Good Example of Phrase Searching in PubMed

Just like some people like their cars to have a manual transmission while others prefer automatics, librarians tend to fall into one of two MEDLINE camps, those who prefer Ovid and those who prefer PubMed. 

I am an Ovid kind of gal.  Don’t get me wrong I can do a PubMed search and have done them and still do them frequently when I need to, but my MOC (MEDLINE Of Choice) is Ovid.  Since I am in Ovid often enough I tend to see and remember better certain things in my daily searches that might be good teaching methods or examples . 

Because I am not in PubMed as often as Ovid, I don’t have the experience of running across good search examples that I can pass on or use while teaching.  That is why I try and pay particular attention to good PubMed teaching examples as the come up.  I either try and blog about them, tag them, or print them off and save them for later. 

The NLM Technical Bulletin has a nice example of how to do effective phrase searching in PubMed.  This is nice because certain things like “text messaging” (their example) are best searched as phrases.  As the Tech Bull notes it is important to look at the Search Details to know whether your term is being applied in the MEDLINE database as you want/think it to be. 

Really I tell everyone when I teach PubMed to look at the Search Details.  Sometimes I wonder how much they really do that or whether the nodding of their head is not in agreement with my point but instead to the beat of some song they have stuck in their head.

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2 comments for “Good Example of Phrase Searching in PubMed

  1. Erika
    January 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Just one comment on their article (since I can’t comment on the tech bulletin itself):

    What the author doesn’t mention is that even if your phrase in quotes matches the MeSH term, you won’t be getting the exploded term.

    So in their example of multiple sclerosis, searching “multiple sclerosis” as a phrase *will* pick up indexed articles w/ multiple sclerosis as a MeSH term, but won’t pick up an article with the more specific term Neuromyelitis Optica.

  2. Nan
    November 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Automatic explosion of MeSH is now added to PubMed search. See Tech Bulletin update at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/jf11/jf11_skill_kit_pm_phrase_searching.html

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