance names, pharmacological action and when to use the MeSH tag was also very helpful.

Substance names: chemicals and drugs are not always indexed with a MeSH heading. Instead they may be indexed under a substance name. If this is the case the substance will be mapped to the MeSH heading appropriate for that substance.

Here’s an example:
When searching in MeSH for zetia (recently in the news) you will get this record:

Ezetimibe is the substance name for Zetia. You find the drug brand names in the list for entry terms. This substance is mapped to Azetidines as a MeSH term. The pharmacological action assigned to it is anticholesteremic agents.

The Questions and Answers section was very helpful. Some questions were answered later with additional NLM staff input.

Some additional items that will become clearer after watching the webcast:

  1. Check the details box to see if the chemical/substance name you used is mapped to a MeSH or Substance Name. If it is not, use the preview/index feature to search for the name to see if there are alternatives you can use
  2. Using the [pa] versus the [mh] tag: using [pa] searches the full list of substances designated with that pharmacological action. Using [mh] searches for the action as a subject. You can combine it with the specific substance term you are interested in
  3. Citations indexed prior to 1996 do not routinely have a pharmacological action tied to them. (from question 11 in Q & A)

Here are a couple additional links that can be helpful when searching for Chemicals and Drugs:

Pharmacological action terms

Searching chemicals and drugs

From the Technical Bulletin:
PubMed® and the Expansion of Pharmacological Action Terms

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